Lembeek Cross Bike
Review: Lembeek Cross BikeBy Scott Mares | Published Aug 30, 2015
Right Out of the Box
Guerciotti is an old and prestigious name in cycling and we were very excited to get the chance to try out their new Lembeek cyclocross bike as Guerciotti has a long history of cyclocross. So much so that cyclocross is featured heavily on their web site. That's because Guerciotti has won a lot of national and world championships in cyclocross. If you look back 30+ years ago you could count on both hands who made a cyclocross bike in the world. And you were not in any danger of running out of fingers. Now, Its the opposite. Guerciotti is now 50 and going strong in the cyclocross community. Guerciotti is distributed by ZAR International in North America. Just like Guerciotti, the ZAR International helm is run by a old school cyclist that is passionate about Italian bikes. When you call them up, you are probably going to get Roberto (Head Zar) and you will be able to tell right away with his heavy Italian accent that your dealing with someone that has a history in cycling and does business with trust and honor. Getting back to the bike..... We got the bike in and pulled it out and ZAR International had sent us the Italian paint job version Lembeek. Now, if you like your bikes to have a classic modern look, then this is the paint job that you will want. It always seems that the Italians know how to do paint with style. And this is no exception. Unwrapping the bike was again like Christmas morning and in the gentle Oregon sun I could see the carbon fiber piece of cycling art unfold as the packing material was pulled gently away from the frame. Beautiful.
Road Test Ride
I was excited to be heading out on the road and seeing where this piece of MIH (Modern Italian Heritage) would take me. The good thing is, its perfect weather for road riding. So needless to say it was a nice sunny day when I got to throw a leg over the Lembeek and roll out on the tarmac for its initial shake down ride. I would describe the Lembeek on the road as a stiff precise instrument of fun. Of course, after 50 years you would expect a bike company to have the geometry down, and Guerciotti does just that. With some bikes, it takes me a little bit to get use to it and see how it acts and how it gives it feedback to my input. In a sense, learning its language. Even though it has an Italian heritage, I did not need a translator or get a subscription to Rosetta Stone to hear it speak to me. Because of the shape of the down tube and the rear triangle, the bike is very snappy. Put that with the really awesome fork and you have a very good bike for sprinting. When getting out of the saddle, we didn't feel any flex in either the front or the rear.
Going up hill is just as good as jumping off the front. Even though the bike is not a feather weight, all of your force and effort does go into the rear end. So even though most road bikes are going to be lighter, I think only the super high end ones will be as stiff. We took it out to our favorite road on Highway 30 and then up to German Town road. This is a nice little climb into the hills just outside of Portland. The bike performed very well going up and coming down the twisty switch back of GTR and exceeding the 35 mph speed limit was not an issue. I experienced no twitchy ness that you can from real aggressive geometry and high bottom brackets.
Dirt Test Ride
Our standard test track is Powell Butte Park here in Portland OR. This park is the perfect place to go and test out a new bike or piece of equipment. The park is a large area in the center of the city with groomed trails that are multi use. The trails consist of single track and open fire roads. All of the trails intersect like a bicycle wheel so you can ride one trail and then go to another and so on and create short or long loops with lots or little climbing.
Climbing: There is plenty of climbing at Powell Butte Park and with the Lembeek's over built bottom bracket AND shaped down tube AND the large chain stays the bike is stiff and any power that you put into the pedals translates to forward motion going up hill. It doesn't matter if you are built like Shrek or like Tinkerbell, you will go uphill.
Descending: Now we don't just take it down a hill, or a hill in a straight line. The descent has about ten 180 degree turns in it. All of them a little different than the previous one. Some are off cambe and some have trees right in the apex so they can be costly if you don't get it right. You can't see that far in front of you especially when you drop down into the forest. So how was it? To sum it up in one word. FUN!
Because Guerciotti has been around a while, they have been able to fine tune things in their bikes. Thus there are a lot of things to like about this bike. To save time, I'm going to list them out and say just a word or two (2-3 sentences) about why we like this feature and its positive affect.
