Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   Classic and Vintage Bicycles: Whats it Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries (
-   -   Lemond/Trek Titanium... What's it worth? (

warrennnnnnnnnn 01-07-14 11:01 PM

Lemond/Trek Titanium... What's it worth?

The seller says it has 105 shifter/brake levers and FD with an Ultegra RD and Bontrager carbon fork. I have no idea what the second photo is trying to show, but from what I can see, it looks to be pretty clean. I also like that it's a triple since I live in hilly San Francisco. I should also note that I am a Clydesdale. Will it be bendy?

I don't really know what I'm looking at, and hope you guys can help. I've since done some research about Lemond Ti frames but apparently they were from several different suppliers and came in a few different models, none of which seem to match this Trek branded one supposedly made by Sandvik.

Some more personal info (I could use any advice you have for me): I'm a casual fan of cycling. My only bike up til this point has been an upgraded 1981 Univega Sportour, a smooth riding chromoly steel DT shifting workhorse I've converted to take 700c wheels and a triple drivetrain. I enjoy the ride very much but I feel like I need a bike that performs better in climbing. So my original thought was that I'd look to swap out the frame for an old school aluminum or perhaps carbon frame (Trek 2500, Giant Cadex, Specialized Epic, Vitus/Alan/Guerciotti, etc.) with traditional geometry and save weight. I was thinking I'd just re-build the original bike with the old components which I've kept in a box and move the nicer wheels and drivetrain over to the lighter frame. But once I saw this I thought I might have stumbled on to something...

I plan on using this maybe as a commuter and at least a weekender on which I can hope to keep up with my friends who have recently upgraded to speedier road bikes on rides to Sausalito and around the Bay.

FastJake 01-08-14 12:17 AM

I have no idea if the guy's story is legit, I have never heard of this frame. Even if it's not a Trek, but it's actually titanium, this is a good price in your area. I still haven't gotten my hands on a Ti frame/bike. The frames alone go for several hundred on the low end.

Since I've never ridden a Ti bike I cannot say whether it'll be too whippy for you. But what I CAN tell you is that those early carbon tubed frames (Trek 2500, Epic, et. all) are about the flexiest frames around and I would NOT recommend one for you if you're a clyde. Especially in the larger sizes, they are more flexible and as a result more prone to being torn apart.

If you want a nice stiff frame, you need to get a more modern welded aluminum or one-piece carbon frame. These frames are lighter and stiffer than their early glued ancestors. Modern aluminum frame road bikes can be had relatively cheap these days, a LOT cheaper than that "titanium Trek" in the ad. And they will serve you well.

american psycho 01-08-14 03:50 AM

that is a good price for a great frameset with components. buy some lemond stickers or better yet remove all stickers.

titanium bikes will last a long time.

you need to ride it to see if it's 'whippy'. get on a steep hill and grind up under max power and see if you get chain rub on the front deraileur.

warrennnnnnnnnn 01-08-14 04:55 AM

Great advice guys.

Maybe a dumb question, but how would you describe "whippy?" And if I mash while going uphill, my Univega does need a little "trimming" of the shifter, even after adjusting. My LBS said it was just a reality of the cranks flexing and me being big. I imagine this would happen with any bike, no?

miamijim 01-08-14 05:34 AM


Its all relative to your cycling style. Are you a spinner or a grinder? Do you climb a lot or ride flat?

Heavier riders experience it more than fly weight riders.

There may or may not be some collectability in the future, I certainly wouldn't be taking any decals off it.

bargainguy 01-08-14 10:28 AM

1 Attachment(s)
The Lemond ti frame history is a bit convoluted, but here's what I gathered from the various subcontractors. Lemond had no manufacturing plants AFAIK, they had frames built by others.

#1 : Made by Merlin and designed by Tom Kellogg, the Team Z frame. Merlin had offered Lemond the exclusive rights to the Extralight for a five year licensing agreement but Lemond turned it down due to cost. Turned out beautifully for Merlin - the Extralight set the racing standard for a few years.

#2 : After Merlin stopped making ti for Lemond, Sandvik takes over ti production.

#3 : Subcontracted to Clark Kent in Denver. At first, welding quality was excellent with Ivo Vinklarek and Don Herr manning the torches. Later, CK subcontracted their work out to several different welders and quality suffered; stories of contaminated welds & failures are common. Then CK goes belly up as one of the founders absconds with the cash or some such.

#4 : Trek enters into an agreement with Lemond to sell it as a boutique line. Trek hired Gary Helfrich, formerly of Merlin & Ibis, to build a team of top-notch welders and fabricators to build the ti frames as well as the mixed material bikes - ti spines with carbon stays/TT/ST etc, as well as aluminum/carbon and steel/carbon mixes. The ti spine bikes were around $4-5K new if memory serves.

