Lotus Sport 110

Nearly two decades old but still blazing fast

Words by James Huang, Bike Radar // Photos by The Pro’s Closet

Colby Pearce Lotus  Sport 110 Hour

Cycling’s governing body enacted the Lugano Charter in 2000 – a wide-reaching document with far-limiting technical guidelines that forever changed the course of road bike development. Those rules were first drafted in 1996, though, and one could easily argue that one of the inspirations for those restrictions was Lotus Sport’s iconic 108 and 110. Even two decades later, it’s still one of the fastest shapes around.

The mid-1990s were the equivalent of the US Wild West in terms of bike development. ‘Anything goes’ was the predominant attitude of the time as there were essentially no rules dictating what a bike could be – or what it could look like – when it came to making them go faster.

The track-specific Lotus Sport 108 – and the only slightly less radical road-capable 110 model that followed – took full advantage of the design freedoms of that time, casting aside the traditional double-diamond frame layout entirely for one whose primary goal was cheating the wind. So-called ‘Z frames’ presented fewer impediments for oncoming air by omitting the down tube and seat stays while the use of then-revolutionary monocoque carbon fiber construction allowed the remaining structure to be outrageously shaped to further reduce drag.

The end result wasn’t particularly light as compared to more traditional designs but given the application and the flat courses the Lotus was intended to see, it mattered more that the shape was fast.

Colby Pearce Lotus  Sport 110 Hour      Colby Pearce Lotus  Sport 110 Hour Record

This particular example belongs to former pro rider Colby Pearce, a self-professed “TT dork” who used it to set the US hour record in 1995 with a distance of 50.191km.

“[The Lotus Sport 110] eventually came out and this bike was the shit,” said Pearce. “I had the means to get one so I just threw down and bought it – at full retail. This bike is brilliant if you think about it. It’s really only breaking the wind twice. It was way ahead of its time.”

Colby Pearce Lotus Sport 110 Hour Record

As it turns out, the Lotus Sport 110 is still a wickedly fast design even as compared to the best aero road frames currently on the market. Although it’s tough to do a direct apples-to-apples comparison given how much the associated componentry has changed in the past decades, wind tunnel testing proves just how much the Lugano Charter has changed the direction of the equipment.

“We have all come a long way as far as optimizing the tube shapes and positioning them, as well as streamlining all the components,” said aero guru Jim Felt, who has put more bikes through the wind tunnel than many of us have even seen. “Today if you are just comparing the UCI-legal framesets directly against the Lotus frameset I have found every time that the Lotus outshines 99 percent of them. My hat’s off to Mike Burrows and the Lotus team for making such an amazing bike of its time.”

Colby Pierece Lotus TT Bike-10

Today, Pearce is now a coach, bike fitter, and a member of Garmin-Sharp’s sports science division and his Lotus Sport 110 is built up more as a display for an upcoming museum at Pro’s Closet in Boulder, Colorado. Back in 1995 on that Colorado Springs velodrome, though, Pearce had his 110 set up quite differently.

The Russian-made 666 tensioned Kevlar rear disc wheel saw duty that day but otherwise missing from the current setup are his Scott 100k handlebars, Vetta TT saddle, HED ‘Deep’ front wheel, and one of the earliest SRM power meters. Those power meters used wired setups in those days and Pearce says he routed the wire internally using the vestigial internal front derailleur path – a tedious process that he says took him about seven hours.

Colby Pearce Lotus Sport 110      Colby Pearce Lotus Sport 110

As shown here, it weighs 8.35kg (18.41lb).

One can only imagine how bike development would have been different had the UCI not instituted the Lugano Charter in 2000. Freed from the restrictions of history and tradition, what would modern superbikes look like today? We can unfortunately only wonder but even nearly twenty years later, the Lotus Sport 110 at least gives us a glimpse of what might have been.

