Lemond Tete De Course

For anyone who has forgotten the legendary skills of Greg LeMond, watch the 1989 World Championships on U-Tube for a quick refresher: a 50-mph downhill in the pouring rain with Sean Kelly and the revenge-filled poise of Fignon trying to chase him down. They couldn’t catch him. LeMond’s Tete de Course (head of the race) is an appropriate name for LeMond’s new race bike, which sits at the top of the Triomphe Series. With the Tete, LeMond pulled out all the stops, creating a race-ready light frame with enough swagger to inspire racers and enthusiasts alike-and a bike that represents a significant leap forward in design, technology and function for LeMond bike fans around the world. Take one look at the tube shapes, the unique, sloping top tube, and you will agree that the Tete is not mainstream. Most carbon-framed bikes we see have more similarities than differences, but the LeMond Tete de Course is truly unique, It is the lightest frame LeMond has ever produced, coming in at 850 grams, and built up is just over 15 pounds complete (without pedals).

The Tete is fast enough to honor it’s namesake and sleek enough to show LeMond’s dedication to innovation.
THE FRAME
The frame is built around LeMond’s Min-Max concept-maximized main-tube widths for lateral stiffness and efficiency and minimized seat stays and bottom bracket heights for weight reduction and vertical compliance for a more comfortable ride. The Tete de Course begins with the unique bottom bracket shell, with a wide, molded profile that gracefully flows into seat tube and asymmetric chainstays. Each tube diameter on the Tete de Course varies depending on the size of frame you require. It’s no secret that Greg LeMond, and hence LeMond bikes, tend to feature more slack-angled, European geometry that blends 100-kilometer comfort with finish-sprint responsiveness. The refined feel of the Tete de Course should give the bike a more universal appeal to dedicated enthusiasts.

THE NUMBERS
Our 57-centimeter test bike featured a slack, 72.5-degree seat tube angle coupled with a mildly steep, 73.5-degree head angle and a comfortable 57.5-centimeter top tube. The resulting geometry gives the LeMond comfortable long-distance ergonomics, with the ability to maneuver quickly, and it favors pedaling in the saddle. The Tete de Course is available in 11 sizes from 43 to 61 centimeters.

THE PARTS
The Tete de Course is stacked with Bontrager’s best components, including Aeolus 5.0 Carbon clincher wheels, the Ti-rail Race Lite Pro saddle, an X-Lite XXX carbon stem, while the drivetrain and braking components are all SRAM Force. The overall parts package not only affords a lightweight, race-ready machine, but the combination gives the bike a distinct look-especially highlighted by its semi-aero carbon rims.

THE RIDE
Technology and weight don’t mean much until you actually ride the bike. We first got to throw our legs over the Tete de Course last February at LeMond’s product launch, and our favorable first impression was confirmed by further testing. We put many miles on the Tete and ran it through the RBA test crews ranks on both long endurance rides and quick, two-hour efforts at higher speeds. The Tete de Course is, in a word, ‘comfortable’ We liked the longer top tube and noticed the geometry and design was really effective on ‘non category’ climbs where the front end steered true, which allowed us to get out of the saddle and concentrate on getting the job done. On the flats, the Tete’s steering required some attention as it tended to drift off line at times. As billed, the LeMond’s steering feels very fast, but it corners and changes direction in a predictable manner.

The combination of min-max construction, Aeolus wheels and a relaxed geometry gave the Tete a unique feel.
Test riders had only one complaint that should be addressed by tall riders or those who weigh more than a buck fifty-and that was its far-too-flexible Bontrager Race XXX Lite Carbon seatpost. If that’s you, consider the downgrade to the more-substantial Race Lite ACC-the security will be worth a few extra grams.  

THE VERDICT
It is difficult to describe the LeMond Tete de Course because it is so unique-simple in its design and looks, but not boring. It is fast, but not uncomfortable on longer rides. Some flex in the frame is apparent when out of the saddle which, combined with the race-proven LeMond geometry, contributes to the Tete’s distinct Euro feel. While race-focused and built, we wouldn’t limit the Tete to the race-only category, due to its comfort and versatility. In the end, the Tete de Course is easy to ride, fast, versatile and wrapped in a striking-looking package.

Price: $7999
Weight: 15.2 pounds
Info: www.lemondbikes.com