Takeaway - if this is a Lemond/Trek venture bike, probably not made by Sandvik, that was much earlier.

I just picked up this '05 Victoire the other day which is one of the ti spine w/carbon frames - really a beautiful ride.

0.2HP 01-08-14 12:33 PM


I believe most modern titanium frame are TIG welded, not brazed. Both joining methods are easy to get wrong, but ti brazing is more difficult. If the frame really is brazed titanium you are going to want to inspect each joint carefully for cracks and separation before buying.

“So my original thought was that I'd look to swap out the frame for an old school aluminum or perhaps carbon frame…”

For new frames, aluminum is currently the cheapest way to get light. However aluminum has a limited fatigue life. You know how you can bend a paper clip back and forth a dozen or so times before it breaks? That’s fatigue life. Some materials, like steel, have infinite fatigue life in a bicycle frame application; it can be stressed and unloaded forever and will not fail (unless you crash, run it over with a car, etc). The aluminum alloy used in bike frames can only take a limited number of load/unload cycles from normal riding before they crack. The less the rider weighs, the smoother the roads ridden on, the more cycles it can take before cracking. The number of cycles, and the time before failure, may be more or less than the total time you will end up riding the bike. But a used aluminum frame is not the best choice for a bike you intend to ride a lot.

The above also applies to carbon fiber, only more so. Plus carbon fiber is an emerging technology, and many (not all) C-F frames manufactured just a few years ago had a range of teething problems. Check out the web site for examples. I don’t think you are going to find many people commuting on carbon fiber, let alone an “old school” C-F frame.

More information/comparisons on different frame materials:

More technical and long:

warrennnnnnnnnn 01-08-14 02:22 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by wrk101 (Post 16392786)
Not a good choice for a clyde to commute. Guess it depends how far into clyde you are. Wheels would worry me. Head over to the Clyde forum for a lot better guidance.

Price is attractive for a Ti bike in a hot market.

Neither classic nor vintage.

I am 300 lbs. I have a higher spoke-count wheelset with some 105 hubs I would swap out for it if this frame were indeed all I imagine a Ti frame can be. I will report back later on.

Sorry for posting here, I guess I thought since it was during the fallout it was a classic. Now that I know a bit more, it is probably only 5-6 years old. Here are a couple images of my Univega (the second pic has the upgraded wheelset I mentioned) to add some old school vibes back to the thread:


Originally Posted by bargainguy (Post 16393332)
Takeaway - if this is a Lemond/Trek venture bike, probably not made by Sandvik, that was much earlier.

I will ask the seller about that.

bargainguy 01-08-14 10:39 PM

I took another look at the seller's pix. In particular, the seatstay / seat tube junction really does look fillet-brazed. Which leads me to the following:

1. Fillet brazing usually not done in a production environment like Trek, so I'm really wondering about this frame.

2. Heavy use of Bontrager parts is consistent with what Trek was doing at the time, as the bikes were incredibly costly for the era. One way to keep overall costs down is to use house-brand parts, so that makes sense.

3. If it really is a Lemond/Trek, there should be serial # confirmation. My frame above has a bar code sticker underneath the BB shell with all the serial info.

warrennnnnnnnnn 01-09-14 02:48 AM

4 Attachment(s)

Here's my follow-up. You can see the above in higher res here.

Seems like a more than fair price. He explained the following:

1) He flipped the stem and brought the saddle down low and forward since he normally rides a 56cm. This is why the bike setup looks a bit strange in the CL photos.

2) He got it from a guy in Sacramento who bought it from a store in that area. We'll call the guy I saw today Guy B. Guy B got it from Guy A who verified with Trek that it was a "Lemond Victoire Classic" (not Victory like the ad says). This frame was apparently a step up from the Lemond Victoire. According to Guy A via Guy B (and this checks out with a quick Google), very few were made. The story here is that Lemond decals ran out and thus were never applied, thus the Trek decals and head badge. These were sold only as framesets. Guy B says Guy A's shop told him the brazing was overseen by Sandvik, so Guy B really doesn't know for sure. Looks like there is little to refute what @bargainguy gathered about the earlier ones being Sandvik earlier in this thread

He showed me the dropouts, which confirm it is indeed a Lemond (you can see it in the last photo in my link above). "LeMond" was stamped right into the outside of the dropouts, only visible when you take the wheel off. He also showed me that above and below the existing Trek badge on the head tube there were also two curious little holes bored - these holes were for the Lemond badge that they must not have had in stock... shrug. I am no machinist but the brazing looks really nice and there are no cracks or separations at any joint. The downtube also does this weird thing: it becomes an oval shape as it approaches the bottom bracket. Anyone know what that's about? Can anyone identify the cranks? They say Bontrager, 175.

