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Thread: Lotus bikes?

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    Lotus bikes?

    I found this on CL:
    http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/2676143635.html

    I'm 6'4" 300lbs and have had issues with broken frames and wheels in the past.
    I've never owned a Lotus, were they decent frames?
    Is this a fair price for a new old bike?

    I'm not looking to spend a ton of money but I also hate spending money twice.
    This seems like a bike that may hold up pretty well under my size and weight.

    I've looked at a few others in my size, all were in the $200 to $250 range but none were new, and none were built with any consideration for a larger rider.
    The fact that he lists it was built with straight gauge SS spokes and heavier tires and tubes tells me it was built with a big rider in mind.
    My concern is the frame being too light or too flexible for a heavy or big rider. I've had issues with higher end frames before.

  2. #2
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    it looks nice but I don't see any reference to it being especially built for a heavy rider. I also was unaware you could custome order frames from Lotus, but I sit back and see what the real Lotus experts have to say.

    have you contacted the seller? you should ask what materieal the frame and fork is made of.



    Personally as far as weight and bike durability, I think it is more a matter of riding style. I have used some pretty light wheels in the past and had few issues.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    THIS BIKE WAS NOT BUILT WITH A BIG RIDER IN MIND. The bike market was very competitive back in the 1980s. The better road bikes were battling on overall weight. Being as they were all using lugged steel frames, the way they got the weight down was by using thin steel tubing. As you go up the product line in tubing, the wall thickness got thinner and thinner. If anything, bikes back then were designed for lightweight riders. They were not going to be uncompetitive on bicycle weight by making their models more suitable for large riders. A bike from that era with 600EX components would tend to have a light (thin wall) steel frame.


    Bigger frames like this one tend to be flexier than small frames, so that makes the situation somewhat worse.

    This is not to mean heavier riders do not ride lightweight bikes from the 1980s. But your experience already is a warning.

    Lotus is one of the dozens (or more) Japanese brands that existed in name only. Several great Japanese bikes from that era were that way: Centurion, Nishiki, Univega, and more were all made by others.

    Price on this bike is on the high end, is the fork original?? All chrome forks are usually a red flag = replaced = bike crashed in the past. I don't recall Lotus using an all chrome fork (I have owned several Lotus bikes).

    The higher end Lotus bikes were made of very thin wall steel tubing, that's how they got the weight down despite being made of steel. Without information on the tubing used on this bike, no idea. The higher end Lotus bikes had Tange Champion 1 tubing. Google weight versus tubing and you will find all kinds of opinions I am sure.

    The ad lists Tange frame tubing. What grade? Tange had many.

    I would check out the Clydedale forum for guidance.

    Myself, given your size, I would be looking at a touring bike instead. Touring bikes were designed to carry a heavier load, with thicker tubing (and the bikes typically weigh a couple of pounds more). Lotus made a nice touring bike, the Eclair. And more important than the frame is the wheels. Touring bike wheels also tend to be designed to carry more weight.

    And if you are on a tight budget, then a vintage high end MTB is a great choice. The wheels and frames on MTBs can tend to handle more weight, add smooth tires and they are pretty decent on the road. And they make great commuters.
    Last edited by wrk101; 11-13-11 at 06:00 AM.

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    Senior Member oldroads's Avatar
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    Nice bike but overpriced.
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    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    THIS BIKE WAS NOT BUILT WITH A BIG RIDER IN MIND.
    Myself, given your size, I would be looking at a touring bike instead. Touring bikes were designed to carry a heavier load, with thicker tubing (and the bikes typically weigh a couple of pounds more). Lotus made a nice touring bike, the Eclair. And more important than the frame is the wheels. Touring bike wheels also tend to be designed to carry more weight.
    I have a 1983 Eclair, and it has 27" Ukai rims with 40 spokes in the rear, and 36 spokes in the front. You can install wider sized tires to provide more cushioning. Any similar touring bike would be something to look at, since they are built to handle a rider's weight plus 70+ pounds of gear. A nice, high-end hybrid from the early '90s would also be something to consider. The "hybrids" back then were referred to by different names, but provide alot of great features and can handle wider tires (700x38 for example). You can convert to drop bars in some cases, and use tires with less aggressive tread patterns if you want to.
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    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    I corresponded extensively with the person who owns this bike through the Lotus website trying to help him figure out what he had. He was a big guy himself and spec'd out the frame and components circa 1984, then moved and stored the bike. It is virtually unridden and the components look NOS. It's like a new 1984 bike.

