Hotta, Infinity, or Proteus?

Road 6 10

Some of you may remember a couple of years ago when I posted a Hotta time trial bike that was forwarded to me by a reader. In that post, I mentioned how much I love those early 90’s British time trial bikes (designed prior to the Lugano charter) from companies like Hotta and Lotus.

Recently, a reader named David sent me pictures of his older monocoque time trail bike. Despite the fact that the bike is labeled as a Proteus, David believes that it was made by a company called Infinity. I have never heard of Infinity, but supposedly the monoblade rear chainstay is what pegs this bike as Infinity and not a later Hotta with an almost identical frame shape. I still have found no information on Infinity as a predecessor to Hotta, so if anyone knows anything about the brand, please let me know. Regardless of who really made this bike, it is pretty nice looking. The milled taper lock rear axle alone is an interesting detail on a bike that is probably 15 to 20 years old at this point.

Since I am on the subject of time trial bikes and the UCI, I will point out a couple of recent tech articles about the effect of the UCI’s new rules on the time trial bikes in the Tour this year. This VeloNews article shows how some of the bikes were modified weeks before the race to comply with the new rules. A little extra tape required here, extra material there…but in the end all of the teams bikes were allowed to start in Monaco a couple weeks ago. The CyclingNews article is the one that I really liked though. Using one particular regulation banning the use of “handlebar extension assemblies constructed on two levels’ as an example, they illustrate the confusion caused by the UCI’s poorly worded and ambiguous regulations. You can read the UCI document titled “Technical Regulations for Bicycles: A Practical Guide to Implementation” for yourself to see if any of the rules are a bit unclear.

Finally, how can I post about time bikes without at least mentioning the latest custom painted STAGES bike that Lance Armstrong rode today? More about that bike by artist Yoshimoto Nara here.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous July 25, 2009 at 4:12 pm -  Reply

    I love riding and bicycles make it possible . But , like Lance's book says " it's not about the bike " . In the Tour it's about all those great cyclists no matter what team . Really are any of the bicycles fundamentally different from each other ? All the bikes are basically the same if they're made of carbon fiber , titanium , aluminum , steel or even wood . The basic form was set with the Dandy Horse almost 200 years ago , then pedals and cranks were added a little latter ,then it was a chain and latter gears . But , really for the last hundred years it's been about polishing the design and the odd gimmick here and there . The real changes have been about the rider and his position " time trialing and wind tunnel testing ' , communication and information " radios , cellphones ,bike computers ,and GPS " and health and diet last, but should have been first. Why does a bike look cool ? Not because Lance's bike has cool art work on it " more polish " . It looks cool because form follows function .That probably why many bikes designed to be "cool" many times aren't and bikes that are designed to do a certain task are . Bikes designed around the materials at hand are usually pretty interesting like those bikes made by the poor in Africa . I think when you are letting the materials and physics of the bicycles speak you get great design . Everyone's taste is different and that's how it works for me . And if you disagree you are wrong ! " chuckle " ;-)

    Random Ray

  2. Anonymous July 27, 2009 at 4:31 am -  Reply

    hey Random Ray
    you married ? or in relationship ?

    Tell me how did you choose your wife ? What aspect of her 'function' won you over :-) :-)

    There are many more subtitles, in design AND engineering – which you seem to gloss over.

    Methinks you need to get out more.

  3. Anonymous July 27, 2009 at 8:57 pm -  Reply

    Wow , that's disappointing . I thought I'd get really dumped on and maybe get a few people at least thinking about how they were going to tell me how wrong I was . Big Sigh … Well as to relationships I have a hot little model with a proven track record and it is very FUNctional .I get out more then most people , but what does that have to with bike design ? Lance was riding a high tech version of a safety bicycle , while the materials have improved it's the same design . The huge weight difference only helps those racing somebody either pros or getting to the corner before your buddy .Not a thing wrong with that . I'm a Tour junkie myself . A casual rider will notice a bad fitting bike more then a few pounds either way . They are so effective at reducing the weight that there has been a minimum weight for a while . Certainly a credit to designers and engineers .It's still the same old bike different materials . How many things have changed to make it a better bike and how many so they can tell you you're ridding an out of date bike ? I have a 46 year old bicycle ,a 25 year old bicycle and a 3 year old bicycle and all three of them are great bikes to ride . I'm looking for an even older bike and a brand new bike myself . Man , I can't believe you didn't at least mention recumbents or ATBs with full suspensions .
    Well , at least you gave me a start on a rebuttal . Everyone was probably watching the Tour or getting a ride in afterwards .

  4. Hammstah October 17, 2009 at 9:05 pm -  Reply

    Does anyone know if Hotta bikes are still available (new, I mean)? I had a few friends racing them in the 90's and two of them had the faulty fork break on them while riding. Hotta was very, very good about dealing with the problem. I was going to buy a Hotta in 2001 but then they were going through a buyout, etc… Are the still around? Any contact info?

    Thanks,
    Hammstah
    slhcomm@hotmail.com

  5. Anon August 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm -  Reply

    Not sure if you will see this James, But it is indeed (probably) an infinity. made by Carbon Design (they no long exist, well not with any really class) based in Devon. My dad actually made that bike for the company and i happened across this as i just found one in the attic and was wondering if anyone else had one. There were only around 100 made, chris boardman had a few. Gunna turn this one into a fixed gear. Its a shame you dont have the carbon wheels that were produced with the bike. that can be seen in the picture from Craig.

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