Hoping for Olympic gold with a R450k bike

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
One of the world's most advanced bikes, with amazing aero. Is ready for the Olympics (Photo: Hope)
One of the world's most advanced bikes, with amazing aero. Is ready for the Olympics (Photo: Hope)
  • Mountain bike brand, Hope, has teamed up with Lotus to build a cutting edge bicycle for the British Track Cycling team
  • The Hope Lotus collaboration solves aerodynamic efficiencies for the rider and bicycle as a package
  • Hope's HB.T is available for purchase by the public for approximately R450 000

The track bicycle is the bicycle in its purest form. No gears, no brakes and a fixed cog against the stopwatch.

But that does not mean that these machines are not cutting edge.

A new creation built by Hope and sports car manufacturer, Lotus, for the British Olympic team utilises the latest materials and manufacturing technology.

Hope’s HB.T could play a pivotal role in the British Cycling team’s hunt for medals at the upcoming Olympic games.

Hope bikes
Everything has been done, to make the leading edge of this Hope/Lotus track bike, more aero (Photo: Hope)

Aero makes all the difference

The innovative front end design of this bike aims to optimise the aerodynamics of the bicycle and rider, with the forks positioned directly in front of the rider's knees, guiding air around the rider.

Its wide seat stays help with the reattachment of that air to create the best profile for the rider and bicycle.

What makes this solution unique is that the aerodynamic design and testing were done with a rider on the bicycle, from the very beginning, to ensure their efficiency as a complete package.

Olympic bike
The handlebars are unlike anything you'll see on a conventional road bike (Photo: Hope)

Using the latest construction tech

The radical aerodynamic design is said to give a 2-3% aerodynamic advantage. This might not seem like much but every little bit counts when track events are won or lost by thousands of a second.

Hope has also designed and built a pair of special front and rear discs for use with the bike. Featuring monocoque construction, both sides of the rim, as well as the hub, are moulded as one piece of carbon-fibre. The one-piece design is lighter than traditional track cycling disc wheels.

Hope used the company’s experience in high tolerance aluminium machining to build its own moulds for the frame and wheels. Carbon shaping is done by hand in the Hope factory. The radical tube design was made possible by 3D-printed nodes, that join the components like the seat stays to the seat tube in a way that was not previously possible.

Sports car manufacturer Lotus teamed up with Hope and developed the forks as well as two sets of handlebars for the HB.T, catering for the sprint and pursuit disciplines. These handlebars are integrated into the front end and constructed from 3D printed aluminium and titanium components.

Hope track bike
It might be a single-speed. But it pushes a monster chainring (Photo: Hope)

Is it legal?

This is not Lotus’ first attempt at cycling Olympic glory. Chris Boardman rode a Lotus Type 108 to Gold in the 1992 Olympics before that design was deemed illegal by cycling’s governing body, the UCI.

The UCI rulebook can be fairly restrictive on bicycle design, but designers realised that current width restrictions of 50cm were the window of opportunity they needed. This meant that the finalised design, featuring an 8cm wide fork and seat stays was comfortably within the limit.

However, getting a radical design like this approved by the UCI was still not easy. The handlebars for example had to be extensively redesigned before they got the nod of approval from cycling’s governing body.

For bicycles to be approved by the UCI for use in events like the Olympics they also need to be available for the general public to purchase and the Hope HB.T can be ordered via their website. It won’t be cheap though. The frame and handlebar will retail for approximately R360 000 while the wheelset will set you back a further R90 000.

The track cycling programme of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics kicks off on the 2nd of August at the Izu Velodrome.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.