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  1. #1
    Rider of Rohan
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    Tourmalet or Croix de Fer

    I am saving for a new bike and will get a Lemond Tourmalet or Croix de Fer. None to test ride here in Vegas. Has anyone out there rode the Tourmalet and the Croix de Fer or Sarthe? Just wondering how they compare in weight and ride. Is the Steel frame stiff enough in the BB for a 200 lb 6' rider? Is the aluminum comfy enought to grow old with?

    Chris in Vegas

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Chris,

    All the bikes that you asked about are good bikes. When looking at a road bicycle it is wise to spend a little extra because road bicycles just do not wear out. I would suggest that you but a Sarthe. You can get one for around $1450.00. Seems like alot but it is not. It is a steel frame but it is tig welded which is very strong.I think steel is the way to go. It gives you a more comfortable ride than aluminum and will last longer then aluminum. How long will steel last? You will never wear this frame out unless you can put over 100,000 miles in your life time. I am 5'11" and 230 pds and have owned many steel Lemond bicycles (Zurich 2, Poprad 2) a Aluminum (Alpe de Hues) and Ti Arrivee. You are fine for a steel frame and I would recommend the Sarthe over the other two because of what you get with components.

    The Sarthe come with 2004 RaceLite wheels with use Hugh 240 hubs. Bontrager changed their hubs in 2005 to radial lacing and cheaper hubs(off brand) to save weight. You want the 2004 models not the 2005. The 2004 Hugh 240 hubs will have DT written on them. They are very good hubs almost as good as Chris Kings. I ride the RaceLites and for the money and stiffness Bontrager RaceLites is the best for overall pricing. You can try a lighter wheelset but you will break them sometime down the road. So stick with the RaceLites. It also comes with 31.8 OS bar and stem from Bontrager. At your weight this is what you want in a bar and stem combo. It will cut down on the flex when you stand up and sprint. Sarthe comes with Campy Veloce 10 spd groupo. This is a very good groupo and will last a very long time because it is Campy. The Sarthe bottom bracket and crankset is the NEW outboard bearing design and it is a Truvative badged as a Bontrager set. Very stiff compared to the older design.
    So you again have the stiffest bottom bracket and bars and stem. IT even comes with a carbon seatpost. But you will probably break it down the road because at 200 pds and over carbon seatpost just dont hold up very well. I know I broke two before getting smart and buying a Thomson setback.
    At your size you are a little big for a 55cm but it might work the only problem I see with out measuring you is that you won't be able to get behind the cranks without pushing the seat all the way back on the rails and run a 120mm stem. You might need 57cm and run a 110 mm stem. Again I am guessing without measuring you. Just going from my size. I am 5' 11" and ride a 55cm with a 110mm stem with my seat pushed all the way back and running 175mm cranks.

    Again road bicycles do not wear out like mountain bikes. Spend the extra and you will be happy. All you need is a seat that fits you and pedals.

    It might look like I am trying to push a bicycle on you. I am...I like Lemond bicycles and have spent way to much on them. Probably know more about Lemond bicycles than most who work for Lemond. In fact I have all the sales catalogs going back to 1999 if that says anything. Don't do what I did and spend to much money jumping from bike to bike. If it was me I would buy the Sarthe and be done with it.
    Their are some others on here that have the Sarthe and swear buy them. So it is not just me.

    hope this helps.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Another vote for Sarthe

    I can add little to the prior excellent post, other than to say I spent an enormous amount of time in making a decision on my first road bike (I am a 53 year old runner/marathoner whose knees are not cooperating with my running goals). After 8 weeks of reading, and riding as many bikes as I could, I settled on the Sarthe -- which I thought had the best combination of features (and cost/benefit) among steel bikes (with carbon fork). I was going to buy the Croix de Fer, but given the % in price difference, it did not make sense to to me to make that many compromises. I had the few hundred more to spend, so you calculus may yield a different result. So far (4 20 mile rides later), I am very happy with the Sarthe.

    I am 5'10" and 155lbs, and I really found myself having trouble with sizing (from 55cm-57cm Lemond, and 56cm in other makes). Each manufacturer has its own way of measuring and its sizing (55,57,59 vs 54,56 etc), and bike geometry will vary substantially. So the only way to be sure is to ride and be guided by a quality LBS. This is more art than science. For me the 55cm Sarthe worked fine, although a 57cm could have been tweaked reasonably as well.

