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Looking at new old bike

Old 10-16-11, 01:37 AM
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Looking at new old bike

I guess since I'm 6' 3" tall and 300lbs I figured this belongs over here.
I've been biking all my life, but not as much in recent years.
Both injuries, work, and poor riding conditions where I live now are partly to blame.

I was scanning craigslist the other day and found a road bike my size that back in day would have been my perfect bike. Realistically these days the drop bars would have to go in place would be a set of straight bars and the shifters would have to become thumb shifters, but it seemed like a pretty decent deal for what looks to be a brand new mid 80's bike with full Shimano 600 equipment on it.

https://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/2628163726.html

I already looked at the bike, it's mint clean, and like the ad reads, most likely never ridden. There's not even chain marks on the sprockets yet and the tires and tubes are new. It's my size bike too, which seems hard to find.
He's not sure what model, but the bike 'feels' light to me, far lighter than the Nishiki Custom Sport I've been riding. The price don't seem too bad either, he's asking $300 and seems firm on that price. If I buy this, I'll be changing out the bars, stem, and shifters for something more upright, but the rest will stay the same.

The way I'm looking at it is that I can't buy anything new for this much, and its still kind of from the era which I did my most riding, and it's built for a big man.

Its the first bike I've found that won't require me having to build a custom set of wheels to hold my weight either. The wheels are 36 spoke, straight gauge SS spokes on 600EX hubs so they should withstand my weight pretty well.

Wheels are my biggest concern with my weight, I'm 50lbs heavier than when I rode back in the day.

Will a bike like this hold up under my 300lb weight?
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Old 10-16-11, 04:44 AM
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https://www.azfixed.com/vanilla2/comm...cussionID=3675

I looked quickly on Google for info on the Lotus frames... seems like you have a winner. If it's Columbus it's going to be awesome. If it's Cromoly, it's still going to be very very good. If it's the Tange Tubing, it might be comparable to Reynolds 753... which is awesome. This isn't a plummers steel crappy weld job frame.

I have had really good results from my Araya rims. They carry me (220 lbs) plus groceries or camping gear (another 40+ lbs). I don't see any problems with her holding your weight comfortably. If she's a comfortable ride, I say get her. I have a Reynolds 351c frame and it holds my weight well. These older steel frames you just can't beat for the value.
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Old 10-17-11, 01:00 AM
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He had a bike shop scale there and it weighed just under 25lbs, but it's got kevlar tires and thorn resistant tubes on it, plus all the original reflectors, brackets, and a heavy saddle. I suppose it would fall into the 23lb range with some lighter parts but I like the idea of not worrying about flats and the padded seat works fine for me. I am partial to old leather Brooks saddles though, but I've not ridden on one in years.
I've also had good luck with Araya rims, but either way, I think my choices would be limited anyhow in a 27" wheel.
The frame has no tubing decals, in fact, there are no Lotus decals at all either, just a few Shimano decals. I don't think I much care about what tubing it is, it's pretty light for a big frame bike and it fits me. I didn't get to ride it, it was pouring rain the day I was there to see it, and I don't suppose the seller would be too fond of my test riding his minty clean almost new old stock bike. It's super clean, not a sign of any use on it at all.
The front fork isn't the correct one for the bike but he's got the right fork still all wrapped up, never used. He said the Shimano alloy headset wouldn't fit the supplied fork when the bike was built, so they used a Tange chrome fork, I suppose with a lower stack height headset I could put the original forks back on it.

I was a bit concerned about the price being too high but after a trip to a bike shop here it sounds down right cheap. The cheapest road bike they had was over $1400, and they outright said I was too heavy for it.
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Old 10-17-11, 05:21 AM
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I'd say buy it, but have the wheels re-tensioned and trued anyway. Sounds like a fantastic deal.
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Old 10-17-11, 06:39 AM
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The owner, Joe, was corresponding with me about that bicycle through the website. Personally, I think it's a good deal, it's a "new" 1983 Lotus bike for $300.00 and it sounds like it suits your needs almost to the point of being custom built.

The serial number shows the bike is a late 1983 production and was built by Pacific Cycles for Lotus. Lotus was one of Pacific Cycles first customers and there are other instances of similar Lotus frames being found. At the time Lotus offered a lifetime warranty on their frames, so it makes sense that an upper-level bare frame frame would be available for custom order or factory warranty. I do believe the tubing is Tange Champion as that was their most popular tubing at the time. We weren't able to match the frame to any particular Lotus model as it does seem to be a custom build, especially the under bottom bracket cable routing. I'd guess the frame is close to the Pacific Cycles built Lotus Prestige from the mid-80's.

We'll have first-generation Lotus decal sets available very soon if you want to make that new bike look reallly spiffy.

