It is the manufacturer's highest-profile two-wheeled project since the '90s.

Lotus Engineering, the automotive consultancy offshoot of the legendary sports car maker has teamed up with component manufacturer Hope Technology to explore bicycle design.

The partnership will centre around a collaborative programme of research and development, data analysis and knowledge-sharing, which will look at lightweight engineering, aerodynamics and advanced material manufacturing.

Lotus Engineering, based at the same Hethel headquarters as the car manufacturing operation, has worked on project is aerospace,medical research, furniture, boat-building and many other elements of industrial design.

It has worked on bicycle projects in the past, too. In the 1990s Lotus worked on the design and development of Chris Boardman's bikes, helping him to a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, and a prologue time trial win at the 1994 Tour de France.

"Lotus is thrilled to be back in cycling for the first time in 25 years," said Group Lotus CEO Phil Popham. "Innovation and ingenuity have always been part of the Lotus DNA, and working in collaboration with Hope is a fantastic illustration of how the Lotus Engineering consultancy can support projects outside of the automotive sector."

Hope Technology HB 160 downhill bicycle

Hope Technology meanwhile is a well-established and highly regarded British brand in the cycling.

The Lancashire-based brand has been an industry leader for three decades, providing components for countless high-performance bikes all over the world. It recently started applying its expertise to ready-to-ride bikes for consumers as well.

"When we started making innovative, highly-spec’ed disc brakes, back in the late eighties, we didn’t imagine that Hope Technology would evolve into what it is today – a company with more than 150 employees hand-crafting components for both mountain and road bikes, 24-7," said Hope technology managing director Ian Weatherill. "We are proud to have stuck rigidly to our philosophy, relentlessly pursuing only the best possible products. To be partnering with Lotus is certainly a great place to find ourselves in 2019, and it’s an exciting time for us all."