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Frugal Yankee pays top dollar for Lotus

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Frugal Yankee pays top dollar for Lotus

Old 10-09-12, 12:49 PM
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top506
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Frugal Yankee pays top dollar for Lotus

I'm from the dumpster diver/yard sale/dump picker end of C&V. My last three scores cost me $20 (Schwinn Super Sport), $8 (Ross Signature 290s), and $4 (Nishiki Riveria GT) respectively. So when I saw a Lotus Classique my size on the local CL for $200 I thought I'd take a look, but no way was I going to fork over that much dough. I played e-mail tag for a day and arranged to meet the owner at his place of employment. He took the thing out of the back of his Subaru and put it in front of me. I checked that the stem and seatpost were loose, rode it around the parking lot, and wrote a check for the full freight.







I had to take it to work to cool off for a week or so to avoid divorce. While there it got a strip to the frame overhaul. The now-richer idiot who sold it to me had done a half-assed re-build and packed the hubs with white lithium grease. Once that was cleaned out they spun like new.





Yes, that's a first generation Uniglide freehub. The stock 14-32 cluster wasn't going to work for me, so I dug into my stash of Uniglide cogs, took a fistful of 8s spacers, and put together this very usable 13-15-17-19-21-23-28 cluster.



It appears to be full Shimano 600 Arabesque. I don't know if the pedals and headset were introduced later than '81. I do know that the Tange headset on the bike now is OEM. The stock seatpost was very short. With proper adjustment the minimal insertion line was about an inch out of the tube, so I swapped it out. The Brooks saddle and bar tape were on the bike when I bought it.











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Old 10-09-12, 01:16 PM
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Well, if you're going to pay top dollar for a cool vintage bike you certainly can't go wrong with a Lotus Classique like that one. I don't know what you consider "top dollar", but if it was less than $400.00 you did good.

Your pedals and headset look correct to me for a 1981 Classique. Early Classiques used the stamped steel/aluminum KKT Top Run pedals but evolved into using the mostly aluminum KKT Pro Vic IIs by around 1981. Later Classiques (1982-ish) would have the Shimano 600 EX headset instead of the Tange chrome model.

The holes in the chainring are for the chain guard, which is frequently missing. The original Uniglide chain would have been gold, to match the freewheel.

The early 1980 model freewheels only went to 28 teeth, a new feature for 1981 was the 32 tooth cluster with the long cage version of the 600 Arabesque derailleur. So you're still close to original specs.

Last edited by Snydermann; 10-09-12 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:22 PM
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You wrote a check for a CL purchase? What moron accepts checks when conducting business on CL? Nice bike.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:25 PM
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nice bike.
unfortunately i would never accept a cheque for Cl... you got lucky there.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:27 PM
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Bike looks worth the price.
When I see a bike set up this way though with the saddle tilted down, I almost always see it is set too high, when the guy is on the bike.
Not saying it is the case here, but if the saddle is set much over 103% of your leg length then I would consider lowering it, and tilt it more level.
Declining saddles almost always have the rider sliding forward, your arms and lower back are needed to keep you in position.
This leads to wanting a higher handlebar position to compensate and take the load off the arms.
This high saddle sloping down often also sets one up to use too high a gear.
It is hard to spin AND keep you perched.

While this may not apply to you, I see it so often on the road and with bikes guys bring in to get "fit" to, the cluster of adjustments I described and and riding styles go hand in hand.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:31 PM
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I like your bike! Great group as well. Never seen a long cage on an arabesque rd, lovely detail.

Btw still married? I'm sortof on a whire as well when it comes to purchasing bikes...
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Old 10-09-12, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Zieleman View Post
I like your bike! Great group as well. Never seen a long cage on an arabesque rd, lovely detail.

Btw still married? I'm sortof on a whire as well when it comes to purchasing bikes...
The long cage seems much less common than the short cage versions. They also seem to break more. I have no problem passing along almost every one I can find.

1981 Catalog Photo:

"Once you get on, you'll never want to get off." lol . . . I'm a huge fan, but even I don't know if I'd take it that far .


Last edited by Snydermann; 10-09-12 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:41 PM
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Your reputation is safe. You still have not come close to paying top dollar for a bike.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Snydermann View Post
The long cage seems much less common than the short cage versions. They also seem to break more. I have no problem passing along almost every one I can find.
How does a cage break? Heavy impact from a curb?
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Old 10-09-12, 01:51 PM
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Nice Bike!!!!

don't they always break because of the plastic pieces.

Originally Posted by Zieleman View Post
How does a cage break? Heavy impact from a curb?
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Old 10-09-12, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesj View Post
Nice Bike!!!!

don't they always break because of the plastic pieces.
Plastic? Mine are aluminium i think...
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Old 10-09-12, 02:13 PM
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Honestly, I didn't ask how they broke. But I've sold three long cage Arabesque in the last couple of years to replace "broken" ones. The only short cages I have sold went to make bikes original again. Of course this could just be coincidence, I suppose.

Lotus used a ton of Arabesque parts on their first-generation bikes (1980-82), so I see quite a few requests. #1 request is the chain guard for the crank and #2 is long cage rear derailleurs.

If you look on eBay right now there is like a dozen short cage Arabesque derailleurs for sale and no long cages.
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Old 10-09-12, 02:39 PM
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Wellll worth $200. Great, great bike.

How's she handle?
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Old 10-09-12, 03:31 PM
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I like the hiding out at work part!

