Readers’ Rig: Lotus Supreme 1985

Today’s Readers’ Rig machine is possibly a record breaker for this column. No it’s not the fastest, not the prettiest and certainly not the lightest machine we’ve had featured. This Lotus Supreme is quite possibly the longest owned rig being bought by owner Mario way back in 1985 and ridden almost daily since.

Mario’s Rig in its original livery in the 1980’s

Name: Mario Manapsal
Location: Bristow, VA USA
Bike: Lotus Supreme SL
Groupset: Dura Ace 7800 10 Speed
Wheels: Ultegra 6600 with Continental Gatorskin 700x28c
Pedals: Shimano SPD
Saddle: Vintage Selle Marco Rolls Saddle
Weight: Approximately 25 pounds plus 5-7 lbs. of commuting equipment.

When did you buy it?
I bought the bike in the spring of 1985 from Proteus Bicycle. It was hanging on the ceiling and I asked the gentleman behind the counter if I could test ride it. I took it for a spin and 36 years later we are still rolling together.

What made you choose this bike?
“Kabuci” is her name. She is real as steel. It is made of Italian Columbus SL steel with chrome plating and handcrafted in Japan by legendary Tsunoda.

What modifications/additions have you done?
I replaced the original Campagnolo Super Record 6/7 speed group set with a more modern Shimano Dura Ace. It’s not quite aero, but shifts very precisely like a dream. The Vintage Selle Marco Rolls saddle is the only remaining original equipment other than the frame.

I acquired a used Ultegra 6660 wheelset and installed Continental Gatorskin with 700x28c tires. The frame is powdered coated and painted “Safety Orange” for commuting purpose and visibility during the cold winter months. The original color scheme was “Lavender”.

What components are you running?
Dura Ace 7800 10 Speed group set with 52/39 and 12-28 cassette.

How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
I currently commute about 4700-5300 miles (7500 – 8500km) a year excluding weekend rides and centuries.

What do you love about this bike?
Steel tends to absorb and dampens road vibrations and with relaxed geometry makes the ride more forgiving and enjoyable. The detailed chrome plating stands out and tends to open good conversation along with the retro bright orange paint scheme.

Favorite riding area?
Epic country rides in and around the beautiful farmlands of Prince William, Fauquier, and Loudon County, Northern Virginia area.

Favorite riding experience on your bike?
– Screaming like a banshee at downhill speed of 55mph at Catoctin Mountain
– It is a very quiet bike. I can sneak up quickly like a snake.
– It gets me from point A to point B in the least amount of time.

Future upgrades?
New set of quads and lungs, but seriously maybe a nice set of 28 spoked tubeless wheelset or in-destructible wheelset.

Last words?
A Steel bike can steal your heart.

After an amazing 32 year period of ownership I’d say Mario’s heart has truly been stolen by this steel beauty.

Thanks to Mario for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you’re proud of? Well how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

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