Friday, October 14, 2011

A Lotus for your Week-ending Vintage Pick...

Bikes sold under the Lotus name have been formed in lands as storied in the annals of framebuilding as Japan and Italy since the 1970s. Prior to 1980, company founder Sid Star, marketed a modified Windsor design through his Alpha Cycle & Supply Corporation. It was not until 1980 that bikes were sold under the name Lotus. At that time Ernst Star (son of Sid) joined his father and manufacturing shifted to Japan, and the well-respected Tsunoda Bicycle Corporation. In the mid-1980s Lotus also teamed with Cinelli to produce a number of high-end models manufactured in Italy. During the company's heyday they sold a full range of models, from entry level to professional quality. Lotus bicycles probably reached their pinnacle of sport at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, where Chris Boardman set a new world record in the 4000m pursuit, while riding a monocoque frame, known as the Lotus 108.

Those Lotus monocoque frames now sell for more than $10,000. But for the rest of us the basic steel framed Lotus models remain a good buy. I did not notice a model name on this one, and obviously it is not completely built out. I was especially taken by the color scheme - that redish gold color is not uniform throughout, you can see it in the photo below. Notice the top tube is slightly lighter than the seat tube, stays or even the lug. I am not sure it that is original, or if it is a patina effect. Whatever it is, it is quite attractive. Want more Lotus information, there is a cool website here. I spotted this one at the Velo, World's Smallest Bikeshop, here in Claremont. Not sure how Dale will end up building this one up, but I will try to get a photo before someone comes along a snaps it up - they will have to be tall though, only riders over six foot will do.

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