This frame is a strange one to me.

I could not identify the material of the seat tube or the model of the crankset, but they are both Bontrager, as is the carbon fork. Regardless, this bike was light, and I mean LIGHT. I happened upon an old Cannondale SR600 up for sale right after this and the aluminum frame felt as heavy as steel in comparison.

The Lemond also has a Shimano 105 FD and STIs, and an Ultegra RD.

The test ride:

The guy was nice enough to let me ride it without any collateral. I hopped right on after adjusting saddle height and felt like the bike weighed next to nothing. Well, that's what I get for riding only a chromoly steel frame from the eighties all last year. It accelerated better. It didn't feel whippy like I thought it would. It felt solid and stiff and light and handled well. It handled turns harder than I normally take (albeit, I am no Crit racer). Then I got up out of the saddle and sprinted, came to a near stop and started mashing to accelerate again, repeated this a few times, and the bike didn't flex noticeably or feel like it couldn't handle the force. There was no sound of chain rub. Being a big guy, I was initially worried about this.

Somehow, the aluminum Cannondale I tried afterwards DID feel whippy. Maybe it was due to the 600EX cranks on that one? I have no idea. I thought aluminum was known for feeling stiff and harsh?
I think I like this bike alot. But what makes me hesitate is that I had originally planned on spending $500 total in building up my own aluminum or carbon bike. Now I'm going to look up Victoire Classic and figure out what they are worth and verify with Trek what is going on here. Judging by the eye, the components, and the ride, I know it's a great bike. On Craigslist, smaller sizes are going for $1500, frame only. I am thinking it's a go if a few more things are a go ('d like to get ahold of someone from Trek to verify and see a bit more about what people have been paying for these).

I thought I got the serial # but I guess I missed it... should I ask the seller for it?

Random sidenote:

Guy B collects weird bikes but this one was just too big for him. He showed me one of his bikes which was made form bamboo, lashed together with hemp and epoxied at the joints... he was for real.

bargainguy 01-09-14 07:31 AM

Good detective work! Certainly appears to be a Lemond. If so - the price is more than reasonable, esp for a fillet-brazed one, which I've never seen before. Surprised it's still available.

The Bontrager cranks are OK but nothing to write home about. But that's not where the value is in this bike.

From your pic #3 , it appears you have a bar code and a serial # engraved on the BB shell. That's different from mine, where there is no separate engraved #.

J.Oxley 01-09-14 09:21 AM

Man, warrennnnnn (did I get enough "n"s in there?). I'm gonna take this as an object lesson in thorough research.

The bike is pretty epic too. hahaha

Warren128 01-09-14 11:05 AM

The downtube is ovalized near the BB to increase stiffness. Litespeed and other manufacturers also do this on their ti frames.

IMO, it's a great price for a good, complete ti bike. Go for it :). The value is in the frame, you can get higher grade parts as the current ones wear out. I saw that ad too, and if it was my size, we wouldn't be discussing this bike here, I would be riding it already. :lol:.

0.2HP 01-09-14 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by Warren128 (Post 16396429)
The downtube is ovalized near the BB to increase stiffness.

Yes, an oval tube is stiffer in the long direction and less stiff in the short direction. I believe Cannondale started this with their fat aluminum tube frames.

However some bike manufacturers make large diameter tube oval where they are trying to join them to a smaller diameter tube. This works for that purpose, but (in my opinion) it sometimes makes the frame TOO stiff where you don’t want it, in the direction you do not want. i.e. making a fat down tube oval where it joins a standard diameter head tube makes the front of the frame TOO stiff in the vertical direction.

miamijim 01-09-14 04:53 PM

warennnnnnn if it felt ok then buy it. Its a good buy.

miamijim 01-09-14 04:54 PM


Originally Posted by 0.2HP (Post 16396658)
[FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000]Yes, an oval tube is stiffer in the long direction and less stiff in the short direction. I believe Cannondale started this with their fat aluminum tube frames.]

Schwinn was doing that back in the late 70's early 80's with 'The Sting' and I'm sure someone did long before them.

FastJake 01-09-14 05:43 PM

Just buy the darn thing! You could probably sell it for more later if you don't like it.


Originally Posted by warrennnnnnnnnn (Post 16395631)
Somehow, the aluminum Cannondale I tried afterwards DID feel whippy. Maybe it was due to the 600EX cranks on that one? I have no idea. I thought aluminum was known for feeling stiff and harsh?

