Odyssey 18- Speed

The 18-speed Odyssey is geared to take you and your luggageOdyssey Tsunoda Frame Decal
 wherever your heart would lead you. . . .  No nonsense here." 
                          ~~ Catalog Quote ~~

"The ODYSSEY  represents the top of the line in Gran Touring." 
                     ~~ 1987 Sales Literature ~~

The Odyssey . . . what a fitting name for a touring bicycle!  However, the first-generation 1980-82 Odyssey did not particularly stand out as a touring ride. One had to look close to see the triple-ring Sugino crank and a wheelbase that measured one-half inch longer than the other Lotus sport models, and a full inch more than the Lotus racing bikes, CompetitionSupreme and Super Pro.

In 1980 and 1981, if you wanted a Lotus with clincher rims, the Odyssey was the top-of-the-line model. The Competition, Supreme and Super Pro all came equipped with sew-up tires on tubular rims for racing. If you didn't care for the 18-speeds the Odyssey offered, the Lotus Legend would have logically been your next bike of choice.

We consider the first-generation Lotus Odyssey a sport/light touring bicycle because it rides on narrow 700 x 25c rims and it was not designed with the hard-core loaded touring features found on the second and third-generation Odysseys. Features like cantilever brakes, racks with brazed on mounts, 40-spoke heavy-duty 27 x 11/4 rear wheels, and multiple sets of bottle bosses. If you wanted a sport bike to enjoy around town but was till capable of carrying gear for a weekend picnic, light camping trip, or if you live in an area with a lot of hills, the first-generation Odyssey was/is the perfect choice for it's high-quality components, stable ride, and extended range gearing.

First and second-generation Odysseys share frame styling details and evolution with the Lotus Legend, like the full-wrap seat stay caps, full sloping fork crown, chromed stay ends and fork tips. The Odyssey was not Lotus' only touring ride, they also offered in some model years, the more affordable Lotus Eclair.

1980 Lotus Odyssey in IvoryEarly 1980 model Odysseys can usually be identified by their use of a head tube decal rather than a riveted Lotus badge. The seat tube band decals were easily damaged and are often missing on many of the early model Lotus bikes. Some early Lotus models do not have rear spoke protectors. 1980 Odyssey models do not have brazed on water bottle bosses.

We believe the Ivory Odyssey shown here is an early model. Note the plain seat tube, missing spoke protector, decal on the head tube, and lack of bottle bosses, all typical signs of an early 1980 model Odyssey.
Later first-generation Odyssey models, circa 1981, can be spotted by improved Mylar-type double seat tube decals, brazed on bottle bosses, rear spoke protectors, and riveted metal head tube badges.  The Odyssey and the Grand Prix were the only early Lotus bicycles to use a metal spoke guard, all of the other Lotus non-racing bicycles used a clear Shimano plastic protector. Since the Odyssey and Grand Prix used Suntour drive components, they utilized the metal Suntour guard. 

The 1981 Odyssey shown below in Pearl Orange has correct improvements for that year; bottle bosses, Mylar-type seat tube decals, riveted head tube badge, and the metal Suntour spoke guard.

1981 Lotus Odyssey in Pearl Orange 
1981 Lotus Catalog Page

By 1983 Lotus stepped up to the plate and totally re-designed their touring bicycles, elevating the Odyssey to it's rightful place at the top of their all-out gran touring models. Lotus now produced one of the finest off-the-shelf touring bikes available, even to this day.

The second-generation Lotus Odyssey saw a switch from the excellent Tange Champion tubing to the legendary Italian Columbus tubing for it's frame and fork. The Odyssey frame now came with a full compliment of brazed on fittings including rear seat stay braze ons and double eyelets for touring racks and fenders and enough brazed on fittings for two water bottles. 

The 1983 Odyssey came fully equipped for loaded touring and included alloy front and rear racks, an OGK bottle cage, LOTUS water bottle, a Primus pump, Dia-Compe cantilever brakes and 40-spoke rear/36 spoke front wheels laced to heavy duty sealed bearing Suntour hubs. 

The double seat tube decals found on the first-generation models were replaced with vertical LOTUS lettering in an outline font, matching the new style lettering on the down tube. 1983 Odyssey models continue to use a script font for the model name on the top tube and a riveted head tube badge.

The 1983 Odyssey was available in 3 colors,  Pearl Orange, Violet Blue, and Gunmetal Grey.

The photo below shows an as-found completely original 1983 Odyssey in Pearl Orange.  Note the traditional style front rack used on the 1983 models, 1984 would add fork blade braze ons for mounting a low rider rack.  The 1983 Odyssey was proudly labeled on the seat tube Hand Brazed by Tsunoda Japan. Note how the rear rack is not horizontal, yet does not look damaged. We suspect it was made this way to provide additional heel clearance for when panniers are mounted. 

