A handsome Pearlized Coral Esprit on Dayton, Ohio’s craigslist. The seller suggests Do a bit of research and you’ll find that Lotus is a high end Japanese bike that has a great reputation and a fantastic ride.” This is an aluminum frame and chrome-moly fork, so the ride will be different from a fully steel frame. I’ve never ridden a Lotus aluminum bike, but I’m curious to experience the difference. 

I’ve seen Esprit’s with black anodized and untreated rims. Obviously, this one has untreated wheels, though not sure if they are the original set or not. The saddle and pedals are not Lotus specified but I see a bunch of Shimano 600EX components, as should be there. Asking $200.

A late model Classique on Chicago’s craigslist. This is a 1988 era Lotus, as indicated by the odd clusters of stickers, including the multicolor, block Classique badge, the run/bike/swim (triathlon) icons near the headtube, and the Lotus Design USA badge near the bottom bracket. I don’t love the busy appearance of all these items, especially because they are clearly stickers slapped on above the clear coat, not true decals. Though that makes them easier to remove, if you so choose. I do like the white/magenta fade. This version has some oxidation/light rust issues but all the proper Shimano 105 SIS components are in place. Seller describes the bike as cleaned, waxed, tuned up, and ready to ride. Asking $350.

A minty ‘82 Classique in Cleveland, OH. At first glance this one holds true to the listing, which says: "Bike was ridden once or twice in 82, then stored. All Shimano equipped." Yes, mostly. I believe this bike was barely used then stored, but it appears that before it left the dealer, the brake levers and calipers were changed out, a water bottle cage and pump added, and the saddle modified. Seller shows the owner’s manual and Tusnoda/Lotus booklet that came with the bike. The detail pics of those pamphlets list the specifications as Shimano 600EX components, including the brakes. I noticed the brakes/levers are black, something I have not seen on any early model Lotus. These brakes are center pull, either DiaCompe or Shimano, I can’t tell which. Still a handsome early model Classique. Asking a $675. 

I’m more interested in Tusnoda/Lotus book. What’s in there? I did notice an interesting detail from the booklet-the model number. This is a VS-5 Classique. I’ve not seen or noticed this numeric distinction and would like to know more.

Two Lotus Eclairs. The white one is on Philadelphia, PA’s craigslist. Overall, it appears to be in good shape. This listing describes a bunch of new stuff, including hub bearings, tires, chain, freewheel, brake shoes, bar wrap, and brake housing. Amendments to the front derailleur and crankset are also noted. It’s not a stock ride but presumably it functions well. Asking $400.

The second is on ebay and is also listed at $400 ($399.95, pickup only). Obviously it’s a wee size frame (19inch). There is obvious wear, age, and some oxidation, but all the original parts are there. The saddle is the exception-I can’t tell if it’s covered or a replacement-probably the latter.

Both are 1984 models, and the frame sizes are totally different, but still, they make for an interesting comparison considering the matched price point. Grungy/original or clean/refurbished? Dunno.

Peter submitted his two-tone 1988 Excelle last week. After reconditioning and cleanup, the bike is up for grabs on Madison, Wisconsin’s craigslist. His ad describes the bike as 99% original, with the saddle and front tire replaced. I’m uncertain about the crank as original. Shimano BioPace is what I’ve seen on other Excelle’s of the same generation. I don’t recognize the profile of this one. 

In our email exchanges, Peter mentioned a bit of his bicycling history, including: racing in Northbrook, IL on the velodrome; a lot of road races; owning three Paramounts (which sadly have gone their way); and managing a Raleigh store in Hoffman Estates Illinois. One can assume this Lotus has been professionally tuned. Asking $300. Local pick-up only.

A couple of Excelles on ebay. The 1984 mixte came and went quickly, and for good reason. This model is in very good condition, with most of it’s original components. The MKS pedals were replaced with some type of clip pedals and that saddle is not Kashimax. Some of the detail pics showed the decals are chipped and grungy, but the paint shines. Personally, I would prefer the 1983 version, which came with the lovely Arabesque 600EX components, rather than the plain 600EX of the following generation. Great bike in a great color. I can’t tell if the bike sold for $198.00 or if that was the highest bid before the listing was pulled, presumably because a great offer was delivered. 

The other Excelle is an ‘87. This one is still available, with a Buy It Now price of $350 OBO. It’s in good condition with all original components including the Panaracer 700C tires. The bar tape needs replacing and it needs a good cleaning, but that’s not awful. The listing describes an ‘86 bike, but the components match the ‘87 stats. Another example of Lotus transitioning from one year to another. It’s not worth $350 plus $111 to ship, but it’s worth making an offer and going to pick it up.

BTW: both of these bikes were in New Jersey. In my experience, Ohio is number one, but New Jersey is a close second for finding used Lotus bicycles. 

Submission: Hi. I recently purchased this Classique on CL and was able to talk it down to 200. I was wondering if you could be able to give me some information about this particular bike. I believe everything is original except the tires and the converted Suntour bar-end shifters. Some information about the year, generation, steel material, value, and maybe it’s “ranking” in the lotus line would be very interesting to me. The bike had a bunch of attachments on it, and because they converted the shifters, It makes me believe the previous owner took care of this bike very well. The serial number starts with MHC——, but i think the C might just be a Zero punched incorrectly.

Thank you for reading this and ill be looking forward to your reply!

John

You are the proud owner of a 1980/81 Lotus Classique. The clamp-on water bottle and missing seat tube decals are important to dating early model Lotus. 1980 was the first year Lotus produced bikes, after that, every bike came with braze-on’s for attaching water bottles and they made more durable decals. Though the metal head badge is indicative of later Classique models, so your bike might be transitional, bridging 1980/81 years, especially based on the serial number you give.

