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Old 07-14-11, 02:49 PM   #1
roburrito
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Lotus Eclair Refurbish Project

UPDATE: Finally finished! Check the end of this post for the final result!

I picked up a Lotus Eclair recently. The bike was in pretty bad condition but I could see the diamond through the rough. And I've been wanting to build a touring bike for some time.

The bike:

(It had a saddle and bar tape, but I removed them before I took the picture)

Tange 2001 Manalloy double-butted frame, Shimano Deore touring group, and a wicked Sakae crankset (its a triple missing the granny ring). The only thing I'm not a fan of are the weak looking rack mounts.

A few more shots:
Imprint on fork crown
Deore downtube shifters
Headtube and badge

I'm calling this a refurbish and not a restore because I plan on using a more modern drivetrain and mostly just keeping the original frame and fork. I'd like to keep the Sakae crankset, but the length is 170mm and I usually spin 175. And the left crankarm doesn't match.

So far I've got the frame broken down. Another shot with the stickers removed and cleaned up a bit. Despite the rust and grime it broke down fairly easily. It was a pleasant surprise.

The plan now is to strip the paint. I haven't decided whether to have it soda blasted or strip it with Tal Strip (done it in the past, its a pain in the rear). Most blasters are quoting me around $150, which is out of my budget for the frame. Sugarcoat lists $75 for blasting but that's still pushing it. I got quoted $50 by a blaster in Rhode Island but its hour drive.

For paint I'm planning on doing it myself with a HVLP spray gun. Current plan is English Racing Green body with a cream headtube and seatpost panel. Also considering English Racing Green body with metalic silver lugs and seatpost panel since the fork looks chromed.

All update the thread when the next step is completed. Let me know what you think! (And if you know a cheap media blaster in the Boston area).

Update 1 (7/14/11):
After several hours of sanding, polishing, and a little very careful painting I'm fairly pleased with the headbadge!



Update 2 (7/29/11):
Frame is back from the sandblaster! Time for some dents to repair some minor dents in the frame!



Update 3 (12/12/11):
Big update, finished body work, primed, painted, applied decals, and finished clear.

Primed:


Painted the white:


Painted with decal:


With clear and headbadge:


Update 4 (12/23/11):

Finally all assembled and riding. Ran into some drama getting the down tube shifter bosses retapped, but everything turned out okay. Its not classic touring, haters are going to hate, but I like the setup for now.







Let me know what you think! I haven't gotten a comment in this thread since July!

Last edited by roburrito; 12-23-11 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 05:30 PM   #2
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Love the way these feel. I have a Unique and it rides like a dream. Are you planning on replacing any decals/markings?
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Old 07-14-11, 05:39 PM   #3
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Check your fork. I hope it's just the angle in the photograph, but it looks off to me.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:13 PM   #4
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if you are going to paint it why not change those rack mounts? now would be the time. i would love to find a lotus tourer, it would go perfect with my lotus Classique
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Old 07-14-11, 06:46 PM   #5
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nice! i have a giant one





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Old 07-14-11, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
Check your fork. I hope it's just the angle in the photograph, but it looks off to me.
Picture made me check the fork too, but its just the angle of the shot.

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nice! i have a giant one
Digging the dark blue. And the white headtube and panel is exactly what I was thinking of doing. Do you have the same rack mounts? How have they been for touring?

Updated first post with a polished headbadge!

Last edited by roburrito; 07-14-11 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 07:20 PM   #7
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That is indeed a cool bike, congratulations.

If you do a quick-and-dirty chemical strip of the frame and then take it to the blaster for final clean-up you can save a substantial amount of money. Not only does this remove some of the paint, it weakens anything that is left over and reduces blasting time. I worked for a powder coating business for a period of time and quite often we'd hit parts with chemical stripper before blasting.

Since you asked what I think, I vote you keep the bike as original as possible. Based on correspondence gained from VintageLOTUSbicycles.com , the Eclair and Odyssey models with the rack mounts and cantilever brakes are high on the desirability chart, and are also some of the most visited pages on the site. You may be sorry with the resale value later if you customize the bike too much.
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Old 07-14-11, 07:41 PM   #8
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Digging the dark blue. And the white headtube and panel is exactly what I was thinking of doing. Do you have the same rack mounts? How have they been for touring?
yup, same rack mounts. Mine also came with the original front and rear racks.

