Bike to the future
August 22, 1998
Bike to the future
BY BOB MEGOWAN
GET on your bike, John Prescott told commuters. Now they can do it in style on the 8Omph Ultimate Bike.
The revolutionary machine is largely constructed from the same carbon fibre material as the Stealth bomber.
But be warned. Police made it clear yesterday that they will be able to detect riders hurtling along at full speed, even if the aircraft is invisible
to radar. And with prices from £9,500 to £25,000, the bike is likely to be only for rich fitness fanatics or professional riders.
Speed cycling champion Lruce Bursford, 40, used a prototype of the bike to ride at 207 mph on a rolling, road machine in 1995 – smashing the old world record by more than 50 mph. After three years of research and finding suppliers for specialist parts, he has now gone into production with a road version at his factory in Dereham, