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£20,000, track inspired. electric road bike – GravelBikes.Online


01 November 2023

Said to harness excellence in design and engineering, is this the most high-tech bike on the market?

Words: Rachel Jary

Photos: Lotus

Lotus is synonymous with success in track cycling. While it may have turned heads, and had its critics, the distinctive and unique Lotus/Hope track bike responded with medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with Great Britain topping the cycling medals table aboard the ‘attractive machine. Lotus’ history in the velodrome dates back to the iconic Type 108 bike at the 1992 Barcelona Games, and the company has consistently been at the forefront of innovation ever since, unafraid to think outside the box. Unveiled today and shown at GravelBikes.Online Live 2023, the new Type 136 is perhaps the British marque’s most notable launch to date.

The Type 136 is described by Lotus as a track-inspired, electrified performance road bike. It features the same attractive geometry in the lightweight carbon fiber frame seen on the Hope/Lotus track bike, with wide, flared fork legs and equally wide, flat seatstays, which Lotus says comes from a desire to consider the two pilots and the bicycle as a single unit. The Type 136 also features V-shaped handlebars, wing-shaped forks and wraparound braces that Lotus says help it “cut through the air with speed and efficiency.”

Amazingly, considering the Type 136 features a High Performance System (HPS) e-bike motor, a fully built bike weighs just 9.8kg. Lotus says the “Watt Assist Pro Motor system” is derived from the Mars Lander project, where limited weight and zero maintenance were critical factors for mission success. Lotus says it’s the lightest HPS e-bike motor system on the market, weighing just 1.2kg in total. The motor is designed to sit elegantly at the bottom of the down tube that enters the bottom bracket; at first glance it’s hard to even tell it’s there, it barely affects the bike’s aesthetics. Lotus says the actual engine weighs just 300g, meaning such a light system won’t affect the Type 136’s handling.

Check out this bike at GravelBikes.Online Live 2023

The cleverly designed battery placement also gives the bike a distinctly non-e-bike feel. Lotus has disguised the battery as a water bottle and it can be detached from the frame with the push of a button. This easy removal and installation aims to make the bike easy to use with or without motor assistance depending on the rider’s requirements for a particular day, Lotus describes it as ‘dual use functionality’ .

This groundbreaking innovation inevitably comes at a price, with the Type 136 bike retailing for £20,000. Lotus has launched an exclusive launch production run of the first limited edition of 136 individually numbered bikes with a unique livery inspired by Lotus motorsports, while the standard model will go on sale in spring 2024.

Six-time Olympic champion and Lotus bike ambassador Chris Hoy explained in a press release that Lotus has rewritten the track bike design rulebook since launching the Lotus 108, inspiring a generation of cyclists from clue.

“This is an incredible bike, which speaks volumes for the pioneering efforts of Lotus and the iconic status of its bikes over the years,” Hoy said of the Type 136 model. “As a teenager I vividly remember watching Chris Boardman feed the Type. 108 to a gold medal in Barcelona in 1992 and breaking records with the Type 110 to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France two years later.”

The launch of an electric bike aligns with Lotus’ moves into the automotive industry, with the brand also launching a range of electric cars with the Eletre, Emeya and Evija.

Feng Qingfeng, CEO of Lotus Group, commented: “I am proud to launch the Lotus Type 136 as the next chapter in our high-performance journey. For the past 75 years, Lotus has been relentlessly pushing the boundaries of innovation on the road and track. The Type 136 shows that we keep doing it. Launched alongside Eletre, Emeya and Evija, it will further expand the global perception of what to expect from Lotus.”

For more information on the Type 136 bike, visit the Lotus website.

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