Strengths: Nice ride, full Ultegra for super-smooth shifting, great bike overall. And anyone who says steel is too heavy should try this out - 17 lbs with everything on it.
Weaknesses: Really, really crappy stock saddle. I switched mine out for a Terry which is much more comfortable, esp over long-distance rides. Also came with SPDs, which I switched for Looks. The original Continental tires were decent, but I was glad to switch to a stickier set of Michelins (and seriously, who cares what was on it originally - chances are that if you're buying it now, you're buying it used anyway and can put whatever you want on it).
I'm a small woman (5'2, 105 lbs) but, according to the bike manufacturers, I'm built like a man. The hardest part of the purchasing process was finding a frame with men's geometry that was available in a small size (I ride a 47 cm) that was also comfortable and reasonably priced. The Buenos Aires was perfect.
Super-nice set-up for the price and 3 years/ 3,000 mi in, it's doing GREAT. It even survived a pretty nasty spill last year, and in much better shape than I was in. :)
The ride is very comfortable and smooth. Downhills are indeed wonderful on this bike - much more so than on any I've ridden before or since - and I haven't noticed a bit of the uphill wobble that a couple of other reviewers have noted. This might be because I'm pretty small, though.
The bike is also nice looking, even with the proliferation of the Lemond name (but the stickers peel off easy if you're inclined to peel).
All in all, I feel like I got the absolute best deal for the money and the feel. I'd definitely recommend this bike.
Similar Products Used: Trek 2500
That god-awful Barbie pink Cannondale
Bike Setup: Except for the mods I mentioned above, the only other thing I've added is a trip computer and a binder clip to hold my cue sheets. :P
a Recreational Rider
from Westerville, Ohio
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2003
Strengths: Good value, Ultegra Groupo, Looks Good
Weaknesses: Bontrager Select rear hub. May not be sealed very well? Paint job. I see a lot of air bubbles around the sticker decals. Would have liked to had 1 1/8" headset. The 2003 has made the change.
I am primarily a mountain biker, so I have limited road experience, to critique some of the features of the lemond. As far as the lemond geometry goes, many bikes are being sold with very similar specs. The geometry does side in the favor of a slightly longer top tube due to the slightly more relaxed seat tube. I do notice alot of flex in the bottom bracket area. I wouldn't notice it really if I didn't see it or hear the front deralleur rub ocassionaly. I am 6'1" and weigh 175 on a 59cm.
The only problem has been with the rear hub. After 150 miles it had loosened up and needed tightening. After 750 miles and 25 miles of riding in the rain the freehub started sticking and the hub was contaiminated. A cleaning/repacking cured the problem.
Similar Products Used: Short testrides only: Litespeeds, Cannondales, Lemonds, Giant
a Road Racer
from Oakland, CA
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2002
Strengths: Good quality frame and components (for the most part). Mixed 853/525 steel frame brings down price without sacrificing much performance (at least to me). Light... my 49 cm size bike weighed in at about 20-21 pounds.
Weaknesses: Saddle uncomfortable to say the least. Feels like an advertisement for Lemond. Stock Shimono chain shifts poorly.
Yes, a very late review considering this bike is no longer available. Got an end of model year close-out deal. However, this review can prove usesful for those interested in the 2003 model, because the 2002 model is virtually identical except for the saddle, fork, and paint job.
Much is made about the 'Lemond Geometry' and how it is beneficial to the rider. Given that my previous bike had a 520 Chromoly frame with Shimano 105 componentry, too many variables have changed for me to give an honest opinion about the geometry hype. However, I can report that the bike taken as a whole is a really nice ride. Test rode both the Zurich (All 853 steel) and Beunos Aires (853/525 mix), and I couldn't really tell the difference, so I went with the Buenos Aires.
THE GOOD NEWS...
The carbon fork does a pretty good job filtering out 'road noise'. Nothing to write home about, but then again, I suspect this is an 'entry level' carbon fork.
It is has significantly better climbing ability than my old ride, and it screams downhill without any loss in stability. I was able to easily outrace a friend downhill against his Albert Eisentraut custom bike!
This is my first bike with a 20h/24h wheelset... it took me a while to really trust these wheels which looked less susbtantial than my old 32h Mavic Open Pros, but after hitting a few minor potholes and bumps at high speeds, I've learned to love them (I only weigh 160 lbs/73 kg, though).
