Tokyo 2020: Lotus back for another tilt at Olympic glory

Boardman riding to victory in 1992 on the original Lotus bike Credit: PA Images

It was a sporting icon which dominated the back pages almost as much as the man who rode it.

The Lotus Bike took Chris Boardman to Olympic Glory in Barcelona back in 1992. The ground breaking design - drawn up by legendary Norfolk bike designer Mike Burrows - was developed by the engineering expertise of the Hethel-based car company.

Boardman used the Lotus 108 track bike in the track pursuit to win the first British Olympic track cycling medal since 1920. His success arguably inspiring the start of British dominance in Olympic track cycling.

Now, the company are back with a new design for a new generation of cyclists.

The new Lotus bike has been developed with cycling firm Hope. Credit: Lotus

The company have released a new film which shows how members of the TeamGB cycling squad - which will include Laura Kenny - have reacted to the new machine.

One of the riders hoping to pedal it to the top of the podium is Katie Archibald. The 2016 Olympic champion, says it was exciting to see it.

Jack Carlin hopes that it will provide one of the famous marginal gains which could make all the difference in pursuit of gold.

Like its famous predecessor - which underwent aerodynamic testing similar to that emplyed by Formula One teams - the new Lotus bike is all about efficiency.

The company says:

"The design is based on optimising the aerodynamics of the bike and the rider; the position of the forks means they’re directly in front of the rider’s knees, helping air to flow around the rider. The seat stays at the rear of the bike, also wider than usual, assist with the reattachment of that air to create the best possible profile for the bike and rider together."

Richard Hill is the chief aerodynamicist for Lotus and worked with Chris Boardman on the Type 108. He also developed the Type 110, which Boardman rode to victory in 1994’s Tour de France prologue time trial.

"Back then it was simply about developing an aerodynamic bike that would go fast. But really there are two separate elements – the bike and the rider – which come together as one to move through the air.

Laura Kenny with the bike she'll ride in Tokyo Credit: ITV News

Other developments include lightweight handlebars as well as using the latest 3D printed technology. Its been created in partnership with cycling components firm Hope Technology and engineering company Renishaw.

The Lotus Type 108 is held by the Science Museum in London, if Tokyo 2020 goes to plan - the latest model could be set to join it.

More on the build-up to Tokyo 2020