Elite 600

"The ELITE 600 is a superior high-performance bicycle that incorporates the best elements of Super Sport technology at a "Best Buy" price."
                                                            ~~ 1987 Catalog Quote ~~

1987 Lotus Elite 600 in Aquamarine Blue

The Elite 600 was a completely new bicycle for 1987 and shared frame geometry with the 1987 Lotus Legend; although unlike the Legend, the Elite 600 used vertical drop outs, Tange #2 tubing, and conventional seat stay attachment. Not counting the aluminum frame Lotus Esprit, the Elite 600 was one model underneath the Legend in the steel frame Super Sport Triathlon Series hierarchy; Legend, Esprit, Elite 600, Leger, Classique and Unique.

The Elite 600 is the steel-framed version of the aluminum Lotus Esprit and they are equipped almost identically. They were even both available in the same colors, "Coral" and "Aquamarine Blue"; however, the Esprit did not share the same two-tone black painted head and seat tube as the Elite 600.

Except in name, this bicycle is not related to the earlier Lotus Elite (VST-1) or the Elite Grand Prix.

The Elite 600 was designed and named for the use of the Shimano 600 EX SIS group and featured a Shimano Biopace crank, 13-24 freewheel and Araya SS-40 rims with 700 x 20c 125 psi Panaracer tires.

Lotus anticipated that the bike would be a popular model because of the price point and the component group, so it was available in nine sizes from 44 to 63 cm (approx. 17.25 to 25.25 inches). The 44 to 48 cm frames were fitted with Araya 20A 24 inch front wheels which eliminated the need for sloping the top tube while allowing it to be shortened to a length appropriate for most shorter women and men. In addition, the smaller frames were equipped with Dia Compe AGC Junior size levers for smaller hands.

The Elite 600 photo below was kindly contributed by a reader of VintageLOTUSbicycles , it shows the smallest size Elite 600 frame available, 44 cm, with the 24 inch front wheel. If you mouseover the image you can view an aluminum 48 cm (19 inch) Lotus Esprit with a 700c front wheel.  Both images are the same scale and aligned through the center of the crank and rear axle.  The standover height of the Elite 600 in the photo is 27.25 inches.  It's this kind of dedication to bicycle design that makes us such fans of Lotus Bicycles.


Lotus occasionally named their bicycles based on the component groups. Previously, in 1986, Lotus had designed the Lotus Cyclone for the Suntour Cyclone group and the 1987 Lotus Prestige was named for the then new Tange Prestige tubing. The Lotus Elan 75 was named for the Sugino 75 group used on that model bicycle. The Lotus Design Cinelli Triomphe and Record were named for the Campagnolo components used on those models.
1987 Catalog Photo Elite 600 in Coral
1987 Lotus Elite 600
1987 Lotus Elite 600
Frame Details Pump peg on head tube, chain peg hanger, recessed brake bolts, bottom bracket cable guides, lost wax seat lug, two sets water bottle bosses, micro adjusting screws on rear drop outs, top tube cable guides, shift lever bosses on downtube
Frame Tubing    Tange #2 Double Butted Headset Shimano 600EX
Fork Tange Chrome Moly with Engraved Crown Handlebar LOTUS Engraved Kusuki Aero-Indented Alloy
Colors Aquamarine Blue, Coral Stem Kusuki S-Win Singma Alloy
Frame Sizes 44, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63 cm Brakes Shimano 600EX
Crank                 Shimano 600EX Biopace Seatpost SR CT-P5 Alloy
Pedals Shimano 600EX Saddle Vetta Anatomic Black, Ladies Size Available*
Shift Levers Shimano 600EX w/S.I.S Rims Araya SS-40 700c *
Front erailleur   Shimano 600EX Hubs Shimano 600EX
Rear Derailleur Shimano 600EX w/S.I.S Spokes 14 Guage Stainless Steel
Freewheel Shimano 600EX 13-24 6 cogs Silver Tires Panaracer Technova 700 x 20c Skin 125psi
Chain Shimano Ultraglide Silver/Black Weight 22.5 lbs. for 54cm
Notes *44-48 cm bikes used Araya 20A rims, front being 24" x 1", ladies Vetta Anatomic saddle available on these sizes.
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