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Bike Ninja
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"GREG LeMOND’S 1989 BOTTECCHIA - 1
With its steel frame, 650c front wheel and Mavic rear disc wheel, Greg LeMond’s Bottecchia was no different than other time trial bikes in the 1989 Tour de France. What separated it was the addition of Boone Lennon-designed aerobars. Aided by the aerobars, Greg LeMond was able to defeat Laurent Fignon in the closest and most defining Tour de France of the modern era. With his victory came a new era in time trialing, one in which aerodynamics played as large a role as strength and skill. LeMond winning the Tour de France in the final time trial by a mere eight seconds brought time trialing to the front of the sport in public appeal and started a technology arms race within the bicycle industry."

"In that time trial LeMond put his bike in a huge 55 x 12 gear and rode it 54.545 km/h (34.52 mph), the second fastest time trial ever ridden in the Tour de France. He made up 58 seconds on Laurent Fignon, ultimately winning the race by 8 seconds."



It's steel. It's a boat anchor, and Lemond still holds the 2nd fastest time trial record on the beast even after all these "Technological advancements" in aerodynamic frames and ultra light carbon materials that followed in the past two decades. Hell most of you know this, but it's interesting nonetheless.
 

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Just because it is steel does not mean it was a boat anchor. And all this proves is fitness and physical "gifts" outweigh everything else when it comes to performance.
 

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And a downhill TT course with a tailwind. BTW - who says this bike wasn't "expensive" during this time period? Either way - its the motor that counts.
 

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krisdrum said:
And all this proves is fitness and physical "gifts" outweigh everything else when it comes to performance.
And that on flat roads, low aerodynamic resistance trumps low weight / low rolling resistance every time.
 

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Um, that thing was pretty f'ing high tech in 1989. And expensive.

Lemond was the guy who bought high tech to the TDF. While Fignon had his pony tail and rode a pretty standard bike in the TT, Lemond had his aero bars, his goony aero helmet, his clipless pedals, etc...

Saying his bike was a boat anchor is like saying Armstrong's first madone was a POS because it didn't have a tapered steerer...
 

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That bike has all the essential characteristics of a modern TT setup:

He is in a full aero position with his back at a 90 degree angle
He is wearing an aero helmet
He is using a full disc rear wheel

I doubt it was even all that heavy- but weight doesn't really even matter on a flat TT.

If he made the record on an upright dutch single speed I would be prepared to agree that the bike doesn't matter.
 

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It was also a fairly short time trial for distance. 24.5 kilometers. 15.2 miles. Over short distances you can ride a faster average speed. Many thought it was too short to make up 50 seconds on Fignon.
 

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We can talk all we want about the current Greg, but back then he was the man. I think the first time TDF had any coverage at all in NA it was down to Greg. He made an immense contribution to the popularity of the sport here.
 

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It wasn't a "new era" where aerodynamics suddenly were important. Aero brake levers, aero down tube mounts, teardrop tubing and 650 front wheels were all old aero standards at that point. The only thing "new" was the adoption of biathalon/triathalon gear of the time by the the somewhat stodgy bicycle racing world. Scott aero bars had won several other events going back to '87 and earlier. The first bar of that type was used in '84 during the RAAM.

Fignon was ill and had saddle sores. Lemond did a great job, and his equipment was amongst the most ideal for the job.

Price has little to do with winning or even riding. It sometimes has a lot to do with how happy you are in the long term with your bicycle, though.
 

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SilentAssassin said:
"In that time trial LeMond put his bike in a huge 55 x 12 gear and rode it 54.545 km/h (34.52 mph), the second fastest time trial ever ridden in the Tour de France. He made up 58 seconds on Laurent Fignon, ultimately winning the race by 8 seconds."

It's steel. It's a boat anchor, and Lemond still holds the 2nd fastest time trial record on the beast even after all these "Technological advancements" in aerodynamic frames and ultra light carbon materials that followed in the past two decades. Hell most of you know this, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Was it the "2nd fastest time trial" up till then, or the second fastest even today, twenty one years later?

This is a timely thread. I am in the midst of finally upgrading my ancient road bike. In it's day this Pinarello with it's lugged Columbus SLX frame and Campagnolo gruppo was all that was needed to compete at the highest levels. I could still achieve incredible speeds on this machine, so I sometimes wonder why I should "upgrade". I guess it's the same desire to have the cutting edge technology of the day that inspired me to buy the Pinarello in 1990.

I'll soon have a carbon fiber frame with ultralight components to compare with the "obsolete" original machine.
 

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I rode that bike. Broken wheel and all it was FAST. Maybe it was the the 54 or 56 tooth chainring, I forget what was on it. My sister still has the headbadge off of it.

I worked in the paint shop at Ten Speed Drive Imports distributer of LeMond bikes at the time. It wa sent to us after the season to be repainted as a LeMond in Team Z colors, I never saw it again until I took a tour of Treks headquarters a couple of years ago and it was bolted to the wall.

This was in 1989, before ebay. I wonder what that badge would have gotten? I could have easily had it authenticated, but then it wouldn't have ended in my hands...
 

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I would personally love to see a pro team try out steel again or Ti. Too much emphasis rests on equipment which I will admit has certainly improved in reliability and functionality but at the end of the day its the rider. Its been proven that you can make a high quality sub 17lb steel bike and even lighter Ti especially if the bike is for a smaller person. I ride with people in my local club who are monsters riding older "outdated" bikes. The pros ride what they are given and I don't believe that many aside from the very top high profile riders, have any input in design or fit, not the way Lemond did at least. He was always looking at design and build angles to get an edge and had great successes on custom steel. How cool would it be to see a pro team riding Moots RSL's or something similar. I wonder what success of a team like that would do for the carbon market.
 

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You can make 2.5 pound steel frames with S3, and ti can go below 2.

That really isn't the point. Steel and ti framebuilding are now cottage industries. Pro teams are sponsored by bike corporations with massive output. The only pro-type mass produced bikes anymore are carbon. Unless Trek or Orbea wants to suddenly hire 1000 speciality TIG welders, there is never going to be a mass production pro level metal frame again.

Lemond road ti and early Carbon because he WANTED to, not because he was sponsored by Clark Kent or Carbonframes. If someone put together a team that didn't need the bike sponsor's money, then maybe we would see some alternative bikes, but teams are about money and advertising, so it ain't likely.
 

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Yeah, that bike is no slouch even by modern standards. The 650/700 wheel set up allows for an aero position that no 700/700 bike can match. Not to mention that LeMond is sporting an aero helmet, a speedsuit, and aerobars.

The truth is that despite all of these windtunnel tests, I think I've heard that the bike only accounts for about 5-10% of what the wind sees. The other 90% is your body. Position is everything, and for the most part, LeMond's position on this frame is as good if not better than any body position that can be achieved on the current crop of aero frames. The year to year improvements in aero frames is usually to make up seconds, not minutes.
 

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There was an article in Bicycle Guide or Winning back then where they profiled the bike. IIRC it was indeed heavier than, say, the TVT and even the regular steel road bike that Lemond rode then (was it Columbus Air tubing that it used? I forget)...but it was pretty darn fast! Like somebody else said, in that particular TT, weight had minimal importance. It was just about being aero and powerful.
 
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