For 200. you did ok!
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Old 10-09-12, 05:28 PM
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Tange 1, leather saddle, 600 group, you did well for $200. Great color combo also.
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Old 10-09-12, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Snydermann View Post
Well, if you're going to pay top dollar for a cool vintage bike you certainly can't go wrong with a Lotus Classique like that one. I don't know what you consider "top dollar", but if it was less than $400.00 you did good.
If it wasn't for your website I could have had it for chump change. The guy knew all about it. But I wouldn't have known it was worth going after, either.

Originally Posted by nikkorod View Post
You wrote a check for a CL purchase? What moron accepts checks when conducting business on CL? Nice bike.
Originally Posted by mapleleafs-13 View Post
nice bike.
unfortunately i would never accept a cheque for Cl... you got lucky there.
Maine is different....once you get away from the hipsters in Portland.

Originally Posted by repechage View Post
When I see a bike set up this way though with the saddle tilted down, I almost always see it is set too high, when the guy is on the bike.
Not saying it is the case here, but if the saddle is set much over 103% of your leg length then I would consider lowering it, and tilt it more level.
Declining saddles almost always have the rider sliding forward, your arms and lower back are needed to keep you in position.
This leads to wanting a higher handlebar position to compensate and take the load off the arms.
This high saddle sloping down often also sets one up to use too high a gear.
It is hard to spin AND keep you perched.
Bike isn't dialed in yet. I just threw the saddle on for the pictures.

Originally Posted by Zieleman View Post
Btw still married? I'm sortof on a whire as well when it comes to purchasing bikes...
So far......the new rifle for a moose hunt took the heat off bikes for a while.

Originally Posted by Snydermann View Post

1981 Catalog Photo:

"Once you get on, you'll never want to get off." lol . . . I'm a huge fan, but even I don't know if I'd take it that far .

Know a good touch-up paint match for 'ice blue'? The finish is in remarkable shape (except the decals, which I'll order from you), but there are some chips.

Originally Posted by KvltBryce View Post
Wellll worth $200. Great, great bike.

How's she handle?
Originally Posted by jr59 View Post
I like the hiding out at work part!

For 200. you did ok!
Originally Posted by Chrome Molly View Post
Tange 1, leather saddle, 600 group, you did well for $200. Great color combo also.
Maiden ride tomorrow. But still, $200? What was I thinking?
There are a few more pictures, along with the only thing I found wrong with the bike in the part II post

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Last edited by top506; 10-09-12 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 10-09-12, 06:01 PM
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I think that is a fine purchase for $200. Very pretty bike, in nice shape, attractive components. If you don't need the long cage with your new cluster, I bet you can buy a short cage cheap and sell the long cage dear, bring your $200 down to $170, and feel properly skint.
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Old 10-09-12, 09:14 PM
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Nice bike, I like it a lot. If it makes you feel any better, I paid 300 dollars for a Lotus Eclair without worry or regret.
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Old 10-09-12, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
If it wasn't for your website I could have had it for chump change. The guy knew all about it. But I wouldn't have known it was worth going after, either.
Know a good touch-up paint match for 'ice blue'? The finish is in remarkable shape (except the decals, which I'll order from you), but there are some chips.
Unfortunately, the website did seem to affect Lotus prices. If it makes you feel any better I kind of feel like I screwed myself as well. I put all that effort into the website only to now have to pay more for the bikes I collect. Oh well, in the long run I hope it works out best for everyone.

I've had good luck mixing various Testors blue and silver model paints to match Ice Blue.

If you contact me through the website I'll pass along a BikeForums discount for a set of decals or throw in a Lotus water bottle or something. It looks like your seat tube decals are in good shape, so I'd keep them in place. The frame decals I have are identical to the originals and for under 20 bucks really make a huge difference in the appearance of the bike, even on a frame with worn paint.
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Old 10-09-12, 10:50 PM
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Wow, that looks like it was very very well cared for. I assume you'll do the same . Nice score and $200 is still a lot of bang for the buck with a bike like that.
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Old 10-10-12, 06:07 AM
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Very nice and well worth the cost. Besides, your average purchase cost is still in very respectable Yankee territory, I believe. Good luck with matching that paint. It looks something akin to the Motobecane in my sig (though more ice, less blue) and I've found it very tricky. Ie. so far I've failed.
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Old 10-10-12, 07:17 AM
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Top, sometimes you have to splurge on yourself and you did very well. Beautiful bike!

I was going to comment on mapleleafs-13 post about not accepting a check for a CL sale, with about the same words you used. Things are different here in northern New England, aren't they!

New moose rifle!?! Pictures or it didn't happen!

I've not seen much evidence of those big critters around my house this year--- but they did some significant logging across the road from me this year, so my guess is they temporarily relocated. Enjoy the hunt!
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Old 10-10-12, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post

I was going to comment on mapleleafs-13 post about not accepting a check for a CL sale, with about the same words you used. Things are different here in northern New England, aren't they!

New moose rifle!?! Pictures or it didn't happen!
You want pictures of the moose or the rifle?

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Old 10-11-12, 09:11 AM
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Both! Of course!
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Old 10-11-12, 09:56 AM
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650 lbs dressed. Not a monster, but a solid freezer full of meat.



36 1/2" rack



.30-06 Ruger M-77 Hawkeye with 1.5-4.5x32 scope. A classic style rifle to match a barn full of classic bikes!

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