Your bike has gone through some changes, but that does not detract from it’s niceness. Lotus never did bar end shifters, so that feature is a definite customization. Additionally, the aero brake levers and platform pedals were not standard on that model, but as long as they serve your bicycling needs, then they are perfect. The Classique was in the middle of Lotus’ ranking-it was not the fanciest bike they produced, nor was it the cheapest. Based on the serial number, your bike probably was built using Tange Champion tubing-nice double butted stuff-and constructed by Tsunoda in Japan.

You have a totally solid, well made frame, with a mix of old and new components. Congratulations, enjoy your Lotus, and thanks for your submission!

I’m pretty psyched about this one. My 1986 Unique next to a 1986 Legend, both in Pearl Coral. I photographed this Legend last winter and I know where it lives. By chance, I was in the same neighborhood today and it was locked to the same fence. Side by side, the extra chrome on the Legend really does give it a fancy appearance. Unfortunately, the outdoor storage is beginning to take a toll on the paint-but that just means more chrome to behold. The third bike on the left was a Schwinn of some sort. The high saddle low stem vs low saddle high stem setups make for an interesting comparison.

There have been plenty of great bikes as of late, but I’ve been on a summer break. Of course I’ve been watching, just not writing. Perhaps after the holiday…

Another small framed Lotus. This one is a fourth generation Cyclone. It’s got some scrapes and scratches but all the original Suntour Cyclone components appear to be in place. Seller says the tires and chain were recently replaced-appears the bar tape was too. The Washington, DC asking price is $240. It’s a little pricy, but not outrageously so. If it’s the right frame size, then negotiate down to $200 and enjoy the ride.

There’s a shiny, black Lotus Grand Prix mixte in Providence, RI. And it’s cheap too: $100! A fine example of an early model, low end Lotus. Still, the black paint looks handsome, the Lotus decal has a sweet patina, and you’re going to get a solid, totally cool bike for a great price. The listing says: Must be seen and rode very clean 1st to see will buy call rich…”

There are two craigslist ads on New York City’s craigslist that belong to the same seller. He/she has two Lotus bikes: a Dura Ace equipped Supreme and a second generation Excelle. There are a bunch of pics in each listing-in some instances both bikes are pictured, in others each bike is solo. The Supreme does not have a price, just a prompt to make a reasonable offer. I suppose it’s not such a bad tactic. As the Excelle is listed at $350, that should give you a sense of what the seller is expecting. Of the Excelle: The bike speaks for itself, I ride it often.” And the Surpreme: After straightening the wheels and brakes, this bike rides like silk.”

I’m fairly certain this unnamed Lotus on Seattle’s craigslist is a Competition. My guess is based on the chromed lugs at the headtube, the minimal amount of chrome on the chain/seat stays, the chromed fork crown, and the color. The listing only describes an early ‘80’s Lotus road bike and that the frame is a tiny 51cm. Also mentions it’s very light weight. It’s hard to tell what is left of the original components. The Suntour clamp on shift levers are not original, but they do confirm it’s a very early (1980) frame.

A Columbus tubing Supreme in Portland, ME. I just about pooped myself when I saw the word combo of Lotus Supreme and Portland, as I had just come from Oregon. But upon further reading and inspection, I came to realize this bike is on the East Coast and has been majorly modified in a way that does not interest me. Nothing, except the frame, is original. It appears to be setup for light touring and is described as such. Which is odd considering the frame is built for racing. I wonder how the short wheelbase works as a touring bike. The craigslist post describes all the components in detail. Asking $450.

The Dayton, Ohio craigslisting says: Wanted to become a cyclist and it didn’t happen. I road this bike 4 times…then it was stored in the garage. 15 speed 2 water bottles and toe clips. $350.00 or best offer.”

His/her loss, someones gain. The title of the post is Lotus 7000 series, but in reality this is a Leger. The 7000 comes from the type of aluminum used for the frame, but anyone who knows what this is will be able to translate. It does look to be in great shape, and even though the pics are low res, the Lotus branded straps should be enough to indicate it’s overall condition. I also appreciate the detail shot that shows the rear derailleur and dropout-the aluminum looks so chunky.

I was in Portland, Oregon for four days and did not see a single Lotus. I was very disappointed, considering Portland is such a bike intensive city. But seeing this Lotus Prestige listed on ebay is consolation. This is the first “real life” Prestige I have ever seen, and I will say it was worth the wait. Named after the Tange Prestige tubing the bike is build with and topped off with beautiful faded paint, this is a stunning example of Lotus’ late model racing bikes. The detailing is similar to the Elan 75. I love the plain (no Lotus logo) chrome fork crown and seat stay tips. There are a ton of high res pics in the listing, and I repurpose a bunch here. Since I’ve not encountered one of these before, I have a hard time confirming what’s original and what has been replaced. According to Tim’s Prestige page, the bike should be outfitted completely in Dura Ace. In this example, only the front derailleur, headset, and stem are Dura Ace, so one can safely presume the 600EX components are not original. Which is weird-why downgrade? The wheels are definitely updated: the Hoshi headless aero spokes and Durex anodized aero rims are really cool but not something Lotus would have done. Some people on Velobase suggest those spokes are not so durable-FYI. And those MKS double sided pedals are totally out of place. Still, it’s a handsome cycle. 

There is a starting bid of $300 and $136.34 worth of shipping. Will update… As of 9/10/2014, this bike has been stripped down to the frameset, stem, bars, and front derailleur. The relisted price is now $500 obo and the shipping is down to $50.64. There has been one offer. I’m uncertain as to how I feel about this. The 600EX component group are now available as their own item, if you choose to put it all back together again. I don’t see the wheels though. Will update again…

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