    I believe from the serial number and style of the frame that it was built by Pacific Cycles for Lotus late in 1983 and is probably Tange Champion tubing. Many of the Pacific Cycles bikes made for Lotus used a steel head set, the original fork for the frame would not fit an aluminum head set, so the chrome fork was installed, the seller has the original fork. Back in the day Lotus offered a lifetime warranty on their frames, this is probably a replacement frame designed to cover a few different models in the event of a warranty claim. It looks like Lotus also sold it as a bare frame.

    I think it's a nice bike and probably worth around what he is asking, but I don't feel qualified to judge if it will suit your needs as a larger rider. Because the bike was custom built in the first place, I'd have no qualms about further upgrading this bike to suit your needs. We also have reproduction LOTUS decals now if you wanted to add more graphix to the bike (shameless plug).

    As others have mentioned, Lotus offered the 1983 and later Eclair and Odyssey touring models with 40 spoke rear wheels.
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

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    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post

    Price on this bike is on the high end, is the fork original?? All chrome forks are usually a red flag = replaced = bike crashed in the past. I don't recall Lotus using an all chrome fork (I have owned several Lotus bikes).
    I was thinking the same thing, but the decal on the fork kind of matches the decal on the TT.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  8. #8
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    Lotus used a chrome fork on the 1987 era Lotus Legend and I believe on some of the Pacific Cycles bikes, like the Prestige. For some reason the steerer tube on the original fork didn't have enough threads to support the alloy headsets the owner tried (too short). The last I talked with him the original fork comes with the bike.

    Pacific Cycles was a pretty new Taiwanese company in 1983, they might have still been getting up to speed with their construction details. I'll bet they offered a pretty good value in a frame, trying to get their foot in the door, so to speak.
    Last edited by Snydermann; 11-13-11 at 07:06 AM.
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snydermann View Post
    Lotus used a chrome fork on the 1987 era Lotus Legend and I believe on some of the Pacific Cycles bikes, like the Prestige.
    I know Snydermann knows a lot more about Lotus than I do. At the same time, I have a Lotus Prestige in the rehab queue right now with a painted fork (matches the bike). I'll have to look to see if it was Taiwan or Japan.


    Here it is in "as found" condition:


  10. #10
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Vintage touring bikes enjoy a premium over vintage racing bikes, but at the $350 mark, you should start seeing some good ones.

  11. #11
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    As information, Lotus (and a couple of others, KHS for one), went with heavier tubes on the larger framesets. The larger (58-60cm and up)Classiques, amoungst others, moved to Tange/Champion #2 instead of #1 onthe smaller frames. I still would not advocate putting 300 lbs on Tange/Champion #2.

    I would look for a bike with #5. Reasonably light PG tubes with decent weight capacity.
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  12. #12
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    THIS BIKE WAS NOT BUILT WITH A BIG RIDER IN MIND.

    Bigger frames like this one tend to be flexier than small frames, so that makes the situation somewhat worse.
    +1

    I got rid of a 62cm steel Trek because it was too flexible, the rear end got squirrely spinning fast down hills (bike was a fixed gear). I have not seen this on smaller frames, although I only weigh 135lbs. I would not recommend putting 300lbs on a higher end racing bike like that, I'd expect it to be way too flexy.

    I'd highly recommend a touring bike, or even a low end hi-ten straight gauge frame with nice components and wheels. It will only weigh a few more pounds than a fancy butted frame but it should be much stiffer and stronger.
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  13. #13
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    I know Snydermann knows a lot more about Lotus than I do. At the same time, I have a Lotus Prestige in the rehab queue right now with a painted fork (matches the bike). I'll have to look to see if it was Taiwan or Japan.
    Here it is in "as found" condition:
    The more I learn about Lotus bikes the less I think I know. You've been a big help with your experience and observations.
    I have photos of two different Lotus Prestige bikes with chrome forks, both are dark blue and appear to be the same vintage. This one I saw in person, I can't say (no factory proof) if the chrome forks are original on the Prestige models. I know for sure the 1986-1987 era Legend came with a chrome fork.



    Here is a photo of the original unused fork from the bike in question. Which I think is similar to the Lotus Prestige frame, but not exact.



    The Lotus Pacific Cycles Taiwanese bikes are relatively easy to identify and date. The serial number is usually stamped on the seat tube near the bottom bracket and begins with the letter P. The second number is the year the frame was made (3=1983) and the next two numbers are the production week of the year.
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

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