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  1. #1
    Senior Member commonlaw's Avatar
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    I'm hooked. With pics and questions

    I think I am hooked on this whole bike riding thing. Supposedly a few other people around here own bikes and even ride them.

    Wanted to start riding and decided I wanted a vintage solid straight frame with a bit of character and one that I could wrench and learn on without doing too much harm to my bike or ego. So, I picked up an old Lotus Unique with some cosmetic damage but a very true frame.

    Obviously from the pics, it is a single speed but I recently made a few modifications to get it geared in a place that I can actually get around the hills of Seattle without dropping a lung en route.

    So, here's a few pics, and then I was hoping to ask a few questions. Please give me hell if I am contravening this forum's custom by posting my stuff in the wrong forum, and even for asking what I am sure are pretty naive questions.









    The bike is basically how I purchased it with the following changes, hobbled together from parts acquired from friends (without specific regard for continuity of concept or aesthetic):

    New chain ring with smaller gear
    Threw some origin8 crank arms
    New pedals
    A newer Alex G2000 wheel for the front.

    The rear hub is a cool old Bullseye with a mavic rim. Seems true enough. So, my questions are these considering I know very little except for the fact that I am having fun riding this:

    Any general info on old Lotus bikes? Particularly the Unique?
    I would like to eventually have a matching wheel set. Would you scratch the front and get a matching mavic for the front. Scratch the back and get another G2000, scratch em both and do something all together different?
    I have some cool cinelli drops that would fit the currently installed cinelli stem. I like the feel of the horns when I am trying to get uphill, but maybe the drops would be cool. Opinions?
    All aesthetic recos much appreciated as well.

    Ultimately, I want to keep a vintage look, but get a consistent and functional bike together with solid parts.

    Thanks for humoring the noob.

  2. #2
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    nice looking Lotus.

    as for the wheels, if you want them to match you may have better luck finding a mate for the front since it is newer. it may be easier to simply buy an inexpensive set from some place like Bike Island or Niagara cycle supply.

    the bars is kind of a toss up. the drop style bars may offer more hand positions and if you ride "on the hoods" ( holding onto the brake levers) climbing should feel the same. however it looks like the brakes may be easier to operate with the dropstyle bars.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte, '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

  3. #3
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Welcome! That's a nice looking frame. I don't know much about Lotus bikes but the lugwork looks good. If you want to make it a geared bike, the best bet might be to keep your eyes open for a donor bike - either something that's been crashed, or one that you could take parts from and sell the frame. Something with Suntour bits would be a good donor. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Ooooh. Like it.

    I saw an Origin8 single speed in a store today, $500, and yours is cooler.
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
    You will not believe how fast I used to be...

    1979 Centurion Semi Pro
    1982 Lotus Classique
    1985 Cinelli Equipe Centurion
    1985 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra
    1987 D'Arienzo (Basso)
    1995 Hot Tubes TT
    1995 Trek OCLV 5500
    1997 Kestrel 200SCi
    1998 Kestrel KM 40 Airfoil
    2004 Quintana Roo Kilo
    2006 Cinelli XLR8R-2
    2013 Eddy Merckx EMX-3

  5. #5
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 Donor bike for wheelset and parts, or go new from Niagara or similar.

    Very little useful information on Lotus out there. Lotus was a marketing company, the only thing they made were brochures and sales calls. They had some top notch Japanese companies build bikes for them.

    I have a Lotus Classique in my keeper fleet (built by Tsunoda), along with a Lotus MTB and a Lotus Prestige in the project queue.

    I would as a minimum put drop bars on that bike. Aesthecially, I would also put a vintage crank on there as well, rather than that Origin 8 and flat disk chainring. I see a lot of people use a Sugino crankset or similar and just mount a smallish single chainring to it.

    Drops give you more hand position choices, and more comfortable brake lever operation. So I would put some drops on there.

    I still need to mount gum walls on my Classique.


  6. #6
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    What's with the chain tensioner? Can't you move the wheel back and forth in the dropouts?

    I actually like that Origin8 crank on your bike. The color seems to draw from the decals. I don't really care for the rocket ring, though.

    I think you might enjoy a handlebar like the nitto noodle. It can give you a hand position just like that one, plus many others. I wouldn't trade mine for anything.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Lotus Unique has an unusual if not quite unique characteristic for a road bike: vertical dropouts.
    I never think I have hit hard, unless it rebounds.

    - Dr Samuel Johnson

  8. #8
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    That's cool. It looks like a really nice frame. It was just hard to tell from the picture. My 1977 Centurion Pro-Tour also has vertical dropouts. To me, it's rather unusual.

  9. #9
    Senior Member commonlaw's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments guys. Didnt notice until after I posted how bad the pics came out. I think I agree with what seems to be a bit of a consensus that keeping a vintage feel to the bike would be nice. The rocket ring and bullhorns kind of defeat the old style.

    The chain tension came about after bringing my bike into a local shop and they said that it was absolutely necessary. I really wish I could ditch the extra part. One thing I really appreciate about the single/fixed bikes is the simplicity and lines.

    Thanks again guys.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs View Post
    What's with the chain tensioner?
    Chainline maintenance.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    The tensioner works completely perpendicularly to the plane involved in chainline. Two completely unrelated things.

  12. #12
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    The frame looks very nice. I don't know if I've ever seen a bad-looking Lotus, though I don't know a lot about them. It deserves to be a geared bike again though, no offense. Personally, I can get past the mismatched wheels and the crank and the calf-shredder BMX pedals, but it's really the bars and the cable routing that deeply disturb me. I would put on the drop bars like wrk101 suggests, you'll have more hand positions to choose from, no cables in your face, and you'll still have a good position for climbing. If you're going for a more classic look but want to stay single speed, it should be pretty easy to find a more classic-looking chainring too. Other than that, all up to you.

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