1980 Lotus Compatition value?
Submitted question: Hi, I have a red Lotus Competition that I bought in 1983, and apparently it’s a 1980 bike. I bought it new (I was the first owner) and it’s in great shape. It’s been stored inside all these years, and ridden very little. Maybe 1,000 miles total.
I’m curious to know what it might be worth. With the exception of a replacement set of sew ups, bar wraps, and newer (20 years ago) brake grips, it’s completely original and fully functional.
I’d like to know value and would appreciate any help.
A: Stan-My stock answer to your question: It’s worth what someone is willing to pay for it. That being said, the Competition is an upper echelon bike, and as you describe it, the condition is very good. Having not seen it, I would say $200 to $600. If the bike is the right size and condition, someone might be willing to pay more for it. The fact it has the original wheels is unusual-most racing bikes of that era have had the sew ups exchanged for clinchers. That detail could be seen as a bonus or disadvantage by a potential buyer. Personally, I would love to see some photos, and perhaps other Lotus lover would too…
Here is the other New Jersey Lotus for sale at the moment (maybe): a similarly updated Legend Compe. It’s also on ebay as well. As the CL listing currently states, this bike has been reduced in price to encourage buyers-now at $499. I do recall it being listed at a higher price, but don’t remember the exact starting value. As I’m writing, I went to ebay to compare pricing, and that listing says “bidding has ended on this item”, so perhaps it is already sold. The listing text was cut and pasted the Legend Compe page on Vintage Lotus Bicycle’s website. I call plagiarism! Nice bike though.
New Jersey is bustin’ with Lotus bikes for sale. This early model Legend is on North Jersey’s craigslist-seller is asking $250 and the trainer is NOT included. There are minor changes to an otherwise choice bike. Obviously (or not so obvious), the yellow/grey/black camo bar tape is a recent addition; as is the Vetta saddle and seat post. The detail pics prove it retains the Shimano 600 Arabesque drivetrain and braking components. This bike shines.
A submitted Lotus Supreme from Paul in Florida. Here is a preview of what he says will be posted on craigslist tomorrow: The bike is all original and in EXCELLENT condition. It still has all the original components including the pump. Asking $500. Thanks for taking the time to post this for me-I appreciate the assist. The bike is located in Melbourne, Florida. Buyer pays for shipping. Those who are interested in the bike can call me on my cell at 321 536-7886. My ad will be available on craigslist (Florida space coast) tomorrow. Thanks again!
I spy updated rims and a saddle that is not Kashimax specific. Still, there’s a lot about this bike to love.
A truly handsome, freakin’ mint 1984 Unique on Chicago/Northwest Indiana’s craigslist. Hooowee! The tires have been updated, otherwise, everything else is stock and in great condition. Even the cotton bar wrap is there and looking good, Suntour Blue Line derailleurs (rear is a GT model), SR crank, Lotus branded Kashimax Anatomic Super saddle, and original water bottle cage. The color is fantastic, and even in the detailed images, the paint looks to be in great shape. A fair amount of chrome and fancy details to please just about anyone. Seller is asking $295.
A submission from roadsweeper: Hiya, just wanted to share pics of that 1984 Unique frame I picked up on CL a couple weeks ago. Missing parts have now been added and it’s back on the road. Rides like a dream. I replaced some of the parts incorrectly. They’re temporary until I find proper Sun Tour Blue Line components.
I’m amazed this rebuild transpired so quickly-the warm Spring weather is a great motivator. I like the bike as is-some old, some new. Regardless of how the bike evolves, congratulations on a great acquisition!
jallenhoward-bespoke asked: I just found a 1980 Lotus Eclair that I'd like to refurbish/restore. can you tell me what type/size bottom bracket it has?
Congratulations on your acquisition-sounds like a great find! The short answer to your question: I don’t know. My semi-informed, extended answer: a Shimano 600EX or Sugino bottom bracket. In 1980, for its first year of production, Lotus was still figuring out its line-up, so many of the bikes it sold that year were of mixed component sets. The 1980 Eclair’s combination of Shimano and Suntour drivetrain had been narrowed to just Shimano 600EX by 1981. For your bike, the chance is good that the crankset and bottom bracket were from different manufactures. That being said, your restoration is much more attentive than any mass produced item, so by staying true to the era and country of manufacture (early ‘80’s/Japan), you will come up with an excellent solution. I say match the crankset to the bottom bracket-go Shimano 600EX. Regarding size: if there a BB installed right now, use that as a gauge for length. (I assume you are asking about length). Your choices will be limited because you are sourcing vintage parts. Hopefully, this info helps. Please send pics of the competed restoration!