1983 Lotus Odyssey in Pearl Orange
1984 Odyssey fork with crown engraving and rack mount
While the second-generation 1984 Odyssey is equipped very similar to the 1983 model there are minor differences in the construction details and the frame is no longer labeled as a Tsunoda product.  We suspect the frame was now made by a different company, possibly Maruishi. We are currently researching this information. 

1984 Odyssey models saw the addition of engraved LOTUS seat stay caps and a Lotus flower engraved fork crown. 1984 models have bosses brazed onto the fork blades for mounting low rider racks, as shown in the photo on the right. 

The Odyssey decal on the top tube is now in an outline block letter font and the head tube has a black and gold lotus flower decal. 

For some reason it appears that Lotus did not use a 40-spoke rear wheel on the 1984 Odyssey, but it would return on the later models. This information is obtained from multiple observed examples. 

The low-mileage Burgundy Odyssey pictured below was a new color for 1984. Gunmetal Grey was also available. Note the low rider front racks installed, these are original equipment and were made by Nagaoka.

1984 Lotus Odyssey in Burgundy

By 1986 the third-generation Odyssey saw another major re-design and frame tubing change, this time to Tange Double Butted Infinity.  Frame additions included a pump peg on the head tube and fully painted stays with a contrasting head tube.  

The LOTUS decal on the down tube is now the stylized version with the lotus flower as the U of the LOTUS font.
  The Odyssey decal is now on the rear of the top tube, 1987 models have an additional
Touring Series decal on the front and the shifter cables routed under the bottom bracket. Colors for the 1987 Odyssey were White and Gunmetal Grey. 

The photo below is a scan from the 1986 Lotus Catalog.  The 1986 Odyssey was available in White and Navy and came fully equipped as shown.  The 40-Spoke rear wheel returned, according to the catalog specifications.

1986 Odyssey as shown in the 1986 Catalog
1986 Lotus Odyssey in White

1980-82 Lotus Odyssey

Frame Details 1980 - Suntour forged dropouts w/ micro adjusters, top tube cable guides, bottom bracket cable guides, down tube shift lever support bracket, full wrap seat stays at seat lug, 1/2 chrome seat and chain stays.
1981 - Add brazed on bottle bosses and riveted head badge.
Frame Tubing 50-56 cm: Tange Champion #1 DB Cro-Mo 
58-63 cm: Tange Champion #2 DB Cro-Mo
Headset Shimano 600EX alloy
Fork Tange Champion, Cinelli-Type Full-Sloping Forged Crown, 1/2 Chrome blades Handlebar SR Road Champion alloy
Colors Ivory, Silver, Pearl Orange  Stem SR Royal alloy
Frame Sizes 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63 cm Brakes Shimano 600EX Arabesque
Crank Sugino Mighty Tour Triple 36-45-52 w/ Chain Guard Seatpost SR CT-P3 Custom alloy
Pedals KKT Pro Ace, KKT Clips and Straps Saddle Kashimax Super-Pro, black
Shift Levers Suntour Cyclone Rims Ukai 700 x 25c alloy
Front Derailleur Suntour Cyclone Wide Hubs Sunshine Pro Am
Rear Derailleur Suntour Cyclone GT Spokes
Freewheel Suntour Ultra 6-Speed 14-32 Tires IRC Roadlite 700 x 25c, Presta
Chain Shimano Uniglide Gold/Black or
Suntour Ultra Gold/Black
Weight 23.5 lbs.
Notes 1980 (or "early") Models have been noted to have fragile water-slide seat tube decals.
1981 (or "later") Models have been noted to have more durable Mylar-type seat tube decals.
1983-84 Lotus Odyssey

Frame Details Fork and stays reinforced, top tube cable guides, bottom bracket cable guides, four brazed on bottle bosses, full-wrap seat stays at seat lug, cantilever brake bosses, dual carrier eyelets on dropouts, down tube shifter bosses, 1/2 chrome chain stays and seat stays, 1/2 chrome fork blades, chain peg hanger, rear rack mount tabs.
1983 only: reinforced seat stay bridge 
1984 only: fork bosses for low rider racks, engraved fork crown and seat stay caps, recessed seat lug bolt

