Challenger SX & Challenger Mixte SX

Challenger SXIn 1986-87 the Lotus Challenger SX was the deluxe version of Lotus' popular Challenger.  In reality,
 they share so little componentry in common that the Challenger SX could have easily carried a totally different model name.  Many components on the Challenger SX are a step up from those found on the standard Challenger, we consider them two different bikes that share frame and fork tubing, rims ('86), and a few other minor component similarities. We've made a comparison chart at the bottom of the page here.

Lotus rarely introduced a new model by adding a suffix to an currently existing model name. The Legend/Legend Compe and the Challenger/Challenger SX were the exceptions.  In 1985, Consumer Reports rated the Challenger as a "Best Buy" in their November issue.  Given the tremendous name recognition, we're sure it made sense to continue using the Challenger name and offer an additional model as the upgraded Challenger SX. Now the consumer, with magazine in hand, had not one Challenger to choose from, but two.

In our opinion, what really happened, was the now famous first-generation 1984-85 Challenger, was re-named the Challenger SX for 1986 and the NEW model was actually the non-SX Challenger.  We base that on the quality of the frame and forged drop outs used on the 1984-85 Challenger now found on the 1986 Challenger SX.  The 1986 Challenger used stamped steel drop outs putting it in the same frame class as the entry-level 1986 Lotus International.

In 1987 the Challenger SX cost $329.95
(msrp), $70.00 more than the Challenger.

You can view the Consumer Reports Magazine ratings for the 1985 Challenger here

1986 Challenger SX Mixte in Raspberry

Rear Drop Out StylesThe photo above shows the 1986 Challenger SX Mixte in Raspberry Pink an exclusive color on the Challenger Mixte and Challenger SX Mixte for '86. Navy Blue was also available.

The photo at right shows the forged drop out with integrated derailleur hanger and axle adjusting screw as found on the Challenger SX. If you mouseover the image you will see the stamped steel rear drop out as found on the Challenger.

1986 Challenger SX models can be easily identified by the contrasting head tube, Hi-Ten fork decals, 27-inch wheels and tires, and pentagon shaped wheel reflectors. 

The 1986 Challenger SX was part of the Lotus
Sport/Touring  Recreational Series that included the Excelle, Challenger SX, Challenger, and International. These were also the only Lotus models available in a Mixte frame for 1986.

The photo below shows an '86 Challenger SX in Navy. Other colors available were Silver Champagne and Burgundy. Foam grips were standard equipment on the Challenger models for 1986-87.
1986 Challenger SX in Navy

In 1987 The Sport/Touring Recreational Series was renamed The Recreational
Sport Series, which now included the Excelle, Challenger SX, Challenger, International and Special. Those models now carried a Sport Series decal on the top tube or seat stay, depending on the year and model. 

1987 models can be identified by their single color paint scheme, Cromalite fork decals, Sport Series script decals, 700c wheels and tires, and LOTUS engraved handlebars and headset.

The 1987 Pearl Green bike in the photo below is equipped exactly as shown in the 1987 Lotus Catalog, right down to the Vetta saddle and foam grips on the handlebars. Different color brake lever hoods were used depending on the color of the bike, the Champagne color is shown with gum hoods in the catalog. 
 The Electric Blue Challenger SX Mixte Shown here below has white brake lever hoods.
1987 Lotus Challenger in Pearl Green

Shown below, 1987 Challenger SX Mixte in Electric Blue.  There were no exclusive Mixte colors in 1987. The Mixte also shared the Champagne and Pearl Green color with the diamond frame models.
1987 Challenger SX Mixte in Electric Blue
1987 Challenger SX in Champagne Silver

1986 Lotus Challenger and Challenger SX 
Sport/Touring Recrational Series 
Frame Details Top tube cable guides, water bottle bosses, bottom bracket cable guides, chain peg hanger, stamped rear drop outs
SX add: Under bottom bracket cable guides, micro adjusting screws on rear forged drop outs, shift lever cable guides on downtube.
Frame Tubing Tange 900/1000 Double Butted Chrome Moly Headset SX: Tange Steel
Fork Hi-Ten Steel Handlebar SR, steel
Colors Ice Blue, Black, New Metallic Red
Mixte: Ice Blue, Raspberry Pink
Silver Champagne, Navy, Burgundy
Mixte: Navy Blue, Raspberry
Stem SR alloy
Frame Sizes 19, 21, 23, 25, 27
19, 21 inches, Mixte
18, 20, 22, 24, 26 inches
18, 20 inches, Mixte
Brakes Shimano Z-570 alloy sidepull w/ extensions, front QR
 Shimano Z-570 alloy sidepull w/ extensions, both QR
Crank Sugino FE-RB allow w/ steel rings
SR SAC-310 forged alloy 42-52
Seatpost Stainless Steel
SR  Alloy ASP
Pedals KKT RT-E2 platform
 SR SP-154 alloy quill
Saddle Vetta Anatomic, black
Shift Levers Suntour UB-10 Stem Mount
Shimano Z401 Stem Mount
Rims Ukai alloy 27 x 1-1/4
Front Derailleur Suntour AR
 Shimano Z202 Z-Series
Hubs Suzue Sealed Tech Small Flange, front QR
Suzue Sealed Tech Small Flange, both QR
Rear Derailleur Suntour AR 
 Shimano Z501GS
Spokes 14 Guage Chrome Plated
Freewheel Suntour, 14-28, black 
 Shimano Z012, 14-30, black  
Tires IRC Hi Center Ridge
 Panaracer 27 x 1 1/8 Skin 
Chain DID, black 
Shimano Uniglide, black
Weight 26.5 lbs.
26 lbs.
1987 Lotus Challenger SX 
Sport Series
Frame Details Bottom bracket cable guides, water bottle bosses, micro adjusting screws on rear forged drop outs, top tube cable guides, shift lever cable guides on downtube.
Frame Tubing Tange 900/1000 Double Butted Chrome Moly Headset Tange UQ-7 Sealed, Color Coordinated, LOTUS Inscribed
Fork Chromalite Handlebar LOTUS Engraved Kusuki Alloy, Foam Grips
Colors Champagne, Electric Blue, Pearl Green Stem Kusuki S-Win Alloy
Frame Sizes 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 inches
18, 20 inches Mixte
Brakes Shimano Z-570 (105 Model?) Alloy Sidepull
Shimano Z-325B (105 Model?) Levers with QR and Extensions
Crank Sugino VP 130 Alloy 42-52 Seatpost SR  Alloy ASP
Pedals MKS-CR-2 Alloy Quill  Saddle Vetta Anatomic Black, Ladies Size Available
Shift Levers Shimano S431, Z-Series, Stem Mount S.I.S. Rims Araya SP-30 700c Alloy 36 Holes
Front Derailleur Shimano Z202 Z-Series Hubs Sanshin Sealed Tech Small Flange, QR
Rear Derailleur Shimano L532, Light Action series, S.I.S.  Spokes 14 Guage Chrome Plated
Freewheel Shimano Z012, 14-28, 6 cogs  Tires Panaracer 700 x 28c Skin 100psi
Chain DID Black  Weight 26 lbs. for 20" 
Website Builder