LeMond and the LeMond Revolution Trainer are back in business

IMG_7018

Just a quick post, as I’m heads down in a bunch of other items at the moment (including procrastinating going out running 90 minutes in some rather chilly weather).

To catch those of you back up – last fall LeMond Fitness sold virtually all of their assets to Hoist Fitness.  In doing so, they closed down their Seattle-area headquarters that I visited about a year ago, laid everyone at the company off, and transferred responsibility of LeMond products to Hoist Fitness.  This included mostly gym products, like spin bikes and the sort.

Except one product wasn’t entirely included in the transaction: The LeMond Revolution Trainer.

Nope, it wasn’t part of the deal and thus stayed in a bit of limbo land.  Now technically Hoist did purchase it along with everything else, but then they immediately sold it back to Greg LeMond.  But Greg obviously couldn’t answer every support/marketing/sales call on his cell phone himself.

So in the interim the Hoist folks would take calls on it, but didn’t have any inventory to sell units.  Further, their support was largely limited to offering you condolences.  As such, it’s one of the main reasons I recommended against it on my November Trainer lineup.  I’m not a big fan of buying into products with no future.  It’s like buying a car from a manufacturer that’s already gone out of business.  I knew that it was possible and likely that the LeMond Trainer would surface again – possibly even under a different branding.  But nobody knew when.  It could be next week, next month, or 5 years from now.  Or never.

So fast forward to earlier this week when I noticed a tweet from Hoist Fitness, about LeMond Trainer.  I flagged it for follow-up later, but didn’t have a chance to look at it until early yesterday morning.  It was then that I poked around and noticed a new website had been spun up, as well as an ordering system.  And Facebook.  And Twitter.  Nice!

Then just a few hours later, I’d receive an e-mail from the guys behind the newly formed company that’s selling the LeMond Revolution.  Which, is a very small group of folks – including Greg LeMond himself.

So where does it stand now?

Well, here’s the skinny – in simple bulleted form:

1) Location: The new LeMond Fitness Revolution company is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Given the weather there, I could see how it would make for a logical place for a trainer company to re-launch from.

 

2) Availability: As of today, they have a couple hundred units on hand available for purchase direct from consumer.  About half of those however are headed out to international dealers that had previous orders placed.

 

3) PowerPilot: Their first order of business is focusing on the PowerPilot.  Today, they’re looking to get out from under the small tidal wave of complaints around the head-unit and bugs.  The head unit is required to get power data from the Revolution.  Their goal is to quickly get a new firmware release out to address those issues, and then look to make longer term next steps beyond that.

 

4) Jet Engine: I asked about plans for the fan noise (which I’ve recorded as high as 101db!).  For their v1 unit (what’s on the market today), they are looking at some potential cowling options to reduce noise.  These include options that might redirect that fan back up to the rider for cooling.

 

5) Technology Next Steps: Longer term, they’re looking to see how they can revamp the product and make it more relevant to the price point and target market, through technology such as Bluetooth 4.0 and potentially still ANT+.  I noted that the chief complaint about the PowerPilot (or Revolution itself, aside from noise) as the lack of transmission over standard ANT+ to a users already existing bike computer (i.e. Garmin Edge 500).  I think (as I’ve told every company that asks), that for the next 12-18 months, going with a ‘both’ approach makes the most sense.  It allows users connectivity to existing devices, while also allowing connecting to smartphones.  It’s very clear that companies that don’t follow that guidance see pretty significant user backlash (see: Edge 510/Edge 810).

 

6) Production: They are currently producing more units, so the couple hundred isn’t it.  Their factories in Asia are able to produce more units on demand, as that portion of the operation was never closed up.  Like other trainer companies, the units are then loaded on a shipping container and sent over.

