Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MOUNTAIN BIKE COLLECTION

ROAD BIKE COLLECTION

Colby Pearce’s 1995 Hour Record Lotus

THE STORY

"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.

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."

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."

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.

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.

If ever there was a bike that epitomized the saying, 'looks fast standing still', this would be it"

-James Huang // Bike Radar

BUILD SPEC

1995 Lotus Sport 110 Colby Pierce TT Bike TPC Museum Build Spec

More from MTB Collection

More from Road Collection

Otis Guy’s 1978 Breezer Series 1 #2.81

1980 Ritchey “Pre Serial #”

1982 Breezer Series III #32

1982 Salsa Scoboni #5

1982 Sweetheart Cycles Moto Cruiser

1983 Breezer Series III #43

1983 Ritchey “Faux Lugs” Competition

1983 Cunningham Indian #29

1983 Mantis Sherpa

1984 Moots Mountaineer

1985 Ibis Custom

1985 Velocitech Mountain Machine

1985 Mountain Goat Camoflage Deluxe

1985 Salsa Ala Carte

1985 Steve Potts Limited Edition

1985 Fisher Competition

1986 Ibis Trials Pro

1986 Ross Signature Team

1987 WTB Team Trek

1987 Klein Pinnacle “Kleiningham”

1987 Steve Potts Signature

Hank Barlow’s 1988 Merlin Ti

1988 Mongoose Tomac Signature

1988 Cunningham Racer #22C

1988 Mountain Goat Dinoflage Deluxe

Chris Herting’s 1988 Yeti FRO

1989 Mantis XCR

1989 Otis Guy Braunstein Quay Art of the MTB

1989 Salsa Titanium Prototype Ala Carte

1989 Doug Bradbury Manitou

1990 Mountain Goat Yuppie Deluxe

1990 Mantis Valkyrie

1990 Doug Bradbury Manitou Mountain Bike

1990 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

1990 Koga-Miyata Ridgerunner Alloy

Juli Furtado’s 1990 Yeti FRO

Juli Furtado’s 1990 Yeti C-26

Juli Furtado’s 1991 Yeti ARC

1991 Doug Bradbury Manitou Mountain Bike

1991 Yeti Tree Frog #2

Greg Herbold’s Titanium Miyata

1991 Yeti Ultimate

Travis Brown’s 1991 Manitou FS

1991 Klein Dolomite Attitude

1992 Yeti Campagnolo Ultimate

1992 Specialized Epic Ultimate

Ned Overend’s 1992 Specialized M2

1992 Team Issued Slingshot

1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

1992 Clark-Kent Fat Bike

1992 Klein Gossamer Attitude

1993 Klein Team Storm Adroit

Tinker Juarez’s 1993 Team Storm Klein

Missy Giove’s 1993 Yeti ARC ASLT

1993 Raleigh Tomac Signature

1994 Merlin Newsboy

1994 Yeti ARC

Kurt Stockton’s 1995 Kamikazi Rubicon

Myles Rockwell’s 1998 Cannondale Fulcrum

Yeti C-26 – 20th Anniversary Special

Travis Brown’s 2000 Sydney Olympics Trek

Myles Rockwell’s 2000 Giant ATX One

Travis Brown’s 2004 Marathon Trek

Travis Brown’s 2007 Trek 69er