I also notice that I am much fresher after a long ride. I used need to take a nap after a long ride on my old bike. Is it the much touted geometry or the overall benefit of being 2-3 pounds lighter?
NOW THE BAD NEWS...
This bike seriously suffers from 'rolling billboard syndrome'. The brand 'Lemond' is plastered liberally all over the place: 2 on the down tube, 2 on the seat tube, 1 on each seat stay, 1 on each fork blade, 2 on the seat post (WTF?!), and of course 1 on the head tube for a total 11 free advertisement slots. Curiously, the one place many bike companies put an extra branding decal (the chain stay) is left blank. The headtube name plate is cheap-ass plastic w/a foam adhesive back POS that is already about to peel off.
The saddle sucks. It felt like a 2x4 beam jammed up my butt no matter what I did. I had to buy a Serfas RX saddle (highly recommended). I wasn't surprised to see 2 other saddles in the parts recycling bin before I checked out the bike.
The stock chain had to go. I couldn't understand why this bike w/Ultegra was shifting rougher than my old ride w/105... they are functionally equivalent. I swapped out the stock chain with an SRAM pc69, which I used with the 105 drivetrain, and things cleared up.
Occasionally it 'feels funny' when I make a quick correction to avoid a bump... not sure if it is wheel flex or not.
**** FOR THOSE CONSIDERING A ZURICH: My bike was already 'upgraded' to the 3T Forgie XL oversize stem-handlebar combo. A previous customer getting fitted to a Zurich swapped it out for the stock Buenos Aires stem and handlebar. Given that you only have about 6 cm of bar to attach accessories, the oversize diamenter can make it tough to attach clamp-ons... like cyclometer mounting brackets.
It is obvious they 'nickel and dimed' the components to get the Buenos Aires price point to fall between the Zurich and Alpe D' Huez. They cheaped out especially on the cassette (105), bottom bracket (105), and chain. Overall it is a good value, and most importantly the frame is worth keeping, so future component upgrades can be justified. It is interesting to note that this is considered the 'low-end' frame for Lemond... what makes it a Buenos Aires (the highest end bike with this frame) is the componentry, wheels, and fork. The 2003 model has a different fork and saddle, so the weak points might have been addressed already.
Bike Setup: Stock except: Serfas RX Saddle, Ultegra 12-23t cassette, Forgie XL stem/handlebar combo (swapped with previous customer who bought a Zurich).
a Recreational Rider
from Rochester, MN
Date Reviewed: November 5, 2002
Strengths: The responsiveness of the frame. All the energy I put into the pedals goes into forward, or upward, motion.
Weaknesses: 50 miles per ride was jsut about the most I could tolerate on the factory saddle. I replaced it with a Serfas gel.
I rode my 27 year-old Gitane up a hill in the summer, in nearly the lowest gear on a 13-19 freewheel, and thought that it was time to take advantage of vast technological improvemnts in cycling since the 70's. I rode a low-end Lemond to get a feel for the fit and feel of the frame. At 45, steel felt more comfortable than the aluminum Klein that I rode. The Ultegra shifting has been flawless and I haven't missed a beat when climbing a hill. I've gotten used to the higher pressure, slightly narrower wheelset. The frame geometry, along with the, the 3T headset puts in a less hunched over, and more comfortable, reiding position. I decided to get a triple chainring, as given the length of ownership of my cars, and other bike, that this could be the last road bike I buy. This bike climbs so efficiently that I haven't been on the granny ring once.
In the 3 months I've had this bike, I've fallen in love with it. It's very comfortable on the road. It's a rocket on the flats. It climbs pretty well. The geometry is comfortable for me (I'm 6'5" on a 61cm bike).
I have a lot of leverage on the bike, so it flexes a bit on the tough climbs, but it feels like the energy snaps back into the road, so I don't mind. The Zurich may be a better fit for me because it has different shaped tubes that make it a bit stiffer (out of my range though). It performs extremely well on flats and rolling hills.
I'm pretty content with the stock setup. It performs well, so I'll leave it alone until something breaks (like the wheelset, but great so far). It comes with mountain pedals, and I prefer road pedals, so those will be changed eventually. Handlebars and saddle are fine for me (others who posted had issues).
This is by far the best bike I found for the money. I'm very happy I went with steel. I prefer the Zurich, but the BA is about $400 cheaper!