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Hethel’s Bells: Lotus Engineering x HOPE Olympic Pursuit Bike

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

COVID-19 messed with a lot of events this year, including the Olympic Games, scheduled for July and August 2020. The Great Britain Cycling Team had big plans for these games, riding on a new collaboration between Lotus Engineering and Hope Technology.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

Lotus Engineering is the consultancy arm of Lotus Cars and has been involved in projects as diverse as aerospace, medical research, furniture and boat-building. It has also made a significant impression on the field of bicycle design.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

The Lotus 108 monocoque pursuit bike made a spectacular debut under Chris Boardman, who won gold upon it in the 4km individual pursuit at the 1992 Summer Olympics — the first British cycling medal at the Games in 72 years.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

British component manufacturer Hope Technology also has a history of exceptional engineering that can be traced back to 1985, when ex-Rolls Royce Aerospace engineers Ian Weatherill and Simon Sharp wanted more performance from their disc brakes.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

Both Group Lotus and Hope are based in The North, albeit on opposite sides of the country — Lotus in Hethel, Norfolk and Hope in Lancashire — but the 250-odd mile distance didn’t prevent a spectacular collaboration.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

Lotus’s cars are admired for their aerodynamics. In fact, the factory is based on the former RAF Hethel airbase. The new frame, which takes Mike Burrows‘ original design for the Lotus 108 as inspiration, also incorporates boundary layer theory.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

Rather than simply designing an aerodynamic bike, Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist at Lotus, took a more holistic approach and developed a bike that made the rider more aerodynamic and vice versa.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

The frame is an unconventional design, which may put off a few purists, but the idea is purely scientific. Richard explains: “The geometry of the forks and handlebars lower the drag of the rider, which in turn lowers the drag of the frame.”

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bikes

The new Lotus Evija electric hypercar features a similar logic. He continues, “In some ways, it’s a similar concept to how riders position themselves in a team pursuit race – so one behind the other and very close – to benefit each other.”

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

“Careful alignment of individual elements of the bike and the rider cause the drag of the two together to be lower than the sum of the individual parts. As far as track cycling goes, I believe it’s man and machine in perfect harmony.”

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike

Convention be damned. We here at Cycle EXIF admire its revolutionary stance and wish Lotus, Hope and the GB Cycling Team the best of British at the Games, which have been postponed until 2021.

Lotus Engineering | Facebook | Instagram
Hope Technology | Facebook | Instagram

Big thanks to Rupert Fowler for the photography and, if you want to see an awesome video about the bike’s evolution, watch the clip here.

Hethel's Bells: Lotus x HOPE Olympic Track Bike