Legend Compe

1984 Legend Compe

"There is nothing  stronger or lighter with the refined handling characteristics and features of the Legend
*Also available with full racing frame and gearing, and tubular wheels"

~~ 1983 Lotus Catalog ~~

"If you are serious about racing, this is the lightest, best performing racing machine you can buy."

~~ 1984 Lotus Catalog ~~ 

The Lotus Legend Compe was made for only two years, in 1983 and 1984 and complimented the already popular Lotus sport bike, the Lotus Legend and was designed to be an entry-level professional racing machine.

The Legend Compe frame and fork was constructed from Columbus SL or SP Tubing. 50-58 cm frames used SL tubing and the larger 60-64 cm frames used the slightly heavier SP tubing for added strength.

While the Legend Compe frames were similar to the Lotus Legend frames, the Compe frame used tighter racing geometry and did not have threaded eyelets on the fork or rear dropouts, commonly used for racks or fenders. 

Lotus advertised the Legend Compe as "a racing model with 39.5 inch wheelbase and racing dropouts".

The 1983 and 1984 Legend Compe models were equipped with two significantly different component packages, but used a similar frame.  The 1983 Legend Compe model used the same components as the sport Legend with only minor modifications.  The 1983 Legend Compe came equipped with a narrow range racing freewheel (13-21) and a short cage version of the Suntour Cyclone II rear derailleur.  The Legend Compe also came equipped with either Ukai or Araya tubular rims and 240 gram Soyo sew up tires.

The Lotus Racing Series  for 1983 included:
  • The new for 1983 entry-level racing bike, the Lotus Legend Compe with an eclectic mix of Sugino, Suntour, Dia Compe, SR, and KKT parts.
  • The mid-level Suntour Superbe-Pro equipped Lotus Competition 
  • The deluxe Shimano Dura-Ace EX equipped Lotus Supreme
  • The top-of-the-line Shimano Dura-Ace AX equipped aerodynamic Lotus Super Pro, now available in Raspberry Pink as well as Metallic Gold
The marketing for the 1983 Legend Compe was very limited, there was no catalog photo or catalog page devoted to the model.  The Legend Compe was merely an asterisk addition to the Lotus Legend page.  The name Legend Compe wasn't even used in the advertising at the time. The Legend Compe was merely advertised in the small print as the "racing" version of the "sport" Legend. (See specification sheet scan below).

1983 Lotus Legend and Legend Compe Spec SheetThe 1983 Legend/Legend Compe was the first traditionally styled Lotus bicycle to use aero brake cables hidden under the handlebar tape. (The 1981 Super Pro Aero was the first, of course). Features found on the 1983 model, shown below in Oxide Green, were full-wrap seat stays and Edwardian Legend Compe script decals on the top tube, styling cues borrowed from the first-generation Legend along with the half-chromed stays and fork. 1983 models utiliize the Suntour top mounted shifter assembly on the down tube.

The 1983 Legend Compe  is much more difficult to find than the 1984 version.

The 1983 Legend Compe was available in the same colors as the Legend: Navy Blue, Oxide Green, and Gold Champagne. 

The 1983 Legend Compe, shown below, while actually in excellent original condition with very low miles, has a replacement set of clincher wheels. 

Almost every 1983 Legend Compe we have seen has had aftermarket clincher rims installed, a common modification on any Lotus bike originally equipped with tubular tires. If you have a original 1983 Legend Compe with Ukai or Araya tubular rims installed, we'd love to talk to you about it. Please send us an email.
Hello Tim,

This is me racing my Oxide Green 1983 Lotus Legend Compe at the Boston Road Club Sunday Criterium Series, probably a "B" race.  I actually won several of these races on the Lotus.  Usually I rode near the front and had a pretty good sprint, but one day I was lazy and rode in the rear and became enveloped in the pack. A squirrelly rider didn't hold his line, lunged over and smacked my front wheel with his back and I went down in a tangle of bikes and riders.  My poor Lotus received a dent in the top tube and some other scrapes but held up otherwise.  I still carry a scar on my elbow from that crash.

Although I'm not sure what the make of the wheel was (like everyone else, I eventually swapped them out for a more practical clincher) it was definitely tubular and had a very bright chrome-like polish, that was one of the features that sold me - like a bass going for a shiny fishing lure!

I bought the Legend Compe as a budget racing machine because it has Columbus tubing and it was vastly cheaper than the Colnagos and Masis other guys were racing in the Boston Road Club.

Damn You!  I am now obsessed with this! My brain's 1983 drawer is dusty and full of cobwebs! It's funny that this is 'vintage'.  Did I get old while I wasn't looking?   ~~ Chris Sammartano ~~

Thanks for the note and the cool photos Chris!

We're looking for more vintage photos of Lotus bikes taken in the 1980s, if you are reading this and would like to have you and your vintage photo featured on this website, please contact us!  

Mouseover the photo below to see a close up of Chris' 1983 Legend Compe.

1984 Lotus Legend Compe

1984 models are also built with Columbus SL or SP tubing with the addition of a LOTUS logo engraved on the fork crown and LOTUS engraved seat stay caps at the seat lug.  The shifters have also been moved to brazed-on bosses on the sides of the down tube and the frames now use Campagnolo rear drop outs. The 1984 Legend Compe models use a gold outlined block style Legend decal on the top tube.