Paraphrased exchange from BikeForums:
Question: I have an unidentified year-probably 1985-Lotus Supreme. It has fork and rear Campagnolo dropouts and cable guides. I’ve been fiddling with it (it was setup as a horrible fixed gear when i picked it up) and noticed the steer tube says “TANGE” “MADE IN JAPAN” and has the Columbus dove logo stamped on it also. Aren’t these two different types of tubing? Why would they both appear on the same bike/fork? The [bike’s] main tubes are and fork blades are Columbus as they have the original stickers.
Answer: That’s a new one! Are there five rifling splines as you’d expect with a Columbus steerer? If so, I’d guess that the “TANGE” is just to note who made the fork, not who made the steerer or the blades. Take the front wheel off, and peer into the open steerer tube of the fork (from the bottom). It should have some ridges in it; it’ll look like the gun barrel out of a James Bond flick. Tange and Ishiwata would build sub-assemblies out of whatever tubing the customer specified. We (Trek) had Reynolds 531 forks and rear triangles built by Ishiwata for use on the 600 series models. The sub-assemblies were brazed in Japan and shipped unpainted to Waterloo, WI, where they were mated with frames, painted, and assembled.
Conclusion: So the “TANGE” “MADE IN JAPAN” is just a reference to who assembled the fork/frame and not the material used? Makes sense-it is a Japanese bike after all.
Another submission, this one also has a great backstory:
This is a curbside rescue from a garage sell last summer. I saw a (circa 1988) Lotus Classique sitting by the trash can and asked about it. The seller said “take it - it is out for the trash as it hasn’t sold.” I cleaned it up a bit, added new bar tape, pedals, new brake hoods, and had to run new cabling. The rims, stem, shifters, brakes, etc are original. Looks nice for a “free to good home” find.
You won’t need an airconditioner this summer-you will be out riding this lovely bike. Totally worth the trade! Thanks for the submission.
I just got this Supreme off Craigslist in Madison for $500 (well, an air conditioner plus $250). I think it’s a great deal, but even if you don’t, it’s worth it for me! Here is what the ad says:
Made by Tsunoda Japan
*Champion No. 1 chrome molyboen steel butted tube frame
*19.5 inches/49.5 cm for rider 5’4”-5’7”
*Tange Industries LTD
Complete vintage 12 speed Dura-Ace EX package
*Dura-Ace front & rear derailleurs
*Dura-Ace crank set w/ bottom bracket
*Dura-Ace seat post and headset
*Dura-Ace hubs & wheels
*Dura-Ace front and rear brake assemblies
*Dura-Ace clip-on pedals
*New Bontrager women’s race saddle (white w/ tribal design)
*New gel bar tape (white)
* New brake/derailleur cable housing (white)
*New brake/shifter cables
*Newer Continental 700 x 23
Bicycle was fully disassembled and all parts thoroughly cleaned, lubed, and regreased. Mechanic owned bicycle, so no bolt or adjustment went unnoticed. Bike comes with lifetime guarantee on the mechanics: I will repair any and all mechanical issues at no cost.
A handsomely documented and reblogged Lotus Legend Compe from moronorio:
As of posting time, this early model Legend is still on Las Vegas’s craigslist. Many detail pics on the listing show this Lotus retains many of its original components including: Shimano 600 Arabesque drivetrain and brakes, Kashimax saddle. Additionally, a bunch of add-ons (computer, oddly placed pump, u-lock). The wheels are mismatched-I’m not certain about the front, but the rear anodized is a definitely a replacement. Love the color and the knobby tires. Needs a good cleaning but worth $250 in my opinion. Oh yeah, fix that slack chain.
More pairs of bikes. The craigslist listing has been deleted in the time it took me to post this; not surprisingly, it’s a great bike at an amazing price. $208 for a fourth generation 1986 Legend with tons of chrome, including the fast-back and fork. The listing shows custom built Wheelsmith wheels and Shimano 600 components. It’s a small frame (20 inch) but a fantastic bike overall. Congratulations to the new owner.