 

Note, if you’re in the US/Canada, then buying one directly on the site is straight forward.  If you’re outside the US/Canada, the geolocation functionality of the website will automatically assign you a set cost of $1,500 for shipping.  I asked about this since I realized it would be cheaper to fly to them to pick it up, than have UPS do so (not that I have a high desire to freeze my butt off in Minnesota this time of year).  They noted this is primarily because they don’t quite have the logic in the site yet to do international shipping costs.  And further, they’d prefer folks go through their local dealers for them (which are being shipped units). They said though that in the event you can’t navigate that channel without running into an iceberg, simply contact them and they’ll work something out.

image_thumb

[Updated pricing from Lemond]: Finally, as to the question of whether or not to purchase one.  As I’ve said previously, that’s a tough call at present.  At $699 and with the PowerPilot an additional $179 $399– you’re looking at $1,100 for the unit.  That puts it $200ish above something like the Tacx Bushido unit.  And about $100 above the cost of the Wahoo KICKR.  Or, a any hundreds of dollars above the cost of the Kinetic Road Machine + inRide Combo.  Of course, the vast majority of folks picking up the Revolution are buying it for the ‘road-feel’ – which no doubt it definitely has.

Thus one has to balance technology versus feel.  Price versus functionality.  Resistance control versus not.  And, most of all – sound.

For some, you’ll find the road feel more valuable than the technology integration.  And for others – you’ll find value at the technology in other units at higher or lower prices.

Personally, for me if I was to pay $1,100 for this trainer package, I’d probably want more open connectivity.  I’d like to see it transmit that power stream out via ANT+ so I can record it directly on the device of my choice.  Resistance control is also something that your probably looking at in that price range – and it’s not there.  But yet on the whole, the Revolution available today, and does feel pretty close to the road.  So it’s a tough call.

As always, thanks for reading!

Retweet 14Like 3Google +1 0

32 Comments

  1. Tim H.

    Regarding location, Mr. LeMond now hails from Medina, Minnesota (just west of Minneapolis) these days. As for our weather, c’mon and visit, the weather is lovely.

    Reply
  2. Thor R

    Great to see Greg LeMond back in business and I’m excited to see what developments are brought to the Revolution trainer.

    Reply
  3. Greg Gibson

    I stumbled across the website and facebook page yesterday. Glad you were able to confirm new ownership and continued production. Great news for Revolution owners!

    Reply
  4. funkright

    From various articles I have read, it really looks like Armstrong’s comments hit LeMond quite hard (after LeMond commented on Lance’s multiple Tour wins). Maybe, now, one man’s comments (Armstrong’s bullying and blackmail) will not takedown other’s endeavours. We’re all fallible, but Armstrong pushed it to the extreme.

    Reply
  5. JJ

    The LeMond is at least shipping I suppose, unlike the Wahoo KICKR… Which I’m not sure anyone will believe is going to pre-order or ship until they see one actually arrive at their door, Wahoo don’t seem to have a grip on production planning or consumer communication at all.

    Reply
  6. Nick

    You mentioned the superior road feel of the Lemond Revolution Trainer, what other trainers have a similar feel?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I’m not aware of any that feel that same way (that I’ve tried). Not saying they aren’t out there, I’m just not aware of any.

      Reply
  7. Tim

    I think Kurt is also based here in Minneapolis? The land of indoor trainers :)

    Cycleops in Verona, WI

    Quarq in Spearfish, South Dakota.

    The cold North Central Region has a lot to offer the cycling community in the US!

    Reply
  8. Arno Turk

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the update. I use the Lemond trainer in conjunction with TrainerRoad.(And love every minute of this experience). I don’t have the power pilot. The only thing I needed was a Lemond branded ANT+ speed sensor (ordered it shortly after purchasing the trainer, from Lemond Fitness). This allowed the speed data to be correlated with virtual power readings in TrainerRoad. Hopefully Lemond Fitness is still selling these speed sensors. In addition to providing speed data for TrainerRoad, it also gives speed data to my Garmin 500.