The Legend Compe in 1984 used traditional, non-aero, brake cable routing.

1984 Legend Compe models were offered with Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport group with Nuovo Record derailleurs. Components other than the Campagnolo gruppo were made by Japanese manufacturers, probably in an effort to offer a Campagnolo gruppo equipped bike at an affordable price. We have confirmation that the 1984 Legend Compe rode on Araya Red model tubular rims.

The 1984 sport Legend components are very different from the Campagnolo equipped 1984 Legend Compe.

It is our understanding that the Campagnolo Legend Compe models were imported in "one shipment only" and were not available for re-order by the Lotus dealers.  When the inventory was sold they were gone.

The 1984 Legend Compe was now part of the "Team Lotus Racing Series" which included:

  • The inexpensive training/track/messenger bike, the Lotus Sprint, made in Taiwan by Pacific Cycles. The Sprint was the only Team Lotus Racing Series  model to use clincher rims and tires.
  • The entry-level Lotus Legend Compe equipped with the Campagnolo Gran Sport groupo with Nuovo Record derailleurs and Araya Red model tubular rims.
  • The mid-level Lotus Competition equipped with the Campagnolo Nuovo Record groupo and Araya 16B Super Hard black anodized tubular rims.
  • The top-of-the-line Lotus Supreme equipped with the Campagnolo Super Record groupo and Araya 16B Super Hard black anodized tubular rims. 
  • The Lotus Super Pro was discontinued and not available in 1984. 
The Legend Compe was only available as 1983 and 1984 models, but the 1984 Campagnolo models were available as unsold back stock possibly into 1985-86. 

For more information on the 1984 Lotus Legend Compe, be sure to check out Jeff Groman's fresh-out-of-the-box example on our Featured Bicycles page. 

The photo below shows an Campagnolo Equipped 1984 Legend Compe in Silver-Champagne. The bicycle still sports the original Kashimax-Lotus saddle and OGK Lotus water bottle.  The original tubular wheels have been replaced with clinchers and the leather bar wrap is an owner upgrade.1984 Legend Compe

1983 Lotus Legend Compe
Racing Series

Frame Details Fork and stays reinforced, top tube cable guides, bottom bracket cable guides, brazed on bottle bosses, single brazed on shifter boss on top of down tube, full-wrap seat stays at seat lug, 1/2 chrome chain stays and seat stays, 1/2 chrome fork blades, recessed brake bolts, chain peg, Suntour forged rear dropouts.
Frame Tubing Columbus Double Butted Cro-Mo, SL on 50-58 cm,  SP on 60-64 cm Headset Shimano 600 EX
Fork Columbus Tubing, Forged Semi-Sloping Crown w/ Cut-Outs, 1/2 chrome blades, reinforced Handlebar SR Custom alloy w/ cotton tape
Colors Gold Champagne, Navy Blue, Oxide Green Stem SR Apex, forged alloy
Frame Sizes 50-64 cm Brakes Dia Compe Gran Compe Aero w/Slotted Aero Levers
Crank Sugino Super Mighty Comp w/ drilled chainrings 42-52 Seatpost SR Laprade CT-P5 fluted
Pedals KKT Pro Vic w/ clips and straps Saddle Kashimax Super-Pro
Shift Levers Suntour Cyclone II Braze-On Top Mount Rims Ukai or Araya Red tubular
Front Derailleur Suntour Cyclone II Hubs Suntour Sealed Bearing QR front and rear
Rear Derailleur Suntour Cyclone II short cage Spokes
Freewheel Suntour Winner 13-21 Tires 240 gram Soyo sew-ups
Chain Suntour Ultra 6 Weight 22 lbs.
Notes Included Lotus water bottle and alloy cage.

1984 Lotus Legend Compe
Team Lotus Racing Series

Frame Details Fork and stays reinforced, top tube cable guides, bottom bracket cable guides, brazed on bottle bosses, brazed on shifter bosses on down tube, full-wrap seat stays at seat lug w/ LOTUS engraving, 1/2 chrome chain stays and seat stays, 1/2 chrome fork blades, recessed brake bolts, chain peg, recessed seat biinder bolt. Campagnolo forged rear dropouts.
Frame Tubing Columbus Double Butted Cro-Mo,
 SL on 50-58 cm, SP on 60-64 cm
Headset Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport
Fork Columbus Tubing, Forged Semi-Sloping Crown w/ Cut-Outs and LOTUS engraving, 1/2 Chrome Blades, Reinforced Handlebar  SR Custom
Colors Oxide Green, Silver-Champagne Stem  SR Apex
Frame Sizes 50-64 cm Brakes Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport
Crank Campagnolo Nouvo Gran Sport 42-52 Seatpost Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport
Pedals Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport w/ toe clips and straps Saddle Kashimax w/ Lotus Nameplate
Shift Levers Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport Rims Araya Red 16B tubular
Front Derailleur Campagnolo Nuovo Record Hubs Campagnolo Nuovo Gran Sport
Rear Derailleur Campagnolo Nuovo Record Spokes
Freewheel Suntour New Winner Ultra 13-21 Tires Soyo 240 gram sew-ups
Chain Suntour Weight 21 pounds
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