From leading the Tour de France to leading his bike empire
Greg LeMond told WVLT East Tennessee could become a job creation hub, part of what he’s calling the ‘Carbon Fiber Valley.’
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - He’s a three time Tour De France winner and he’s building his bike empire right here. Greg LeMond told WVLT East Tennessee could become a job creation hub, part of what he’s calling the ‘Carbon Fiber Valley.’
“There’s a lot of talent to pull from here,” LeMond said.
The man known for leading the peloton in a yellow jersey is now leading his own brand.
“It’s the only thing I think that comes close to being like the bionic person,” LeMond said of riding his e-bikes.
Greg and a hand-picked team from Oak Ridge Lab founded LeMond Composites in 2016. They’re now selling power-assisted bicycles and soon, racing bikes.
“You feel like, our bikes are not just a throttle. You have to pedal. But when I ride it, I feel like I’m in Tour de France shape,” LeMond said.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Greg LeMond,” Ryan Jezek said.
That’s head mechanic Ryan Jezek. Greg’s hiring local and bringing in new taxpayers.
“I moved here for the job,” Jezek said.
From Nevada. Ryan says the new tech trickles down to, well, people like us.
“All the things that benefit the pro rider will also benefit your weekend warrior,” Jezek said.
LeMond noticed European riders and commuters wanting a little extra juice. He thinks that’s more than a trend in America, too.
The real key for LeMond is lowering the cost of expensive carbon fiber technology. And Greg has pretty big ambitions. He says in 6-7 years, he wants to be the number one bike company in the world.
“We’re going to have road, mountain, gravel. In each one of those categories, we’ll have an e-bike version,” LeMond said.
“Our base model is 4,500 dollars,” Jezek said.
A quick eBay search is all you need to see: that’s pretty standard for a carbon fiber e-bike.
“It’s not an exclusive brand just for high performance road bikes,” LeMond said.
Greg said he wants LeMond to get a high quality bicycle for under two grand, out the door for customers. Now the assembly team is turning wrenches and saving ounces. Like other bike companies, the pandemic caused an uptick in demand --- one they’re still catching up with.
“We’re going to be able to drop that lead time,” Jezek said.
“If you’re going to be in the bike business,” Greg says of his his new company in West Knox County, “we’re in the perfect area for that.”
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