Last edited by Snydermann; 10-17-11 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 10-17-11, 01:18 PM
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I'm going to try to get back there this weekend, if its still for sale, I think I found my next bike.
I would be interested in decals, but I'm also not sure what model it would be.
He's also got an almost identical Panasonic bike there, that has Tange Champion #2 tubing decals on the frame and fork, it's an al original Panasonic DX4000, and that bike is heavier than the Lotus but about 3 lbs, and it don't have the heavy tires, seat, and tubes, and uses the much lighter and narrower 700C wheels. It's equipped with full Suntour Cyclone components. While the Panasonic is the same size frame, it's got a longer wheelbase by an inch and sits way taller than the Lotus he has for sale.

A friend of mine at work has a Lotus Supreme, the frame on the one for sale is identical to the frame on his, his has Columbus SLX tubing decals and is light blue in color. His is lighter but is full Campagnolo equipped with 700C wheels. He's the one that found the ad for me.
Both his bike and the one I looked at are the only two bikes I've ever seen with curved chain stays. The chain stays are super narrow around the bottom bracket and flare out around the wheel. If you look downward they look wavy.
Side by side his and the bike for sale have identical frame features other than the position of the rear caliper mounting bar, which is way higher on the bike on CL. The Supreme has an alloy freewheel, Campy Record derailleurs, shifters, and seat post, and has a Cinelli decal on the chainstays.
I like his bike but it would never handle my weight.

Something I keep getting warned about is that I should avoid a higher end frame, or to stay away from the lighter tubing frames. I did notice that there's a lot of lower frame flex side to side when I ride a higher end frame. Every stroke of the crank pushes the frame side to side as the tubes flex.
I also fear breaking crank arms, as I've snapped about 5 pairs over the course of my riding days, The last set being on a friends brand new Fuji Finest AL.
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Old 10-17-11, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Snydermann
The owner, Joe, was corresponding with me about that bicycle through the website. Personally, I think it's a good deal, it's a "new" 1983 Lotus bike for $300.00 and it sounds like it suits your needs almost to the point of being custom built.

The serial number shows the bike is a late 1983 production and was built by Pacific Cycles for Lotus. Lotus was one of Pacific Cycles first customers and there are other instances of similar Lotus frames being found. At the time Lotus offered a lifetime warranty on their frames, so it makes sense that an upper-level bare frame frame would be available for custom order or factory warranty. I do believe the tubing is Tange Champion as that was their most popular tubing at the time. We weren't able to match the frame to any particular Lotus model as it does seem to be a custom build, especially the under bottom bracket cable routing. I'd guess the frame is close to the Pacific Cycles built Lotus Prestige from the mid-80's.

We'll have first-generation Lotus decal sets available very soon if you want to make that new bike look reallly spiffy.
I took a look at the website in your link, after going through almost every pic, I don't see a match, or at least not one that matches on every aspect. The bike on CL has a super short rear end, there's barely enough room between the rear tire and seat post to get my fingers in between, and the seat post lug and maybe the BB looks cast, not stamped. The rear dropouts are odd looking as well, they say SHIMANO GT in italicized print and have a pronounce or drawn area towards the adjustment screws. After looking at many bikes and tubing catalogs on the web I see nothing even close.
The few pics I took of the bike on my phone look more gray than blue, but in person it looks blue. The clear coat is sort of pearlescent and makes the color change a bit in bright light. Out in the sun it looks gray, in low light it looks more blue. The lugs are gold outlined, as are the Lotus logos on the seat stays. The seat stays are pretty far forward on the seat lug and very well finished. The one in the pic of the Prestige looks almost spot welded on a stamped lug.

I looked closer at lunch time at my buddies Supreme, it too has the serial number stamped right on the left side of the seat tube. Like the one on CL, the number is stamped crooked and barely readable. (I can't believe they would stamp tubing like that its visible).
His has Columbus SLX tubing decals and a smooth slightly sloping fork crown. It also has 700c wheels and a tubular tires. They both have the same brass headbadge. It also uses the same below the bottom bracket cable guides. The rear dropouts are forged but unmarked on the Supreme though.
If I buy this bike, I will want to get the proper decals for it, if we can figure out what it is.
Judging by the pics on the Lotus website, it don't match any of the bikes marked PC exactly, but it also don't seem to match any other Lotus so far either.

For the price, and weight, it really don't matter much which tubing it is. Even if it were plain steel, it's still a very light bike for it's size and built to handle a larger rider. I'd just want to make it look more complete with some decals, even if I leave out the model decal.

Something else I noticed is that some have decals for a headbadge and others use a riveted badge. When did they change over to decals, or did they use both?
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Old 10-18-11, 01:05 AM
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We haven't figured out the head badge chronology. It seems that the 1980 bikes used decals and started switching over to badges by 1981. But then some models switch between decals and badges in similar model years. This frame is unusual in that it uses push-rivets to fasten the badge and not the regular rolled rivets found on most Lotus bikes.

I'm convinced the frame is unique and probably designed to replace any one of a few Lotus models in the event of a warranty replacement. It could also just be a "custom" stock model not imported except as a frame. Pacific Cycles was a new company in 1980 and Lotus was one of their first big customers, according to some brief correspondence I had with George Lin, the founder.

