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“The most elegant, beautiful piece of machinery that’s ever been designed” | Chris Boardman pays tribute to Mike Burrows

“The most elegant, beautiful piece of machinery that’s ever been designed” | Chris Boardman pays tribute to Mike Burrows

Legendary engineer and bike designer Mike Burrows – the mastermind behind the Lotus 108 – has died. Burrows was best known for designing the ground-breaking…

Monday, Aug 15

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Legendary engineer and bike designer Mike Burrows – the mastermind behind the Lotus 108 – has died.

Burrows was best known for designing the ground-breaking 108, ridden by Chris Boardman to individual pursuit victory at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona – and a bike Boardman today described as “the most elegant, beautiful piece of machinery that’s ever been designed”.

Burrows’ influence extended from the track to the road, via recumbents and cargo bikes, with his designs including the original Total Compact Road (TCR) for Giant, with the sloping top tube he pioneered now commonplace on every modern road bike.

But the 108 remains the framebuilder’s original masterpiece, with its sculpted monocoque frame, single-sided chainstay and mono-blade fork.

Speaking to BikeRadar, Boardman said: “Of all the marvellous bikes we’ve seen over the past 30 years, and even further back, there’s only one that sticks in the mind.

“I don’t think anyone would disagree that it’s the most elegant, beautiful piece of machinery that’s ever been designed.”

Burrows had been working on the design that became the Lotus 108 through the 1980s but it wasn’t until the UCI overturned its ban on monocoque frames that the bike became a competitive reality.“I saw that bike in the 1980s, at Bassano del Grappa [in 1985], when I was riding the World Championships as a kid,” said Boardman. “He’d gone to get it ratified by the UCI, but they didn’t allow it at the time.”Burrows worked with Lotus to forge the 108, before Boardman took gold in 4:27.357 minutes […]

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