You missed the key word in my post about aluminum frames. For it to be stiff you need to try a MODERN one. Shimano 600EX is mid-1980s. The old Cannondales are good but aluminum frames are a lot different today than they were back then.

jon c. 01-09-14 09:08 PM

I think I like this bike alot.

It certainly sounds like you do. And it's a pretty nice ride, so it really seems like it should be yours.

warrennnnnnnnnn 01-11-14 09:37 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Guys, big update:

#1 - I bought it! Very happy with my purchase, and your perspectives, information, and advice had a lot to do with it. The seller even came down $50 from the asking price, which wasn't much, but very good considering what these frames are going for alone. I checked eBay for their sold listings for "Lemond Victoire" and what I saw gave me that last push I needed to decide. After moving my wheels and Brooks from my old bike over and replacing the bartape, I am really loving it.

- I heard back from Trek customer service when I asked about the history of the frame. When I told them about the "LeMond" stamped into the dropouts, the two curious holes bored above and below the Trek head badge, the bottom bracket serial # and barcode sticker, and the story relayed to me by the seller about these being sold as framesets only, the last of them with Trek decals, their rep Paul Andrews confirmed all of information. From the e-mail:


Hello- Yes, that information is correct, it is a Lemond Victoire Classic. The frames with Trek decals were produced for warranty stock to ensure there would be replacement frames available in the future. They were welded around 2004-2005 time frame, but would have been decaled with Trek in 2008 when Lemond and Trek parted ways.

From: Do Not Reply [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2014 4:07 PM
To: Me
Subject: RE: LeMond Titanium stamped dropouts but Trek decals and head badge? CRM:0021685

Dear Warren ,
We have opened a case ( CAS-57634-B1Y5V4 ) in response to your request and have assigned it to one of our representatives. We will do our best to resolve this case for you as soon as possible. Due to our current volume, response times may take 2-3 business days. If you need immediate assistance, please contact your local Trek retailer. You can find a complete list of all the Trek retailers in your area by using our retailer locator at:

The answer to your question may already be answered on our site. This link will take you to our FAQ page
They responded the very next day. Awesome.

#3 - I took some pics.

I'm very happy, thanks so much you guys for all your help!

FastJake 01-11-14 10:36 PM

Nice! Glad you like it, I think you got a really good price on it.


Originally Posted by warrennnnnnnnnn (Post 16403183)
I heard back from Trek customer service...

Well what the heck. Both times when I've contacted Trek about frames that I was unsure of the model/year and provided the serial number they sent me a reply saying they couldn't find it in their system or some similar nonsense. These were newer frames too, less than 10 years old for sure. Oh well.

Warren128 01-11-14 11:07 PM

hi warrennnnnnnnnn,

Congratulations on your new bike. It looks great, and I think you got a great price. :)

If you ever ride around in SF, maybe I'll see you out there.

--Warren (with just one 'n')

catonec 01-11-14 11:38 PM

so a little confusing, going by bikepedia, I was able to find lemond victorie made from 2001 to 2008. none of them had trek stickers. only 01-03 were all ti, from 04 -08 they were ti/carbon.

the ones that were all ti were priced just over 3k. according to bicycle bluebook they are still worth over 3k today. why is he only asking 850 for it??

Im not saying this guy is trying to pull a fast one. Im not even suggesting that bikepedia is the end all be all to bicycle knowledge. but this may be an extremely rare model sold in a very limited number. he does say it was sold as a frame set only.

something fishy here. like I said Im confused.

nevermind, just saw post 20.

turkey9186 01-11-14 11:57 PM

Nice find at a good price here in the bay area. I have seen very few Ti frames go at that price, in the last five or six years, and you bought a complete bike.

bargainguy 01-12-14 10:06 AM

You got the ti bargain du jour! Congrats!

0.2HP 01-12-14 11:11 AM

Congrats on you fine new bike, at a great bargain price. You will have countless happy miles with it.

“I have a higher spoke-count wheelset with some 105 hubs I would swap out for it if this frame…”

So we have come to this, 32 is considered a higher spoke count?

If you current wheel set works for you, by all means stay with it. If you find you are constantly trueing the rear wheel, you may want to consider going to 36 spokes in back. Maybe a “touring” wheel. In normal riding the rear wheel takes 55 to 65% of the weight, plus the dish in the rear wheel to get the cassette to fit weakens it. So it make sense to use more spokes on the rear than the front.

(Under hard braking the front wheel can take 100% of the weight plus 100% of the braking force, but this happens so rarely the 32 spoke front wheel can take it.)

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:46 PM.