It's been fine, I've carried many a heavy load on the bike. It's very predictable and stable like a touring bike should be. Some might say boring, but it does its job well. I'm sure you'll like yours.
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Old 07-14-11, 07:43 PM   #9
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Since you asked what I think, I vote you keep the bike as original as possible. Based on correspondence gained from VintageLOTUSbicycles.com , the Eclair and Odyssey models with the rack mounts and cantilever brakes are high on the desirability chart, and are also some of the most visited pages on the site. You may be sorry with the resale value later if you customize the bike too much.
I can always keep the original parts around in case the bike ever gains collectors value. But the cranks are already non-original and Deore isn't exactly Campi
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Old 07-14-11, 07:49 PM   #10
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. . . Mine also came with the original front and rear racks.
Hey neighbor, I'm right down the street from Phoenixville.

Are there any markings or do you know who made the original racks on your Lotus? I've had a few people ask but I don't know the answer. The catalog just states "Blackburn-Type".
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Old 07-14-11, 07:53 PM   #11
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pretty sure they are blackburn but I'll go out and check them later tonight or tomorrow.

So you're right down the street eh? funny, i had the same avatar as you do for a while as well. I love my lotus. I'll have to check out your web site.

for now here's a few pics

https://picasaweb.google.com/holiday76/LotusEclair
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Old 07-14-11, 07:58 PM   #12
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Hmm, I donated a couple of kids bikes to the "roll it forward" program, but I didn't realize what got donated would end up in the hands of BF-ers! Are they selling off what was donated? Somehow I thought they'd be fixed up and given to people who couldn't afford decent bikes.

Neal
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Old 07-14-11, 08:07 PM   #13
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nice! i have a giant one

Holiday, that is one sweet looking Lotus!
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Old 07-14-11, 08:21 PM   #14
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Holiday, that is one sweet looking Lotus!
thank you sir I've definitely got a good amount of enjoyment out of it. It was my go to bike for a long time because I really like being able to carry a lot of crap with it.

I've yet to actually tour on it as being a father put that on temporary hiatus
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Old 07-14-11, 08:46 PM   #15
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Hmm, I donated a couple of kids bikes to the "roll it forward" program, but I didn't realize what got donated would end up in the hands of BF-ers! Are they selling off what was donated? Somehow I thought they'd be fixed up and given to people who couldn't afford decent bikes.

Neal
No no no. They are still donating the bikes to kids that need them, I've volunteered at some of their give aways and worked in their shop, its a great program! But some people donated old steel road bikes, something that kids in the projects can't really use. So John started a small program to trade their road bikes for adult mountain bikes. They were mostly old steel road bikes in serious need of repair. The nicer road bikes go to the Boston Bike School program. If you've got a decent adult 26" mountain bike kicking around, send Roll It Forward an email!
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Old 07-29-11, 08:23 PM   #16
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Frame is back from the sandblaster! Updated first post with picture.
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Old 12-12-11, 08:46 PM   #17
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Finally finished paint! Big update in the top post. Now I just need to assemble!
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Old 12-23-11, 03:14 PM   #18
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Everything is finally finished! More pictures updated to the first post.

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Old 12-23-11, 07:39 PM   #19
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Absolutely beautiful!!! Nice work roburrito!
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Old 12-23-11, 08:08 PM   #20
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uh, that is awesome. so cool and unique. great job on the paint too!
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Old 12-23-11, 08:24 PM   #21
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I'd like to try bars like that before I get much older.

Nice work, no doubt.

What tires you put on her?
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Old 12-23-11, 09:11 PM   #22
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Continental Top Touring 2000. 700x32c. I've had them as my second set for my cross bike for awhile. Good for packed dirt roads.

I like the bullhorns because with drop bars I always ride the hoods and rarely go to the drop. Bullhorns give you the hood hand position but much longer, giving a nice variation on how upright/forward you want to be.
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