    In this sense, I consider the modular ability of this trainer an advantage, as you can “build” your trainer set-up as inexpensively as you’d like and get the features that you want. (Ex. Just the trainer, trainer with speed sensor, or trainer with speed sensor and power pilot).

    Maybe it is now worth releasing your review of this trainer?

    You’ve got an amazing website, keep up the good work.

    Reply
  9. Eric

    I didn’t even know I owned an orphan. Glad to hear they’re up and running again. The combination of the LeMond, their ANT+ speed sensor and Trainer Road is a great indoor training combo if noise isn’t an issue (I use mine in the garage). It is a little more work to setup with the need to remove the rear wheel, but is well worth the effort to get the most realistic resistance feeling I’ve ever experienced on a trainer. The new trainer from Wahoo looks like it will be really nice too with the same type of drivetrain and a quieter resistance unit.

    Reply
  10. Pat Morri

    I thought it was Greg that ran that company into the ground. I heard he took millions and screwed the investors. Sounds like another typical Greg deal.

    Reply
    • Kerry Roberts replied

      “I thought” and “I heard” and “Sounds like” lack credibility. Why don’t you do some legitimate research, document your findings, and then post your comments instead of taking cheap shots based on gossip?

      Reply
  11. Steve

    One problem with this trainer that isn’t mentioned very often in reviews is that isn’t suitable for low cadence high resistance training “Torque training” (If you believe in it Allen & Coggan don’t seem to refer their book on power training but I’ve had very positive results with it also refer Baker’s books). You can get around this problem by increasing the size of your chain rings. I ended up setting up a dedicated bike for the trainer using a custom triple ring chain set. You can get custom chain rings ramped and pinned as a set made up by Gebhardt which is what I did. I’m running a 67 x 53 x 39. 67 for the high torque stuff 53 for IT intervals and sprints and 39 for high cadence training. I also customised the cassette using a 28, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11 (28 for the high cadence stuff, 12 & 11 for the torque stuff, 19-13 for IT intervals and sprints. You will need to use a dremel on your front derailleur to get it to match the profile of the 67 and a down tube shifter set on friction for the front shift works better then an STI lever.

    Reply
  12. Gasman Jim

    I’ve been using a Revolution this winter and while I love the trainer itself, the Power Pilot didn’t seem to endear itself to most of the reviewers so I didn’t buy one. However, I began to get curious about power but not curious enough to splash out on a Quark or SRM and so I came up with this idea.

    I bought a Bontrager Ant+ speed sensor and cobbled together an attachment to the Revolution so that it senses the magnet in the wheel that drives the toothed belt. This sensor reports to my Garmin Edge. Via Google I then found a few postings on the web by people using a Revolution with power measuring cranks and also some where else a clever chap had described the equation linking speed with power for this device. The equation seems accurate as the independently sourced power / speed readings fit the curve described by the equation. So I now have a table of power / speed and also a graph of the same. The only thing that would introduce a degree of inaccuracy is alteration in air density with temperature or barometric pressure, but at my level that is pretty irrelevant. If any of you want a copy of the table / chart just drop me a line.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Holy cow, that sounds so cool. Would love to hear more!

      Reply
    • John mc ardle replied

      I’d love to see the power calculations Gasman Jim ! Could you email me it
      john@bradleyspharmacy.co.uk

      Thanks

      Reply
    • Bill replied

      Hey Jim. Can you throw me a bone (and some pics). I just bought a revolution and have 2 sensors, a bontrager speed and bontrager cadence. However, I can’t for the life of me find the magnet in the revolution. I assumed it was in the slot but my bontrager does not light up when I pass it over. Also please send me some of the links you reference. Thanks much! baseball_91@hotmail.com

      Reply
    • Dave replied

      If you happen to see this, please send me a copy as well. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Frank replied

      I would love to see what you have and if I can use on my pilot

      Reply
  13. John mc ardle

    Interesting on the cobbled speed sensor ! I fixed a magnet to the revolution wheel which a garmin sensor picked up easily … Showed 40mph speeds though … Guess that shows it was picking up both magnets !!!! Dummy eh ?