    Good luck
    Alan

  4. #4
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    Another vote for the Sarthe...

    Quote Originally Posted by leggeca
    I am saving for a new bike and will get a Lemond Tourmalet or Croix de Fer. None to test ride here in Vegas. Has anyone out there rode the Tourmalet and the Croix de Fer or Sarthe? Just wondering how they compare in weight and ride. Is the Steel frame stiff enough in the BB for a 200 lb 6' rider? Is the aluminum comfy enought to grow old with?

    Chris in Vegas
    I'm a long-time rider, and I got a Sarthe this spring. It's a very good riding bike, and a very good deal. It's the same frame as the Croix de' Fer but a step up in components and fork also I believe. My only concern as a retro-grouch is the wheels, but I'm using them 'till they prove themselves unreliable (so far they are fine ... 1000 miles or so). I believe the Toumalet is now an Aluminum frame ... I believe that steel is really a better deal for many reasons, but I won't go down that road here. But really, Croix de' Fer is also a very sturdy/good bike as well...

    JMHO,
    -D

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Really, in a metropolis the size of Vegas there's not ONE LeMond dealer?

    Anyway... earlier this year when I was bike shopping I test-rode the Tourmalet and Croix de Fer back to back. No question - the Aluminum Tourmalet was noticably more jarring over bumps, cracks, manholes than the steel Croix de Fer, definitely not a "comfy enough to grow old with" bike. I ensured same tire pressure before the rides. I wound up getting a mint '03 LeMond Zurich, Reynolds 853 steel & full Ultegra, for about the price of a new Tourmalet. Get one of the steel models.

    I'm 6'0" and ride a 57cm size.

  6. #6
    too fixed, too furious
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    devil's advocate: sarthe

    while i don't own one, my riding partner just bought one. as for the frame, it is beautiful. i would ride one, and did when quill stems were all there were, but they never made the head tube taller when everything went threadless, and now i can't get the stem up high enough to fit without replacing the fork. end rant. i loved the way the lemond rode. now for the devil's advocate part. seems to me that because trek corp didn't want to use a carbon steerer that they made the fork legs very flimsey to make the weight match that of the lighter forks on the market. my friend is about 160ish i am guessing and there is so much movement in that fork when he brakes, it is scary. he's not really that comfortable witht that much chatter. he's only ridden it three or four times so far, and seems to be getting more comfortable with the fork flex, but it didn't seem right to me. i've never seen a carbon fork flex like a steel one before. maybe he got a bad one, i don't have a comparison. now i did buy a pair of those bontrager race light dt hub wheels. the rear hub developed play after about four hours of use. had to go back to warrenty. can't be tightened. they rode harsh, they excellerated slow due to the heavy rim, they went out of true quickly and they flexed latereally enough that the bike felt like it wanted to stand up in corners: had to fight the wheels to keep layed over. on rollers i could feel them shifting: leaning this way and that while i rode. ditched em' after a few hundred k. worst investment i ever made. now i am about 210lbs and i knew better than to buy a set of fancy bladed spoke wheels but i did it anyway, cause lightweight people told me how great they were. just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

  7. #7
    too fixed, too furious
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    i should probably add....

    that the frames themselves are beautiful. they say handmade in usa on them, so they are probably built in wisconsin. the steel will be stiff enough for you, but won't be aluminum stiff. if you have ridden steel before, you will know what i mean. if you haven't you will need to either ride it a few times to gain the appreciation of the material or head to the nearest dirt or brick road and hit it in the big ring to "understand" what it is about steel that makes it a great frame material. the sarthe has an absolutely beautiful color scheme. campy stuff is good, but i doubt the quality and weight are much different than the shimano that comes on the croix model. if it were me, and money were an issue, i would get the cheaper model, take the fork off, send it to indy fab, have them make the same fork in steel, and paint it to match the lemond color. that would make it truley a classic steel bike. my friend couldn't get the cheaper model in a 57 so i think stock may be a problem at the moment with lemond.

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