Lotus working on second generation of Olympic gold medal winning British Cycling bike

UK automotive engineering giant is joined by hi-spec engineering firm Renishaw

British Cycling 10mm pitch chain
(Image credit: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)

Renowned UK car engineer Lotus Engineering is working on an updated version of the radical bike design that British riders rode to seven medals in velodrome at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The new bike is set to be homologated, as is required by the UCI regulations, over the course of 2023.

It will be produced in association with high-end engineering specialist Renishaw.

British Cycling was not forthcoming on how the bike will be different saying only it will “reduce drag” compared to the previous model, the Lotus x Hope HB.T.

The design may possibly benefit from the wind tunnel that the governing body has at it’s Manchester base. The tunnel, which was formerly the Boardman Performance Centre tunnel, came into operation in late 2022 and has already been used for testing riders on the British squad.

Great Britain Cycling Team performance director, Stephen Park, said: “Over the last Olympic cycle, we have developed fantastic relationships with Renishaw and Lotus, working collaboratively to bring together world-leading expertise from their teams into our programme.

“This, combined with our in-house team who are constantly working to find the most innovative solutions, such as optimising rider race positions in our newly opened wind tunnel, gives our riders the best possible chance when they get to the start line. 

“Having brought back seven track medals from Tokyo, we are excited to see what we can go on to achieve together as we work towards further refining our bike.” 

Britain won three golds, three silvers and one bronze in the velodrome in Tokyo.

The wide legged design was intended to put the forks and seat stays in line with the turbulent air around the rider’s legs as a way of reducing drag.

Matt Windle, group vice-president and managing director of Lotus Cars, said: “ Being involved in the development of such a high-performance machine, and having riders win so many medals riding it on a global elite sporting stage like the Olympics is fantastic.” 

The current iteration of the bike is often referred to as the Hope bike given the British manufacturing brand’s logo adorns the downtube but British Cycling made no mention of the British cycling brand in its announcement of the new bike.

Lotus has a long history with fast track bikes - the car company built the iconic Mike Burrows designed Lotus Type 108 ridden to individual pursuit gold at the 1992 Olympics by Great Britain's Chris Boardman.

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.