December 19th, 2019 by Jo Borrás
Hope Bicycle Technology (HB.T) recently announced the launch of an all-new, high-speed pursuit weapon that, it hopes, will give UK cyclists a competitive edge at the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. To make sure they’ve put their best foot forward, they’ve partnered with one of the most storied names in racing and engineering alike: Lotus.
And, if the idea of a Formula 1 works team and exotic supercar maker like Lotus designing a bicycle seems like a stretch — consider that this isn’t the first time that this has happened!
Back in 1992, at the Barcelona Summer Olympics games, the Lotus Engineering–developed LotusSport Type 108 Pursuit Bike helped UK cyclist Chris Boardman win the 4000m pursuit in epic fashion. Boardman caught World Champion Jens Lehmann in the final — something that never happens at that level of competition — and set a new world record of 4 minutes 24.496 seconds in the process.
That Type 108 bicycle became a legendary, iconic sort of thing in the cycling, motorsport, and design communities. It had a unique look, offset wheels, and a few other slick bits that made it more efficient, faster, and better than anything else it turned a wheel against. The only real drawback to the Lotus Type 108, if it could even be called a drawback, was that you really couldn’t get your hands on one unless you were an Olympic cyclist.
This time around, Lotus and Hope have fixed that problem. You can definitely buy this HB.T … assuming you have the money, that is!
LOTUS HB.T | A NEW HOPE
The HB.T itself is composed of advanced carbon fiber composites and features a host of 3D-printed parts. And, while specific details like chassis measurements and long explanations about the design concepts involved in the HB.T’s construction are notably absent from Hope’s press release, there are things to be learned from the photos that have been released.
“The airfoil profiles and overall layout of the main triangle looks straightforward enough, but the fork and seatstays display some novel thought,” writes Cycling Tips editor James Huang. He adds that, “aerodynamicists have long tried to figure out how to deal with the interaction between spinning wheels and nearby static structures, and in this case, Lotus seems to have decided that the best solution is to just move them as far away as possible so that they can do their work in less turbulent air.”
There’s a similar “get it out of the way” design philosophy at play throughout the bike, it seems. The front forks are well away from the wheel, for example, and feature a razor-thin, aerofoil design that may serve to route air into (or out of) more turbulent areas in a bid to gain an advantage there.
The amount of wind-tunnel time and go-fast expertise that went into this new Lotus bicycle must be staggering — and it is a genuinely impressive bit of engineering. (I’m probably just a sucker for anything that says Lotus on it, though — you know?)
Check out the official photo gallery from Hope, below, along with their official press release. Then, let us know what you think of Great Britain’s chances of a 1992 repeat in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
LOTUS HOPE HB.T | PHOTO GALLERY
Hope Technology and Lotus Engineering have unveiled their exciting cycling collaboration – an innovative new track bike designed to help the Great Britain Cycling Team (GBCT) achieve their best possible performances in the hunt for medals at next summer’s Olympic Games.
The bike will be on display later this week at London’s Rouleur Classic event and make its competitive debut with the Great Britain Cycling Team in Minsk this weekend. Riders have been testing the bike in secret over recent weeks, and will continue their evaluation with a view to riding it at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Hope has been designing, creating, manufacturing and testing innovative components for bikes at its Lancashire HQ for 30 years. Countless British bikes and riders have benefitted from Hope products and today the business exports around half of its output. After years of success in racing, it has recently moved into making complete, ready‐to‐ride bikes.
To create the frame and wheels, Hope developed a revolutionary manufacturing process that enables them to reduce the weight of the wheels, therefore resetting the stiffness‐versus‐weight balance usually found in disc wheels.
This move into carbon fibre design and manufacture came at a perfect time for Hope with the opportunity to develop the frame, named HB.T and the revolutionary wheels. It allowed them to take the initial aero concepts worked on by the English Institute of Sport and progress them further alongside Lotus into a potential race‐winning bike, available to anyone to purchase.
The collaboration between Hope and Lotus to produce the bike has been supported by Renishaw, the global engineering technologies company, which has contributed its 3D printing expertise throughout the development process.
LOTUS HOPE BICYCLE KEY FEATURES
The unique design of the bike followed the changing of UCI rules to allow forks and seat stays to be up to 8cm wide, means that producing a bike as light as those seen at the highest level has been a real challenge, but one to which Hope and Lotus have risen.
Lotus and Hope are proud of the quality of construction and wanted the opportunity to show it off. So there is no paint, no filler, no touch up.
Design Turn Around
Everything about this bike is new – there has been no carry over of stress analysis, composite lay‐up or component fitting. Access to Renishaw and Hope’s engineering and manufacturing expertise has allowed a speedy production process.
Consultation with British Cycling
The bike has been developed in partnership with experienced riders from the GBCT with the aim of trying to get a ‘right‐first‐time’ feel and fit‐for‐purpose track bike that the team will use.
Ian Weatherill, Managing Director, Hope Technology, said: “We have created the frame using high modulus composites with fabric woven in UK, the in‐house team has unrivalled engineering expertise with 30 years of composite experience and two Olympics behind them. Together we have refined the manufacturing method to make a superior product.”
Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive consultancy division of Group Lotus, best known globally for its iconic British performance cars. Its innovation and expertise has been seen in many sectors of industrial design, from aerospace and medical research to furniture and boat‐building.
Lotus Engineering has designed the front forks and handlebars for the new bike, working with Hope to integrate these components into the overall package. This has included a full programme of wind tunnel evaluation on both bike and rider, plus testing to minimise the weight while maximising the strength. Lotus has also worked on improving stiffness and front end feel to boost rider confidence.
To qualify to be ridden at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the bike’s design must be approved by the UCI and it must be ridden during the 2019/2020 Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup series by the Great Britain Cycling Team before the end of 2019. It means the bike will be ridden by British Cycling athletes at the Minsk‐Arena velodrome, Belarus this weekend (1st ‐3rd November). UK cycling fans will be able to see it in action on home ground for the first time at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow, the following weekend (8th‐10th November).