The 80 mph push
August 22nd 1998
On sale for £25,000, the ultimate in pedal power
Daily Mail Reporter
WITH the potential to hit road speeds up to 80 mph, it is hardly intended for a trip to the shops or an eco-friendly ride to work
But at prices ranging from £9,500 to £25,000, the Ultimate Bike is unlikely to appeal to the average rider.
It has been designed by speed cycling champion Bruce Bursford and built from the same carbon fibre material used in the Stealth bomber.
After years of development, a road version of the Ultimate Bike – the world’s fastest bicycle – has gone into production at his factory in Dereham, Norfolk.
‘A normal rider should quickly be able to average 25 mph on it with hardly any training,’ Mr Bursford said yesterday. ‘And going down hill, anyone should be able to do 80 mph.’ Although he has yet to try out this theory, 40-year-old Mr Bursford has ridden the machine – which weighs less than 10 lb – on flat roads at 70 mph and covered five kilometres at an average of 39 mph. He has also tested it at 175 mph in the slipstream of a sports car. ‘The bike looks totally revolutionary because we have examined every part of a conventional cycle and used all the latest technology to make it faster and better,’ he said.
‘The design of most bicycles has hardly changed since the 1890s.’
The frame, forks, handlebars, wheels and seat of the bike are made from carbon fibre. The handlebars and forks are shaped like aircraft wings to make it more aerodynamic.
The front wheel has three wing shaped spokes so that wind from the side can help propel the cycle, while the back wheel is covered to make it more streamlined. Both are very thin. The tyres are inflated to three times normal racing pressure and have a silicon coating which cuts .friction by 13 per cent. The basic £9,500 model has precision steel bearings and pedal mechanism capable of 30,000 rpm compared to the standard 3,000 rpm. The £25,000 top-of-the-range Aurora model has even more efficient silicon bearings of a type used in the Stealth bomber, the Space Shuttle and Exocet missiles.
Mr Bursford admitted that the crouched riding position is not ideal for long journeys. ‘The handlebars are very low. An hour would be enough for most people,’ he said.
Anyone anxious to test his claims should note that while cyclists cannot be prosecuted for speeding, they can be charged with reckless riding or under a 19th century law for ‘wanton and furious riding’.
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