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Old 07-01-09, 07:04 PM   #1
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Lotus bicycles?

-more pictures at bottom of page 2-


I picked one up, $15, new tires and tape, and now have a bike I know nothing about. Done research, found nothing about the brand. I found a thread about them but really no useful information.

It is a blue Lotus Grand Prix Luxe, stem shifters, all Dia-compe brakes/levers and suntour components. I think it is an 83 or there abouts, any info on this company would be great.


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Are they talking about spectators feeding the cyclists? You know, like don't feed the bears?

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Old 07-01-09, 07:25 PM   #2
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Lotus was a 1980's US brand. Most of the bicycles were made in Japan by Tsunoda, but other manufacturers were also used, most notably some mid-1980's high end models manufactured in Italy, in conjunction with Cinelli. The parent company had a few name changes, starting out as Alpha Cycle & supply, then Lotus Int'l Corp. and finally Lotus Distributors Corp. The brand produced a complete range from entry level to pro models.

The Grand Prix I've seen were from the very early 1980s and were an entry model with a hi-tensile steel frame. Offhand, I don't recall a Luxe version. They were typcial of Japanese bicycles of this era and level, being well made, durable and good value.
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Old 07-01-09, 07:33 PM   #3
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Just consider Lotus a marketing company, selling a wide range of good Japanese bikes, from entry level to high end. As TMar points out, yours is on the entry end of the scale, but like most of the Japanese bikes from that era, all of them were pretty good.

Your best bet on dating your bike is to just look up the component codes. I have seen very little info on the web on Lotus bikes.

This is my 83 Lotus Classique, hand brazed Tange 1 Champion frame. This is my favorite bike. Like any typical thrift store find, it took a fair amount of work to clean it up.

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Old 07-01-09, 07:41 PM   #4
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I have a giant (65cm) Lotus Eclair full tourer with three sets of water bottle bosses ,front and rear racks and canti's that I use for commuting. It's my go to workhorse bike and I love it. some things have changed since this pic, but you get the idea:





I've also had a few other Lotus come through my hands, such an Excelle. They're very nicely built bikes IMO.
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Old 07-01-09, 07:50 PM   #5
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Alright. Yeah it says on both sides grand prix luxe. Everything I've found people say theirs weighs 19.5, 21, 23 lbs, where as mine weighs 28. haaaa.
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Old 07-01-09, 08:47 PM   #6
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28 pounds is really light for a gas pipe bike (hi ten steel).
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Old 07-01-09, 09:32 PM   #7
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Is it? Where does cromoly compare to that? It is tange something I don't know what that means really.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:09 PM   #8
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28 pounds is really light for a gas pipe bike (hi ten steel).
Yep my low ender is a pound or two on the wrong side of 28. Unkillable tho.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:45 AM   #9
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Put up a picture of your Tange label. Tange is cromoly which is better than gas pipe. Tange had five levels, #1 the best and #5 the worst.

Low end cromoly bikes were commonly in the 28 pound range, as often, only the frame tubes were cromoly, the rest of the bike was high ten steel (gas pipe). Then there is butted tubing, double butted, triple butted, etc. Butted tubing was a way to lower the weight of the frame. Your label will mention butting if it has it.

Basically, anything not on the label can be assumed to be the low end. Manufacturers tended to brag up any and all features, and selectively forget to mention less desirable features.....

My Lotus Classique is all Tange 1, butted (or double butted, I'll have to look). Weighs in at 22 pounds.
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Old 07-02-09, 03:02 PM   #10
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Nice nice, yeah I'm up in MA till sunday, I'll get some photos then. Not butted I think. Nice lugs though.
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Old 07-02-09, 03:04 PM   #11
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My question is, what do you think (without knowing the material..) the bike ran for in its day? How 'bout what its worth now? Finally, was Lotus a good brand? Or something from a department store.
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Old 07-02-09, 03:06 PM   #12
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1. Use the search function and be sure to check the box sort by relevance.

As far as original price, without pics and more details on components, anywhere from $100 to $200.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:02 PM   #13
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Definately better than departement store. These were actual bike shop bikes. Some were great. Some were just good. All the ones I've seen are pretty. Nice colors and lugs and such.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:12 PM   #14
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They had full-page ads in Bicycling Magazine back then - when Bicycling was a good publication. Lotus was certainly considered good machines. They were down the road from me at the time - in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I already had my Puch by then, or I might have picked one up.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:25 PM   #15
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Hmm. Made in england? Are you sure thats the same one? Either way, I guess its good. Nice lugs, yeh. Color? I find it a rather "icky" light blue. Decals not clear coated.
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Old 07-02-09, 09:36 PM   #16
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I think it was Lotus that was in Cambridge... Anywho they were nice bikes in the day. I wish I had bought a few. And kept 'em in boxes for a later date. Along with Zeus and Masi and Cinelli and .......
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Old 07-02-09, 09:39 PM   #17
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cinelli. /drools
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Old 07-02-09, 10:54 PM   #18
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I can say one thing about them, every one I've seen has a really nice color. This one I owned for a short while, rode like a dream and never failed.


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Old 07-03-09, 04:17 AM   #19
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The weight will depend on the frame size and components. A high tensile frame with all steel components will typically weigh 30+ lbs. However, substitute an aluminum cotterless crankset and aluminum rims and you've got something in the 28 lb range. Given this is a Luxe version, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a substantial amount of aluminum components.

Just because there is Tange decal, don't assume it is chrominium-molybdenum. Tange did make hi-tensile steel. Given the weight, if it is chromium-molbdenum, it is probably plain gauge Tange 5 and only in the main tubes. Butted Tange hi-tensile steel, is also a possibility.

In the end, we'll just have to wait for Sunday.
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Old 07-03-09, 04:41 AM   #20
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Yes about waiting till sunday, but I know for sure that it does say Chrominium-molybdenum. Everyone keeps saying they have nice colors. I guess I got the ugly one. ;_;
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Old 07-03-09, 08:05 AM   #21
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Hmm. Made in england? Are you sure thats the same one?
NEW England. Massachusetts. USA. Walking distance from me.
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Old 07-03-09, 10:53 AM   #22
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My question is, what do you think (without knowing the material..) the bike ran for in its day? How 'bout what its worth now? Finally, was Lotus a good brand? Or something from a department store.
Well, I sold mine about a month ago on Craigslist for $200, had it posted for $220. Had bought it about a month before for something like $50? The gal was really happy to get it and I needed the money at the time, who am I kidding I still need money now

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Yes about waiting till sunday, but I know for sure that it does say Chrominium-molybdenum. Everyone keeps saying they have nice colors. I guess I got the ugly one. ;_;
Well, it IS a bit more subdued than the others I've seen. Just makes it more unique!
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Old 07-03-09, 03:33 PM   #23
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Ohhhh new englandddd. I only read Cambridge, ha. So I guess I'll hold onto the bike, considering making it a fixie
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Old 07-03-09, 05:04 PM   #24
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Lotus bikes were made in JAPAN, not MA. Lotus was a marketing company out of New England, that imported japanese bikes with their name on them.
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Old 07-03-09, 05:47 PM   #25
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Yah, what I thought. Why is so little known about lotus?
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