Challenger & Challenger Mixte

"The most noteworthy model in the group is the $215 Lotus Challenger."
"We Judged it a Best Buy."
~~  Consumer Reports, November 1985 ~~

Those words probably help explain the popularity of the Lotus Challenger, as it's still one of the more available models you'll find for sale today, and for $215 back in the day it was a heck of a good bike. 

Since it's introduction, circa 1984, the Challenger has evolved through at least three series of improvements and modifications.

The Challenger SX is an upgraded model that was sold for some years along side the Challenger.  It's a different bicycle with many improvements over the standard Challenger.

The photos above are first-series Challengers, introduced by 1984-85. There is no Challenger model shown in any of our Lotus sales information through the 1983 models. It was this style Challenger that was pictured and rated "Best Buy" in the November 1985 issue of Consumer Reports. You can see the ratings here. 
Tange Hi-Tensile Fork Decal
Note the following:

  • Gold outline block LOTUS logo on the down tube
  • Tange Champion decal on the seat tube
  • Tange Hi-Tensile fork
  • Solid color frame without contrasting head tube 
  • CHALLENGER model name on forward top tube
  • The only LOTUS decal on the seat tube is the outline lotus flower
  • Note chain guard on crank.

  • The mouseover photo below shows the second generation Challenger, circa 1986.Tange Hi.Ten. Forks Decal

    Note the following:

  • Stylized LOTUS logo with lotus flower on the down tube.
  • Frame tubing now Tange 900 or 1000 depending on frame size 
  • Hi.-Ten. fork
  • Frame color with contrasting head tube paint
  • CHALLENGER model name on rear of top tube
  • Note chain guard on crank.

  • The bicycle shown below is the third series Challenger and was introduced in 1987. 
    Tange Cromalite 503 Fork Decal
    Note the following:

  • Stylized LOTUS logo with lotus flower on the down tube
  • Frame tubing Tange 900 or 1000 depending on frame size
  • Tange Cromalite 503 fork 
  • Frame is all one color, no contrasting head tube. 
  • CHALLENGER on rear of top tube, "Sport Series" script on forward top tube.
  • Cranks now come without chain guard.  

  • Mouseover the image below to switch between the third and second series Challengers, the bikes shown have some changes from stock components but for the most part are representative of their models.
    The "Crystal Black" Lotus Challenger pictured above is a nice example of a third generation, circa 1987, Lotus Challenger.  With the exception if the saddle, which was originally Viscount, and the stem shifters moved to the downtube, the bike looks mostly  original. 1987 Challengers came equipped with foam handlebar grips. The component chart below shows the original equipment specifications.  Next model up is the Lotus Challenger SX , or if the Challenger is more bike than you need, take a look at the Lotus International
    1987 Lotus Challenger
    Sport Series
    Frame Details Bottom bracket cable guides, water bottle bosses, top tube cable guides, shift lever cable guides on downtube.
    Frame Tubing Tange 900/1000 Double Butted Chrome Moly Headset Tange MA-60
    Fork Chromalite Handlebar Alloy Ferrule, foam grips
    Colors Coral, GM gray, Pearl Blue, Crystal Black Stem Delta Alloy
    Frame Sizes 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 inches
    19, 21 inches Mixte
    Brakes Dia Compe 500N Alloy Sidepull
    Dia Compe 164 Alloy Levers with QR and Extensions
    Crank SR SAC-310 Alloy 42-52 Seatpost Stainless Steel
    Pedals NH-610 Rattrap  Saddle Viscount 2200 Anatomic Black, Ladies Saddle for Mixte 
    Shift Levers Shimano S401, Z-Series, Stem Mount Rims Araya SP-30 27"x1 1/4" Alloy 36 Holes
    Front Derailleur Shimano AX-50 Hubs Suzue Sealed Tech Small Flange, QR Front
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Z501 Spokes 14 Guage Chrome Plated
    Freewheel Shimano Z012, 14-28, 6 cogs Tires 27"x 1 1/8 Gum Wall 100psi
    Chain DID Black Weight 27 lbs. for 21"
    Website Builder