    Reply
  14. Gasman Jim

    Ray, John & Bill, I’ve sent you the data. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Bill replied

      I’ve got the speed sensor hooked up and lighting up so it’s picking up the revolution magnet. Installing the cadence sensor. Then will pair with my Suunto Movestick Mini Ant+ hopefully and see if I can get it all to work with trainerroad.com.

      Reply
  15. Noel Mackisoc

    Lemond Revolution is really a great product. I’m glad to see Greg is continuing with them.
    I’ve loved riding on mine, and hope they continue with growth on this….

    Reply
  16. Roy Rodgers

    Noted are the comments by others and for sure they will work.
    The following is what I did with the existing wired speed and distance device .I glued a rare earth magnet on the unit and the other pick-up measures speed and distance . The magnet must be no more then 1/16 ” in thickness and the glue used was liquid nails (a construction adhesive). I have logged 4500 miles thus far with no problems. This set-up is far and away cheaper then the power pilot. If this glue lets go I will send for a magnet with a counter sunk hole and screw it in one of the existings screw holes. It must be said that after all that I then noticed a magnet in the wheel next to where the pilot would be attached. If anyone is interested in the set up I could email you a pic as a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Reply
  17. Beorn

    I use the Revolution with TrainerRoad. An excellent combination. Very easy to set up and makes training inside close to enjoyable. I use noise cancelling headphones while riding and that seems to work very well to deal with the airplane like noise level that is generated by the unit.

    Reply
  18. Brett Hanlon

    I see that some of you have somehow connected your Garmin ANT to the rear of the Revolution which picks up the speed / distance data off the fly wheel. How did you connect the Garmin ANT to the frame? And how accurate is the data?

    I assume you also need a second Garmin ANT mounted on your bike frame / crank to pick up your Cadence data?

    Great forum Rainmaker, thanks!

    Reply
  19. Get some duct tape and stick an ANT speed sensor next to the magnet on the revolution flywheel. I bought the Bontragerunit. I use this in conjunction with the Garmin speed/cadence sensor on my crank.

    Trainerroad is clever enough to use just the cadence portion of the ANT data from the Garmin sensor together with the speed data from the Bontrager sensor.

    Have over 50 hours on the trainer and it works great.

    Reply
  20. David Chao

    Ray, are you lined up to do a review of their ANT+ update? link to lemondrevolution.com

    I’ve been using my PowerPilot with either my Garmin 610 or 910 (it’s a lot easier to upload my training rides to strava that way), and preordered this – looks like a great replacement to the PowerPilot, and brings the total price for a trainer – for those that already have power-receiving devices (e.g., ipad with Wahoo dongle or edge/610/910) – to about $870.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, I’ve been talking with them. As soon as they have a prototype unit to send over, they’ll be doing so. Sounds like sometime mid-late January.

      Reply
    • David Chao replied

      I got the WattBox. Works great. A few irritating things – if it’s paired with a cadence only sensor (like the Bontrager cadence sensor or the one that came with the PowerPilot), it automatically sends 0 for power once you stop pedaling. On the other hand, if it’s not paired, not only does it send a slowly diminishing power reading after you stop pedaling as the flywheel comes to a stop, when it stops entirely it sends out a blip of a ridiculously high power reading like 20,000 watts. So I leave it paired with the cadence-only sensor. The other thing that is interesting is that the cadence-sensor sends out a “255″ for cadence when you *stop* pedaling and it shuts down. Which looks interesting in cadence graphs, but is not as big a deal.

      So I have this running with the Wahoo Ant+ dongle on my iPad 2 and have been happily doing indoor training sessions against virtualtraining.cycleops.com – works great, as long as I download the movies before riding. Lots of fun!

      Reply
  21. Joe Public

    Any updates on the WattBox testing?

    Reply

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>