Flying on a bike

A British cyclist has developed a super bike that can nearly match the speed of an aircraft

Published: Monday 30 September 1996

-- it will be a test of technology and human endurance . T wo British cyclists will appear at the air show at Farnborough, uk , this month in an attempt to set a world speed record on a tandem built from stealth-fighter materials. They believe their bike is capable of exceeding 402 km / h, thanks to a shell made from advanced carbon and titanium compounds. The Delcam Ultimate tandem is the brainchild of Bruce Bursford from uk and is based on the single-seat Ultimate model on which he set a world record of 334.5 km / h last year.

Joining him on the rear seat for the tandem record will be his trainer and business partner Cefun Lloyd. World-record attempts are only possible under conditions of no wind and are therefore conducted on rollers, with the cycle bolted down to prevent the rider and machine from being blown off.

To achieve its light weight of just 5.7 kg, the tandem has been constructed like an advanced aircraft's wing with bracings inside its paper-thin outer skin. The tyres on the carbon wheel are made of bullet-proof Kevlar and rubber to withstand the temperatures generated by such high speeds. They are inflated with helium to a pressure of 2.75-3.44 newtons per sq mm.

Bursford's solo world record of 334.5 km / h was achieved in 20 seconds. The tandem world record currently stands at a 'mere' 160.9 km / h, which presented no challenge to the team. "The existing tandem record is so low that we decided to select a target which would be more challenging," says Bursford.

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