Colby Pearce Lotus  Sport 110 Hour      Colby Pearce Lotus  Sport 110 Hour

If ever there was a bike that epitomized the saying, ‘looks fast standing still’, this would be it.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: 1996 Lotus Sport 110
  • Fork: Lotus Sport
  • Headset: American Classic, custom modified
  • Stem: Look Ergostem
  • Handlebars: Custom Vision integrated aerobar, 37cm (c-c)
  • Tape/grips: n/a
  • Cog: Shimano Dura-Ace 14T
  • Chain: Sachs Sedis
  • Crankset: Mavic 631, 53T
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace BB-7410
  • Pedals: n/a
  • Front wheel: HED 3 with custom carbon fiber tubular rim
  • Rear wheel: 666
  • Front tire: Tufo S3 Pro tubular, 21mm
  • Rear tire: Vittoria Triathlon CS Pro tubular, 21mm
  • Saddle: fi’zi:k Arione CX k:ium
  • Seatpost: Lotus Sport integrated
  • Weight: 8.35kg (18.41lb, without pedals)

1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo

MTB legend Juli Furtado’s first sponsored race bike

Words by James Huang, Bike Radar // Photos by The Pro’s Closet

1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo

Juli Furtado hasn’t raced this steel Yeti FRO in 25 years but if you cock your ears just right, you can almost still hear the roar of the crowd.

Juli Furtado’s professional mountain bike career may have spanned just five years but what a five years it was. She was the world champion in 1990, she won three UCI World Cup overall titles, and scored an unprecedented twelve straight World Cup wins before she was diagnosed with lupus in 1997. While her racing days are now long over, her 1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo proudly lives on.

The story of how this restoration came to be isn’t just one of chance. As a long-time resident of Yeti’s former base in Durango, Colorado, vintage mountain bike specialist Mike Wilk was painfully familiar with the tortuous route many significant Yetis have taken over time and says that he’d been actively looking for it for two years.

“I was interviewing people, looking in garages, talking to everyone I could,” he said. “I knew it was out there but just couldn’t find it. This dude popped up on one of the retro internet boards with a question about a newer [Yeti] ARC. I clicked on one of his Photobucket image links and there was a picture of a bottom bracket with the ‘J.F.!’ on it. I was like, ‘holy shit’.”

1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo      1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo

After more than a year of back-and-forth communication, Wilk and the owner were finally able to broker an amicable deal during a face-to-face meeting in Moab, Utah and then he was off to the races.

As it turned out, though, acquiring the frame itself was one of the easiest parts of the restoration. From there, Wilk not only still had to find out (with a high degree of certainty) what components were on the frame but he had to physically get them, too. Like many athletes, Furtado herself wasn’t much help, either, as she was focused much more at the time on the engine, not what she was riding.

1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo      1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo

“There was only one photo of this bike,” Wilk said. “It was really bad, and it wasn’t even a driveside photo. I knew it was Campy, and they only had two groups in the early 1990s. After I started interviewing people, I learned that she ran a mix of each component group. I talked to Tracy Wilde, who lives here in town, and she was helpful. Then I talked with Chuck Texeira, who was the Easton engineer at the time and the team mechanic at worlds. He came up with a driveside shot from his own photos and I was finally able to piece it all together.”

“The brakes were really hard to find. I got them straight from Italy from some seller who had a bunch of old Campy off-road stuff in his house. I expected to be able to just find a donor bike and pay a lot for it but I had to buy each part individually – and it was a real pain in the ass.”

Wilk finally finished the project eight months after getting the frame in hand. While many would find no small amount of pride and satisfaction in such a feat, for Wilk it’s almost a bit of a buzzkill.

1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo

“The team bikes, the real special stuff is always more rewarding than just any old bike so I’m always on the lookout. There’s so much out there that hasn’t been found. Finding the bikes is more fun for me than doing the restorations. The finished product is awesome but it’s the journey, not the destination. Honestly, it’s disappointing when it’s done.”