Geometry: In the recipe for a great cross, bike geometry plays a big part in it. Get the right geometry with the right materials and you have a high performance piece of equipment. Get wrong and you have a pretty paint job that is better looking standing still than riding it. Companies can be funny about disclosing their geometry for fear of knock offs. This seems to be the case here as it was really difficult to get a geometry chart. And even then the chart only list the seat angle. Because of the way the chart is written, I believe that the head tube and seat tube are parallel to each other. Bottom line, bike performance. Great geometry.
Cool fork: I have always had an affinity for the look and performance of a straight. fork. The Lembeek's fork not only is cool looking but it's light and a precise instrument of navigation. Point and go!
Different types of carbon fiber: During the review, I was in touch with Mr. Guerciotti himself asking about the construction of the frame. Using only one type of carbon fiber is a dead giveaway that the frame won't stand up to any kind of riding. The Lembeek uses several different types of carbon fiber in key places to maximize strength and performance
Internal cable routing: I love a clean bike an getting the cables out of the way sings to my cycling soul, especially when mud is included. You see, mud usually just isn't mud. Mud has a lot of other things in it. Grass, weeds, and straw can be just a few of the things that will be a part of that sticky brown stuff that will get on or in your cables and gunk things up.
Stiff BB & Stays: Cyclocross requires power and you don't want that power to be lost in Bottom Bracket flex. The Lembeek has a stiff bottom bracket that will be loved by all, especially the strong and powerful Clydesdale rider. Getting out of the saddle and apply power to the pedals will be instant to the wheels because not only is the bottom bracket strong, but Guerciotti also extended it to the chain stays as well. They are large and stick and don't move.. Translation... less energy lost when applied to the drive train.
Shaped top tube: From time to time you have to put your mistress on your shoulder and run with her. It sure makes it easier if the top tube is flattened underneath and this is often overlooked. Guerciotti ever so subtlety flattened the underside of the top tube for comfort when shouldering.
Shaped down tube: The down tube is shaped in such a way to give maximal stiffness for handling and ride control.
Name brand components:One thing that you will see companies do when they sell a bike is that they will give the bike a great frame and fork and then a good drive train and then they will put some parts on it with either no name or logo on them OR they will have their own logo on them. Problem is that they tend to be heavy and cheap. Guerciotti chose a different route and put FSA all over the bike. So no skimping on the parts... You know what your getting.
We Didn't Like
We would like to see the bottom bracket shaped a little differently to allow better mud clearance.
The Lembeek also does not have a through Axel yet. But that is ok, as all of the wheel manufacturers are making their wheels so they can either be quick release or through Axel.
All of the components on the bike are pretty much name brand. There is not a single " House Brand" part on it. Most companies will make the price point lower by cutting corners on "House Brand" components. That means that they went to China, found something inexpensive and heavy and put that on the bike. Its easy to hide when you make the stem, bar and seat post black and put the bike companies name on it. Guerciotti had done none of that and equipped the bike with FSA components.. Now, with that said, one upgrade I would make would be to upgrade the brakes. Currently the bike comes with Shimano's disc brakes BR-M416A. This is Shimano's lowest end disc brake. I would recommend upgrading the brakes to the TRP Spyre mechanical brakes. But then brakes only slow you down..
The Final Say
In this day and age, its difficult to get a high quality frame set with a Italian heritage. The market is flooded with "questionable" frame sets from companies that claim to be the "factory" but are not really the factory. The companies that you can get a reputable carbon fiber frame set from will cost you a lot more than $2,200 let alone get a Ultegra bike for less than 3K. Guerciotti has found that nice value price range where you CAN get a really good carbon fiber frame set or bike that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Throw in some really cool paint and a bike that performs well on all levels and you have a real winner. Even though it's not perfect, it's pretty darn close and for the money in an Ultegra bike its hard to beat.
Share this Review
- First Impressions
- On the Road
- On the Dirt
Like this bike? Hate it? Cast your vote and tell us why!
- Himod Carbon Fiber
- Himod carbo fiber
- Bottom Bracket
- Shimano Ultegra
- Shimano Ultegra
- Front Derailleur
- Shimano Ultegra
- Rear Derailleur
- Shimano Ultegra
- Shimano Ultegra