Frame Tubing Columbus Double Butted Cro-Mo, SL on 50-58 cm
 SP on 60-64 cm
Headset Shimano 600 EX alloy
Fork Columbus Tubing, Semi-Sloping Crown w/ cut-outs
1/2 Chrome Blades, Reinforced
1984: Lotus flower engraved crown
Handlebar 1983: SR Road Champion (wreath logo)
1984: SR World Champion (eagle logo)
Colors 1983: Violet Blue, Pearl Orange, Gunmetal Grey 
1984: Burgundy, Gunmetal Grey
Stem SR Royal alloy
Frame Sizes 50-64 cm Brakes Dia Compe Cantilever
1984: add cable adjusters at levers
Crank Sugino AT Aero Mighty Tour Triple  30-45-50
Sealed Bottom Bracket
Seatpost SR Laprade CT-P5
Pedals KKT Pro Vic II w/ Clips and Straps Saddle 1983: Kashimax Super-Pro 
1984: Lotus branded Kashimax Anatomic
Shift Levers Suntour Cyclone II Braze-on  Rims 1983:   Ukai 27 x 1 1/4 alloy 40 Spoke Rear  
1984: Araya 27 x 1 1/4 alloy 36 Spoke Rear 
Front Derailleur 1983: Suntour Cyclone II
1984: Suntour Mountech
Hubs Suntour Sealed Bearing QR Front and Rear
Rear Derailleur Suntour Cyclone II Spokes Stainless
Freewheel 1983: Suntour Ultra-6 gold
1984: Suntour Ultra-6 silver
Tires 1983: IRC Super HP 27 x 1 1/8 
1984: unknown
Chain 1983: Suntour Ultra-6 gold
1984: Suntour Ultra-6 silver
Weight 23.5 lbs.
Notes Included 2 alloy carriers, Primus pump, Lotus water bottle and alloy cage.
1986 Lotus Odyssey
Gran Touring Series
Frame Details Bottle mounts on seat and down tube, bosses on fork for low mounted front rack, brazed on fittings for shifters, rear rack, chain peg hanger, pump peg on head tube, brake cable guides and cantilever brakes.
Frame Tubing Tange Infinity Double Butted Chrome Moly Headset
Fork Tange Chrome Moly, w/ Forged Drop Outs Handlebar  SR CTD alloy
Colors White or Navy Stem  SR alloy
Frame Sizes 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63 cm Brakes Shimano AT-50 Cantilever
Crank Shimano Biopace  28-38-48 Seatpost SR Micro Adjust CRE-100 alloy
Pedals SR SP-153 w/ Clips and straps Saddle Vetta Anatomic 
Shift Levers Shimano 422 Light Action Rims Araya 16-A 27" x 1 1/4" Alloy, 36 Front 40 rear Spokes
Front Derailleur Shimano Z204 Hubs Suzue Sealed System Small Flange QR alloy 
Rear Derailleur Shimano L525 Light Action Spokes 14 Guage Stainless
Freewheel Shimano 6 Cogs, 14-32 Silver Tires IRC 27" x 1 1/4" skin
Chain Shimano Uniglide Silver/Black Weight 25.5 lbs.
Notes Accessories: LOTUS water bottle and alloy cage, alloy rear and low mount racks, Primus pump.
1987 Lotus Odyssey
Gran Touring Series
Frame Details Pump peg on the head tube, chain peg hanger, cable guides under bottom bracket, bottle mounts on seat and down tube, top tube cable guides, studs on fork for low mounted front rack, brazed on fittings for shifters, rear rack, and cantilever brakes.
Frame Tubing Tange Infinity Double Butted Chrome Moly Headset Tange Sealed MA-60
Fork Tange Chrome Moly, w/ Forged Drop Outs Handlebar LOTUS Engraved Kusuki alloy
Colors White or Gunmetal Gray Stem Kusuki S-Win alloy
Frame Sizes 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63 cm Brakes Dia Compe Cantilever #983
Levers Dia Compe Aero AC250G Black for White Frame and White for Gray Frame
Crank Shimano Biopace B-124 30-44-50 Seatpost Sugino KC-230 w/ Scale
Pedals MKS AR-2 w/ MKS Clips and LOTUS straps Saddle Vetta Maxi Anatomic Leather
Shift Levers Suntour Alpha 5000 Accu-shift Rims Araya 16-A 27" x 1 1/4" alloy, 36 Front 40 rear Spokes
Front Derailleur Suntour Alpha 5000GX Hubs Suzue Small Flange QR alloy sealed
Rear Derailleur Suntour Alpha 5000GX Accu-shift Spokes 14 Guage Stainless
Freewheel Suntour PT-6000 6 Cogs, 14-32 silver Tires IRC Touring Kevlar 27" x 1 1/4" Skin
Chain DID Silver/Black Weight 25 lbs. for 54 cm
Notes Accessories: LOTUS water bottle and alloy cage, alloy rear and low mount racks.
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