Given Pacific Cycles was a new company at the time, they may have been selling frames at a really good price point.

We'll be selling decals for the first generation Lotus bikes a-la-cart, so you don't have to buy whole sets (although sets are a better value). 1982-83 was a transition year, so the first generation decals may or may not be correct. Some of the first Pacific Cycles bikes did come decal styled like the Tsunoda bikes, but the decals were ever so slightly different. In any case, a few LOTUS down tube decals and perhaps a Lotus flower decal for the seat tube would still look appropriate.

I also designed some custom "Lotus" decals in the model name script font and a tiny version of the down tube font. I thought they would be cool to use as decoration for frame pumps or as a faux pantographing on the bar stem. I also could cut you a vinyl decal in the correct font to apply as is or use as a paint mask if you wanted to do a custom model name. I just added some pre-production information about the decals on the website.

Last edited by Snydermann; 10-18-11 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 10-19-11, 10:06 PM
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I ride an 84 Schwinn Tempo. It has a Champion Tange frame. I still can't figure out if its Tange 1 or 2 yet. My bike is similar to this ltous with frame and 36 h laced wheels. I'm 275 and feel completely safe on it.
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Old 10-23-11, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Snydermann
We haven't figured out the head badge chronology. It seems that the 1980 bikes used decals and started switching over to badges by 1981. But then some models switch between decals and badges in similar model years. This frame is unusual in that it uses push-rivets to fasten the badge and not the regular rolled rivets found on most Lotus bikes.

I'm convinced the frame is unique and probably designed to replace any one of a few Lotus models in the event of a warranty replacement. It could also just be a "custom" stock model not imported except as a frame. Pacific Cycles was a new company in 1980 and Lotus was one of their first big customers, according to some brief correspondence I had with George Lin, the founder.

Given Pacific Cycles was a new company at the time, they may have been selling frames at a really good price point.

We'll be selling decals for the first generation Lotus bikes a-la-cart, so you don't have to buy whole sets (although sets are a better value). 1982-83 was a transition year, so the first generation decals may or may not be correct. Some of the first Pacific Cycles bikes did come decal styled like the Tsunoda bikes, but the decals were ever so slightly different. In any case, a few LOTUS down tube decals and perhaps a Lotus flower decal for the seat tube would still look appropriate.

I also designed some custom "Lotus" decals in the model name script font and a tiny version of the down tube font. I thought they would be cool to use as decoration for frame pumps or as a faux pantographing on the bar stem. I also could cut you a vinyl decal in the correct font to apply as is or use as a paint mask if you wanted to do a custom model name. I just added some pre-production information about the decals on the website.
I've not yet been able to get over to pickup that bike, but hope to by this time next week.
The color on that bike is a dark blue with a pearl clear coat, I'd have guessed the correct color decals for that would be silver, but I guess gold would match the headbadge. Anything is better than no decals at all I guess. Even a simple Lotus on the seat tube and Lotus script on the down tube.
I must say that I am not a fan of the decals that have the Lotus flower in the script. I'm glad that bike is also a darker color and not one of the more pastel colors more common in the 80's.

Do you have a catalog for 1983?
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Old 10-23-11, 04:54 AM
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That bike on CL looks a lot like one I had here a few years ago, but mine was green and measured 67cm tall.
Mine had 'Tange' #2 decals, was equipped with full 600EX friction shift components, it had 27" Araya rims with 27x1 1/8" tires and center pull calipers, it used a long caliper in the rear, and a short in the front. The fork was chrome tipped, the rear was not. The seat post was 27.2mm.
The head badge was a gold decal, as were the two seat bands and the down tube Lotus decal. The serial number was on the side of the seat post but I can't remember if I ever wrote it down or not. Judging by the components it was between 1983 and 1986. The headset was Tange Levin, the color was close to a 1993 Ford Mustang a coworker drove at that time.
The model on the top tube was simply '600'. I had always thought that maybe part of the model name was removed or picked away but could never find an exact match to this bike.
The cables were routed below the bottom bracket with a black plastic guide, the frame had dt braze ons and one set of water bottle braze ons.
The bike was 100% Shimano 600 with only the headset, bars, stem, and seat post being not from the 600 group. I bought the bike on eBay for cheap, it was listed, sold, and relisted by three or four sellers all in the midwest area. When I won it, the seller told me the wheels were junk, and if I wanted to save some shipping, he'd clip away the hubs and ship only the frame and hubs. Which I did and got the bike for under $100 shipped to the door. I relaced the wheels to a set of older Ukai 27" rims with new spokes. I sold the bike about four years ago now. The one on CL is real close. I emailed him for more pics, and nearly all points of his match the one I had. I would have kept it but it was too tall for me, and at the time, big frames were bringing a premium.
The guy that bought the thing was about 5'6" tall and could barely even get on it and pedal, but he wanted a 'big' bike. $450 later he owned one.
That price on CL is a steal, mine was used when I sold it, although it may have been a better economy then, I thought $450 was more than fair for mine, especially for a bike in good condition that you can not buy new today.
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