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What's better than an 1984 Lotus? A second...

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What's better than an 1984 Lotus? A second...

Old 07-11-13, 10:23 PM
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What's better than an 1984 Lotus? A second...

I have had an '84 Lotus Odyssey for years and it has always been one of my favorites in the stable. I would further submit that the 83-84 Tsunda built Lotus' were probably among the best production bikes to come out of Japan ever (no, I am not looking to debate this). So late last fall, a very lightly used '84 Classique fell into my hands and left me with a quandary. I could sell it...it is awfully pretty. I could restore it and keep it...I don't need another nice sports-tour bike. Looking at the Tange #1 tubes, and the tight wheel clearances, I note that it could be good 650B conversion. I also note that I have collected a variety of odd-duck components and I could put together an odd fast run-around/Rando bike. The goal was to avoid anything not from Japan, and not Shimano.

The Suntour ARX rear derailleur was swapped for a triple-pulley ARX. I had a nice Alero TA-knock-off crank. These are a mystery to me. I have had three in my lifetime, and they all came off odd branded, middle-of-the-road quality mountain bikes from 1984. They are the lightest crank arms I have ever held. I have no idea where they came from. Though the outer ring is a standard TA, the inner rings are odd 5-bolt affairs. I swapped them for a TA half-step + granny set-up. The brakes are Dia Compe NGC450's; I think some of the most beautiful brakes ever made. I got them from another BF member. They came with the original horrible, proprietary pads, and I modified some Kool-Stop replaceable pads to fit such that they actually stop the bike now. I had some Specialized bars which fit nicely, and San Marco Rolls Saddle, also from another BF member. The only exception to the no-Shimano theme is the stem. The 1980's Nitto-made Shimano DA and 600 stems are some of the most beautiful ever made. The chain is NOS Sedis of some sort.

I gave up on 650B for a number of reasons, primarily brakes and the fact that the original Sansin sealed bearing hubs are also some of my favorites (nice Ukai rims as well). 28C tires are the best it will do with fenders unfortunately. I have some Bontragers on there right now, but hope to upgrade soon. The bar tape, pedals, racks, toe straps are all VO; the fenders are Honjo. The bike had pretty snappy handling before the project, so I went with an Acorn handlebar bag, which also hides a misaligned drill hole which connects the fender to the front rack. It was 23 lbs when I started, and it weighed in at 26 out the door. I took it out for a test ride tonight, and even with a moderately loaded bag, it still handles great.











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Old 07-11-13, 10:30 PM
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One of Colin Chapman's Lotus Race Cars?
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Old 07-11-13, 10:50 PM
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Looks awesome! My Lotus is the same burgundy color, but doesn't have all of that shiny chrome. You'll get no debate from me, I LOVE Lotus bikes.
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Old 07-11-13, 11:13 PM
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Ahhh... Those ARX derailleurs are just wonderfully baroque. They really just seem to belong on your bike. Looks great!
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Old 07-12-13, 06:09 AM
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Awesome job, I just stare at it and think of long easy rides to places that I've wanted to visit.
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Old 07-12-13, 06:24 AM
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Those triple pulley ARX's always make me do a double take. Very nice restoration Brian and I like the theme of no Shimano.
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Old 07-12-13, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by balindamood
I took it out for a test ride tonight, and even with a moderately loaded bag, it still handles great.
I REALLY like your stuff. All the nice bits that really push my buttons. Lovely!
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Old 07-12-13, 07:06 AM
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Stunning!

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Old 07-12-13, 07:22 AM
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Dammit Brian, I thought our bike stables were similar and now you do this. Gorgeous bike, I'm jealous
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Old 07-12-13, 09:01 AM
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The part that is on the down tube shifter to secure the derailleur cables, where did you get it? I know that this bike has one boss sticking straight up and i would like one of these. can you post a close up?
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Old 07-12-13, 09:11 AM
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Next up is a '84 Centurion Pro Tour 15, as soon as I can get the dyno-wires fished through the rear fender (one is stuck), then the Trek Shimano weirdness tribute bike.

