Though the bike lacks any sort of suspension, we found that it provided a remarkably comfortable ride. The carbon fiber frame seemed to absorb some of the vibrations that would otherwise become bothersome on a steel or aluminum frame.
We appreciated the comfort of all of the bike’s contact points; the rubberized pedals were large and accommodating, the saddle was well-shaped and comfortable (though fans of larger cruiser-style seats may find it small), and the grips were lightweight and minimal but effective. The natural hand position of the grips and curved handlebars was incredibly natural-feeling and comfortable. LeMond offers ergonomic rubber grips, but personally, I don’t think they’re necessary in this case – and I usually prefer that style.
The overall handling and ride feel of the Dutch was superb; its lightweight frame allowed it to maneuver and respond quickly to changes in pedaling. I learned that I needed to be careful of my leg position when turning at slower speeds to prevent it from being in the way of the handlebar, but this was something I adapted to quickly. The bike could accelerate quickly with just a moderate level of effort, and – while the frame never quite seemed to disappear beneath me as I experienced on the LeMond Prolog – its featherweight shell did add an airy, energetic quality to the ride.
The cockpit was expectedly sparse, with little aside from the grips, brake levers, and shifter. Our test bike included the optional Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system paired with a small LCD to indicate the current gear. Otherwise, the Dutch itself does not include a display of any sort, but instead relies on the color of the ring around its single-button interface to communicate PAS setting, charge level, bluetooth connection with the MAHLE MySmartBike app, and more.
We found that the X35 interface had a learning curve, but after some practice, it became second nature. It seemed intuitive, with the default light ring displaying battery charge, and PAS adjustment and light activation/deactivation possible with a button press to activate the system and then another press or hold to change settings. The charge level was easy to understand as well, with a progression from white to green, then orange, red, flashing red, and pink as the charge approached 0%.
Despite the system’s functionality, we would appreciate seeing the option for a display at purchase; this would remove the learning curve and make the bike easier to operate and understand. LeMond offers the optional K-EDGE Garmin Stem Mount, which allows riders to use their phone as a display and interface, but we’d also like to see the MAHLE PulsarONE display offered. This small wireless unit is made specifically for the X35 system, so we think it just makes sense.
Credit where credit is due, however – LeMond offers the optional iWoc trio remote to allow users to control the Dutch’s pedal assist system without having to use the down-tube mounted button. Even with practice, we found the standard interface fairly difficult to operate while moving, as doing so required taking a hand off the bar and taking our eyes off the road. For this reason, we highly recommend adding the iWoc trio remote if you’re considering the Dutch!
We also thoroughly endorse the optional Di2 shifting system. While it might seem more at home on a performance-oriented road bike, the quality and responsiveness of its shifting was superb. Users can pair the system with the E-TUBE app to adjust the speed of the shifting, reverse the buttons, or limit the number of gear changes that can be made while holding one of the levers. The benefits are exponential, and while owners will need to make sure the battery is charged for shifting to work, it’s otherwise a low-maintenance system that adds greatly to the premium experience of the Dutch.
In short, our entire team of testers and reviewers were highly impressed. There are simply a ton of features (included and optional) that combine to give the Dutch an elevated ride quality we think is sure to satisfy discerning riders.