THE ‘Lotus’ name has been spreading around over recent years – with various companies and race teams appearing under the Lotus banner despite little connection with the Norfolk-based sports car builder.
A few years ago it was straightforward. If a car said “Lotus” on it, it was probably designed and made by Lotus in Hethel. Even Chris Boardman’s revolutionary carbon-fibre ‘Lotus’ bicycle from the 1992 Olympics really was a Lotus. Over the last few years, though, that’s changed as other companies have been able to borrow the Lotus branding, sometimes with complicated results – topped by the awkward situation in 2011 when there were two unconnected Lotus F1 teams competing against each other…
The newly-minted Lotus Motorcycles company is another to brandish Colin Chapman’s initials and iconic black-and-gold colours (which themselves have little to do with Lotus and plenty to do with John Player Special cigarettes). But the level of connection with Lotus itself seems to be limited.
Little detail has been given apart from a promise of 200bhp and the fact that the bike will be designed by Daniel Simon, who’s better known for Hollywood props than any real vehicles – he’s credited with the Lightcycle design from the recent Tron sequel, as well as various Captain America vehicles.
The new company is a venture by the Holzer Group and Le Mans racing team Kodewa, which ran a Lotus-branded LMP2 car in last weekend’s Le Mans 24hrs. Holzer also owns Kalex, a fact that’s not mentioned in the press release; an unfortunate decision, perhaps, as it would have added a significant layer of credibility.
At the moment, the only image of the bike is a close up of what might be a fuel tank, complete with Lotus badge and JPS colours.
The JPS link is an interesting coincidence, as it also has connotations of the John Player Norton monocoque designed and raced by Peter Williams. Williams later went on to work for Lotus, and during the late 1990s was involved with the development of a carbon-fibre Lotus motorcycle when the original, Hethel-based considered entering the two-wheeled market.
That project was dropped when the company underwent one of its periodical changes of ownership, but Williams hopes to revive the idea once his newly-announced run of JPN replicas is completed.
Here’s the Lotus Motorcycles press release in full:
Lotus Motorcycles to build its own and first ever motorcycle
Lotus Motorcycles was established to design and build the first motorcycle of the iconic car manufacturer. The bike will be named Lotus C-01 and will be the most impressive appearance on public roads on two wheels. It will reflect a combination of lifestyle, design and high end technology.
Lotus Motorcycles is a joint project of Kodewa, car designer Daniel Simon and the Holzer Group. The Lotus C-01 will be a hyper bike with integrated racing technology. It will be manufactured of materials like carbon, titanium and aerospace quality steel, which are also used in Formula 1. Safety, ergonomics and design are the most important factors the design team has put emphasis on. It will be a state of the art motorbike powered by an approximately 200 horsepower engine.
Kodewa has recently built the new sports car Lotus T128 LMP (Le Mans Prototype) and is running the Lotus LMP2 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The team of Kodewa comprises of experts with a lot of knowledge and experience not only in endurance racing but also Formula 1, DTM and lower formulas.
The unique shapes of Lotus Motorcycles will be penned by renowned designer Daniel Simon. Simon, a former designer for Bugatti Automobiles, has lately been responsible for some of the most sophisticated concept vehicles in Hollywood film history. Amongst his most recognizable contributions are the ‘Lightcycle’ in the 2010 Disney motion picture ‘Tron: Legacy’ and the ‘Bubbleship’ used by Tom Cruise in the recent Universal Sci-Fi hit ‘Oblivion’. The German was also designing the famous black and gold livery of the Lotus LMP2 sports cars.
Daniel Simon is known for his clean and holistic concepts. The designer says: "With the Lotus C-01, we have only one ambition: to create a unique state-of-the-art machine that carries its brutal forces with elegance and style, a high-tech monster in a tailored suit. The C-01, with all its top notch components and materials, is first and foremost emotional, heartbreaking, at times playfully retro, and always clearly a Lotus. Lotus is a glamorous name with a rich history, and the C-01 celebrates it proudly: the shapes of the marvelous Lotus 49 were a main inspiration, and all color schemes pay homage to iconic Lotus racing liveries, such as the dashing black and gold. The intersection of past and future never fails to fascinate, and so does the unique idea of the C-01.”
Within the Holzer Group, the Performance GmbH is involved in the development process. The components made of titanium, carbon fibre and aerospace steel will be produced by RPC GmbH, which is also part of Holzer Group and Kodewa. Latest CNC machines linked with CAM workstations ensure highest precision and optimal workflow of the complex procedures. Because of quality inspections before, during and after the production process, a safety-related and faultless production is ensured.
In the next few weeks, images of Lotus Motorcycles will be released and will give a first insight into what to expect from the new Lotus C-01.