Saturday, June 4, 2011

Biking - Trying out the new Lotus Excelle

No, it's not a new spreadsheet. :-)

Today I wanted to take the new old Lotus Excelle that I rescued from the trash for a test ride. I found a web site dedicated to vintage Lotus bikes, and determined that this one dates to about 1987. That makes it 14 years newer than the old Gitane 10-speed I've been riding. It's also about 8-10 pounds lighter, has 14 speeds, and has indexed shifting. Definitely worth a try to see if I want to keep it.

First I had to swap out the Look pedals for some toe-strap pedals so I could at least ride it. Then came the issue of how to carry a spare tube, wallet, keys, etc. I picked up a cheap under-seat bag to cover that problem, and I was off to the bike path for a test drive. Remembering too late that I'd left the pump at home, I kept this one short, not wanting to be stranded.

It turned out that the frame size is wrong for me, but not by much. I think it's a 23", and I really need a 25". I raised the seat as far as I dared, and it's close to being OK. It's got a 53/39 crankset, and a fairly small cluster in the rear, so not a hill-climber. But when I gave it a kick, it definitely jumped. This would be a fun bike for relatively short flat rides where I don't need to carry anything. And great for an SWC Thursday evening hammer-fest, with the right route.

It needs a few things, pedals and bottle cage for starters, but I think I'll probably keep it! That's 4 operable bikes now in the stable.

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