As Lotus enthusiasts and collectors, we all dream of finding that bicycle time-capsule, one that was ridden around the block once and put away in storage, long forgotten but perfectly preserved.
This 1984 Lotus Eclair is one of those rare finds.
Randy, the proud owner from Minnesota, tells the story:
" The bike was purchased new by a young woman in 1984 with the intent of joining her boyfriend for a long bicycle trip, within a couple of weeks the couple split, and the bike was never ridden again.
A young man eventually purchased the bike from her a few years ago, it had been hanging in a garage unused and out of the way so there were no dings or scratches or scrapes. He also hung it in the garage at his parent’s home, intending to sell it some day because the frame is too small for him.
This bike is in showroom new out of the box condition and this is no exaggeration. He told me the bike was ridden just a couple of times and has no more than 50 miles on it."
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The beautiful Burgundy color of the 1984 Lotus Eclair was new to that model for 1984. Note the LOTUS engraved seat stay caps and the perfect condition of the Tange Mangaloy 2001 decal.
If you mouseover the image, you can see the front fork detail with the nicely engraved Lotus flower on the fork crown and the Tange Mangaloy decal on the fork blade. It was not uncommon for Lotus to mix and match frame and fork materials, depending on their designs. In this case, the frame and fork materials do match. Also visible in the photo is the brazed-on boss for the front cantilever brakes.
Cantilever brakes deliver more stopping power than conventional center or side pull calipers, helpful on a loaded touring bicycle.
The photo below shows the Shimano Deore shifters and the new-for-1984 block-style font for the ECLAIR decal. 1983 models carried the scripted Edwardian font from the 1980-82 model.
Note the black painted head tube and gold detailing around the lugs.
The second-generation Lotus Eclair featured braze-ons for the rear rack, rear Dia-Compe cantilever brakes, and rear brake cable support. The horizontal bridge just above the rear tire could be used for mounting a rear fender. The front fork was also drilled for fender mounting.
This well-preserved Eclair is still sporting the original IRC Super HP 27 x 11
tires and the original alloy rack.
1983 Eclairs came equipped with a conventional front alloy rack, but the 1984 models were fitted with fork blade braze-on fittings for low-mounted racks. We are not certain if front racks were included on the 1984 models.
The second-generation Eclair was equipped with a 40-spoke rear wheel for extra strength. The front wheel was spoked at 36.
Lotus chose the Shimano Deore drivetrain for the second-generation Eclairs, with it's oversize pedal mounting/crank arm threads. Some people objected to this design because of the lack of pedal interchangeability. It's not uncommon to find the second-generation Eclair missing it's original Deore crank and pedals. Functionally, the Deore crank and pedal is a well designed system in spite of the lack of standardized pedal threads.
Also shown in the photo below is the original equipment water bottle cages with their Nylon bases. We recommend shelving those cages if you intend on carrying full bottles, to prevent breakage of the aged plastic.
One of the most frequently missing or replaced items on a vintage Lotus are the original brake lever hoods, so it's quite rare to find a bike with the vintage hoods still intact. This photo serves as a good reference for what the original hoods looked like.
The Dia-Compe cantilever brakes have the quick-release integrated into the brake lever as shown by the riveted plate. The plate can be pivoted to the side to allow extra slack in the brake cable, this provides clearance for the tire to pass the brake pads during wheel removal. The drilled levers are particularly attractive and on a touring bicycle are enjoyed for providing a better grip in wet weather.
The photo below shows the Sunshine GYROmaster front hub clearly marked "83", designating the year it was made. Many bicycles are built with parts a year or more older than the actual model year, so a 1983 hub on a 1984 bicycle would not be unusual.
1983 Eclairs came with cloth handlebar tape, but Lotus did install foam grips on some of their bicycles, so the grips on this example could be original.
The Shimano Uniglide chain and freewheel with Shimano Deore rear derailleur in this photograph are exceptionally clean, indicative of a low-mileage bicycle.
Notice the extra eyelet on the rear dropout for fender, or other accessory mounting. The spoke protector and reflector are also of the original style.
The photo below is the SR (Sakae) Custom Road Champion alloy handlebar, a common and durable model found on many early Lotus bicycles.
"The bike is 52cm frame and absolutely original as you will see from the photos. There was no pump or front rack, photographed as received after a cleaning.
Serial # is SUO1108
Your website was very helpful in helping me decide to purchase this bike, thanks for your efforts."
~~ Randy from Minnesota ~~
You're welcome Randy, our pleasure.
All photographs courtesy of Randy from Minnesota, edited by VintageLOTUSbicycles.com