Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Knoxville, TN
Bikes: 2008 Gary Fisher Monona, 1997 Univega Alpina 550, 1980 Nishiki International, 1993 Specialized Epic
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Picked up a Lotus Elan yesterday - any idea how to find out the date? Pics included..
Stopped by an estate sale at lunch time that had advertisted a vintage bike, and was pleasantly shocked to see that it had not sold by the time I got there. It was a early/mid 80's Lotus Elan. I checked it out and it is an interesting bike to say the least - it has a 4130 CroMo frame but it has some components on it that I had never heard of. I have since found out that it was a Chinese company that tried to challenge Shimano in the early 80's and failed. I know that most standard components have date codes you can look up, but I am betting these components won't be in that database.
Anyone have any ideas how to date the bike? I have found what I think is a serial number that is only partially readable for now, but there does not seem to be a lot of information online about S/N's and dates of these bikes. Right now I am thinking it is either an 83 or 84 based on some pictures I have found online.
The Elan was supposedly an entry-level version, but it has some nice features. The 4130 frame seems to be pretty light, the rear dropouts appear to be forged and not stamped, and it has some weird cable guides in downtube bosses that I may replace with DT shifters. Anyway, here are some pics of the bike and components.
The rear derailler is marked DNP:
Front Derailler is marked Long Yih:
The chainring is Anlun 52-42 Super Duraluvin (this cracks me up) with and Aero crank:
Stem shifters are also marked Long Yu
And the very cool Lotus Headbadge (and an actual badge at that and not a decal)
I'll probably strip it down to the frame, clean everything up real good, do some touchup paint and possibly replace the decals if I can find them, and them build it back up. In a quick test ride yesterday the strange components work very well, nice and smooth and responsive and clean-shifting.
Seems like a neat bike, and it is the perfect size for my daughter to ride if I decide to keep it. Stay tuned for the after pics when I get the cleanup finished.....