1990 Yeti FRO Campagnolo

Complete bike specifications     

  • Frame: 1990 Yeti FRO, custom built by Chris Herting for Juli Furtado
  • Fork: Answer Accu-Trax, 1 1/4in threaded steerer
  • Headset: Campagnolo Euclid, 1 1/4in threaded
  • Stem: Answer A-TAC, 135mm x 15° with 1 1/4in quill
  • Handlebars: Answer Hyperlite, 580mm, w/ Onza titanium bar ends
  • Grips: ODI Attack
  • Front brake: Campagnolo Euclid
  • Rear brake: Campagnolo Euclid
  • Brake levers: Campagnolo Centaur
  • Front derailleur: Campagnolo Euclid
  • Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Euclid
  • Shift levers: Campagnolo Centaur
  • Freewheel: Sachs ARIS 7-speed, 13-28T
  • Chain: Sedisport
  • Crankset: Campagnolo Euclid, 170mm, 26/36/46T
  • Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Euclid
  • Rims: Specialized GX26, 36h
  • Spokes: Wheelsmith stainless steel, 3x
  • Front tire: Specialized Ground Control, 26 x 1.95in
  • Rear tire: Specialized Ground Control Extreme, 26 x 1.95in
  • Saddle: Selle Italia Lady Turbo
  • Seatpost: Campagnolo Euclid
  • Other accessories: Blackburn Mountain bottle cages (2), custom machined seatpost collar
  • Total weight: 12.88kg (28.40lb)

 

TPC Retro Build #3: 1982 Salsa Scoboni #5

1982 Salsa Scoboni #5

Jump to Update #1

Jump to Update #2

Jump to Update #3

Jump to Update #4

Most folks here know the story of Ross Shafer, founder of Salsa, and his famed first batch of 6 bikes. Well this bike is either #5 or #6 (really doesn’t matter which one), and was featured in Dirt Rag Issue #110.

Out of Ross’s six original bikes, this one was built for Terry Holben (maker of the early Salsa decals). This frame is unique as it had the fish mouth top tube rotated 90 degrees since the top tube had been cut slightly short. We reached out to Ross to gather some details about the paint and his response about the first six bikes was: “It may be #5 since as it was in the first batch of Salsa’s I built. I’ve always remembered that first batch as being 6 bikes, but for the life of me I can’t come up with the 6 names they went to, I can only account for 5. …no matter really.”- Ross Shafer.

Lucky enough for me Terry and I are the same size so I will be restoring this bike to ride in the annual Pearl Pass ride this summer. The build starts here as I begin to source the original build parts down to the greatest detail. In the mean time, We wanted to photograph the bike exactly she sits prior to the restoration. As you can see most of the parts are not original and have been swapped out over the years.

Stay tuned!

1982 Salsa Scoboni-1

1982 Salsa Scoboni-2      1982 Salsa Scoboni-4

1982 Salsa Scoboni-5      1982 Salsa Scoboni-7

1982 Salsa Scoboni-10      1982 Salsa Scoboni-12

1982 Salsa Scoboni-13


 

Update #1

Below is the photo of the unique fish mouth top tube that was rotated 90 degrees since the top tube had been cut slightly short and a scan of this bike featured in Dirt Rag 110 in 2004.

1982 Salsa Scobini Top Tube1982 Salsa Scobini in Dirt Rag 110


 

Update #2

After a lot of research and talking with Ross Shafer himself, we are confident that this bike is Salsa #5 not #6. On Mombat’s site it says that 6 bikes were originally made however no one can confirm that there were ever 6 including Ross himself. He is confident that there are only 5 and there are 5 that are accounted for.

All the parts for this build have officially been curated and the bike should be finished being built up in the next couple weeks! In order to ride this bike on a regular basis with “period correct tires” I opted for this repop set of Panaracer Timbuk II’s available over at First Flight. Great for someone that doesn’t want to ruin their NOS snakebelly’s but wants to have a period correct look to their vintage stead. (and they even have that fresh new rubber smell)

Panaracer Timbuk II TiresShimano Uni Glide 600 Chain


 

Update #3

The bike is finally complete! Just waiting on the correct pedals and we’ll share some photos.

Interesting detail that was found during the restoration build is that some reason the whole quill bolt assembly was fabricated from scratch. The wedge is TiG welded to a long tube on the bottom, and a nut is welded to the other end of the tube. The whole assembly doesn’t save any weight over stock parts. The bolt is English 5/16 x 24 tpi.

Not sure what or why but it is definitely interesting.

quill bolt salsa scoboni


 

Update #4

The test ride!

test ride

Once we get the correct pedals, we’ll upload a full run of studio shots and complete bike specifications!