I might also add that I am not running a decaleur with the bag. This is not by choice. The switch to center-pull brakes means that I need a cable stop. The VO decaleurs have a U-shaped tube brazed onto a flat washer; inexpensive yet effective and reasonably good looking. but the blob of braze makes it impassible to have two things sandwiched together in the headset without a spacer washer, and none of the bikes I am working with have the thread capacity for this. The Shimano stems cannot use a stem-bolt decaleur (VO no longer makes one leaving Berthould $$$ and Mariposa which I have never tried). On some bikes, I can turn the center-pull cable stop upside-down and make it work. This bike does not have the threading capacity for both. The design of acorn's bag, with the thick plastic frame I think will work O for moderate loads with only bottom/rear support. I do not care for the string connections for he handlebars though and would prefer to find something else that works.
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Old 07-12-13, 09:14 AM
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The part that is on the down tube shifter to secure the derailleur cables, where did you get it?
Suntour made them for use with the top-mount braze-on used for their Symmetric shifters. They seem to be very rare. I have only ever seen two, and the old heads at the one 50-year old LBS in town are convinced that I have the only two in existence. I need about three more. That one came off a wrecked Nishiki at the local Co-op.
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Old 07-12-13, 09:30 AM
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I had that same color/year Classique. Beautiful bike. Unfortunately, mine was too small so I eventually moved it to a new home.
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Old 07-12-13, 09:52 AM
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Oh my.

I'm surprised how well the black rims blend in so smoothly on this build. Now if I could just get a better look at that seat cluster. A beautyl from top top bottom.
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Old 07-12-13, 10:03 AM
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There is a Classique locally, 54cm, that does nothing but support your quality statement. It has the chromed rear stays, head lugs, TT cable guides, fork crown and fork ends, has Suntour Arx and the black 27" wheels. I've made an offer, even though it does not fit. It's a beautiful bike, as is yours, and is nearly identical to my Semi Pro's of the same era, but with more chrome...
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Old 07-12-13, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
There is a Classique locally, 54cm, that does nothing but support your quality statement. It has the chromed rear stays, head lugs, TT cable guides, fork crown and fork ends, has Suntour Arx and the black 27" wheels. I've made an offer, even though it does not fit. It's a beautiful bike, as is yours, and is nearly identical to my Semi Pro's of the same era, but with more chrome...
Odd, as the wheels on mine were 700c. +1 Tasteful use of chrome. Fork crown, stays, dropouts, socks.
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Old 07-12-13, 10:47 AM
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beautiful bike Brian. Yeah I have acquired two bikes with symmetric shifters this year! Doh! Wish I had some of those adapters!
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Old 07-12-13, 11:04 AM
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Beautiful! Love what you've done with the build--great blend of form and function.
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Old 07-12-13, 11:14 AM
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Now if I could just get a better look at that seat cluster


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Old 07-12-13, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by balindamood
I would further submit that the 83-84 Tsunda built Lotus' were probably among the best production bikes to come out of Japan ever (no, I am not looking to debate this).
I know this is a typo, because I know you know the proper spelling: Tsunoda.

I agree that the workmanship on Tsunoda bikes in that period was superb, especially considering the prices. I had a very low-end Tsunoda-made bike (BTCA, now defunct), and even that one was very neat, and it rode well.
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Old 07-13-13, 07:53 PM
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Lotii from this era are, at least visually, amazing. I think they have some of the most attractive fork blade sweeps that I've ever seen.
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Old 07-13-13, 07:57 PM
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Nice!
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Old 07-14-13, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by man with bikes
The part that is on the down tube shifter to secure the derailleur cables, where did you get it? I know that this bike has one boss sticking straight up and i would like one of these. can you post a close up?
Here is a close up.
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Old 07-14-13, 09:10 AM
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If you cannot find one of those (^^^), I am using a second option on some other bikes. Take a top-mount Dura Ace/600 AX mount from the same time period which seem to be slightly more available. Remove the shift levers, but keep the long pin that runs through the mount. Take regular Shimano barrel adjusters from shifter bosses and file the tube-side flat and mount them to the AX shifter boss. You may need some longer attachment screws.



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Old 07-14-13, 06:51 PM
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that is absolutely stunning. I love the brakes too.
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