This is a partner post in collaboration with LeMond.
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What happens when a three-time Tour de France winner sets out to change the e-bike landscape? The Prolog. This is everything you should expect of a bike not just bearing Greg LeMond’s name on its livery, but also being built by his company. You will be hard-pressed to find another electric bike that provides the sportiness of a racing bike combined with ease of use as a commuter bike.
When we brought this into the office, the first impression on the design was almost always: “whoa,” followed up by, “wait, it’s an e-bike?” If you missed the built-in tail lights and headlight, it really is tough to distinguish the Prolog from a non-electric bike. Chalk that up to the clever way LeMond built the Panasonic-made battery subtly into the downtube. Sleek, stylish – this is a beautiful bike that will catch the attention of everyone you ride past.
Between the 36V battery and a 250-watt Mahle rear-hub motor, it might sound like the Prolog is short on power, but can confirm that you will have no issues reaching the top legal speed of 20mph for power assistance. To turn the Prolog on you just need to hold down the intuitive iWoc single toggle button and the ring shines white. After that you can press and hold down again for the ring to light up green (low power), again for orange (medium power), and finally for red (full power).
The ring iWoc single button toggle will also show you the battery level during your ride. White corresponds with 100-75% battery left, green 75-50%, orange 50-25%, red 25%, and flashing red indicates less than 10% battery remaining. You can also change the power assist level, check on remaining battery life, and control the lights using the Mahle My Smart Bike App.
Complementing the Mahle powertrain is the ever-versatile 11-speed Shimano GRX drivetrain. Switching through gears to meet any traverse or terrain is a breeze. Adding to stability, smoothness, and comfortability of the ride are the 38mm tires that Panaracer specially makes for LeMond. Whether riding on a smooth road or a rougher surface you can feel confident that the Prolog has you covered.
Let’s go back to the build again. If you’ve shopped around, or tested out some electric bikes, you’ll know that “lightweight” isn’t usually a selling feature. Here it is. With a carbon fiber frame, fork, seatpost, handlebar-stem, and carbon fiber fenders (why not?) the Prolog weighs in at an impressive 26 pounds (11.8kg). You can upgrade to carbon wheels to further lighten and enhance your riding experience. An upgrade to Shimano’s Di2 electronic shifting is another option available to increase the overall raciness and responsiveness of the ride.
The lighter weight of the Prolog makes it much easier to maneuver on the road and much much easier to pick up than a typical e-bike. That was a goal for LeMond, as they want as many people as possible to be able to use the Prolog. And in case you forget to charge the battery before your trip, and find yourself using your charge before reaching the final destination (speaking from experience, you will not be left with a bike that is a bear to ride without power assist. That said, you can count on the battery to meet the 40-70 mile expected range. We commonly were getting over 50 miles between charges.
Whether we were taking it to work, going for a spin around the neighborhood, or legging out a long ride, the Prolog was a joy to ride. The power assist that you receive is incredibly intuitive – there when you need it, and pulls back when you don’t. Cruising down flats made it easy to forget we were on an electric – until it was time to climb a hill. Verticals suddenly got a whole lot more fun with the assistance of the Mahle drivetrain.
Sometimes, saying goodbye hurts. As we packed up the Prolog, we focused on all the good times we had together, and filled our hearts with excitement for the next person that gets to review it. Creating a bike that’s nothing like the industry has seen before is exactly what you would expect from a risk taker and cycling pioneer like Greg LeMond. And while you won’t qualify for the Tour on the Prolog, you’ll feel like you’re on your way.