Pro Bike: LeMond Triomphe Carbon

All-carbon offering worth the wait say KBS-Medifast riders

UCI Continental team Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast heads into the 2008 season with a positive spirit after nailing last year’s USPRO National Criterium Championship and seeing the continued support of its bike sponsor, LeMond Bicycles.  

This year the team is competing aboard LeMond’s all-carbon Triomphe frames and while the company may have been a bit late in getting to the carbon fibre party, the riders thus far seem to think that it was worth the wait.

LeMond designed its Triomphe from the outset as a classic stage racer with a light and efficient package that also offers a predictable and stable personality.  True to its design goals, the frame is definitely light – at a claimed 950g for a fully painted 55cm model – but its unique-looking ‘Min/Max’ design philosophy also apparently delivers the lateral and drivetrain rigidity that Greg LeMond always sought – but maybe didn't always get: consider the TVT frame –  when he was a professional. 

The seat tube is just about the only round pipe on the frame; nearly everything else has been pinched, stretched, squeezed and massaged to eke out as much performance as possible.  The top tube and down tube are highly ovalized in the vertical plane at the head tube for front end strength but in the horizontal plane at the opposite end for torsional rigidity.  Interestingly, the seat tube is practically an independent entity as both the top tube and down tube flow gracefully into the stays, virtually ignoring it along the way. 

At the back, the slender seat stays join up top in a very wide, but very flat, yoke and the chain stays are noticeably asymmetric: the driveside one is taller and narrower to combat upward bending and for chainring clearance while the non-driveside one is relatively round (ok, so there are two roundish tubes) to resist rear end twist.  Dropouts are compact aluminum units.

Componentry-wise, the team has upgraded from last year’s SRAM Force group to the newer Red parts, shedding about 150 grammes in the process, while also gaining some performance.  Revised DoubleTap shifter internals yield shorter lever throws and independently adjustable reach on the brake and shift levers mean that the riders can customize the fit to their needs.  Ceramic bearings in the bottom bracket and derailleur pulleys dramatically cut down on friction relative to Force (and no, we’re not just saying that; spin one for yourself) and the new carbon crankset, titanium front derailleur cage, aggressively relieved brake calipers and innovative PowerDome cassette lay claim to most of the weight savings.  Finishing kit is also mostly provided by Trek in the form of Bontrager bars, stems and wheels; Speedplay Zeros are the team’s pedal of choice. 

We’ve sampled the LeMond Triomphe ourselves in the past and found it to offer pretty much exactly what LeMond intended: a stable and composed stage racer that’s neither too stiff nor too twitchy at a highly competitive weight and with great ride quality.  Try as we might, though, it isn’t likely that we ever got this thing to go as fast as KBS-Medifast’s Dan Bowman, who was the team’s GC man last season.  According to KGS-Medifast head mechanic Jordan Schware, Bowman finds his Triomphe to be “stiff and extremely light” while also offering up “great geometry.” 

Bowman and the rest of the KGS-Medifast team competed in their first-ever Tour of California this year.  While they weren’t in contention for any of the major classifications this time around, it’s likely they were pretty pleased just to have been invited given that the team has only a single year under its belt.  Team Performance Director Jonas Carney has continued to push to grow the team this year and if things go his way, expect to see them playing a bigger part in next year’s event.

Specifications

  • Frame: LeMond Triomphe Carbon, 55cm                              
  • Fork:   Bontrager Race Lite                             
  • Headset: Cane Creek IS2                              
  • Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite, 120mm x -7°                            
  • Handlebars: Bontrager Race Lite VR, 42cm (c-c)                              
  • Tape/grips: Bontrager cork                            
  • Front brake: SRAM Red w/Bontrager cork pads                               
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red w/Bontrager cork pads                               
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap                                   
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red                         
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red                         
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap                          
  • Cassette: SRAM OG-1090, 11-23T                         
  • Chain: SRAM PG-1050                                 
  • Crankset: SRAM Red, 175mm, 39/53T                                
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM Red                         
  • Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless                                
  • Wheelset: Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 clincher                                
  • Front tyre:      Michelin Pro3 Race, 700 x 23c                        
  • Rear tyre:       Michelin Pro3 Race, 700 x 23c                        
  • Saddle:            Selle Italia SLR T1                              
  • Seat post:       Bontrager Race XXX Lite, 20mm setback                               
  • Bottle cages:  Arundel Dave-O                                  
  • Computer:      Sigma 1106     

Critical measurements for Dan Bowman’s bike:

  • Rider's height: 1.83m (6' 0") 
  • Rider's weight: 68kg (150lb) 
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 486mm
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 520mm
  • Saddle height, from BB, c-t: 763mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 580mm       
  • C of front wheel to top of bars (next to stem): 587mm        
  • Top tube length: 565mm (horizontal) 
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.35kg (16.2lb)

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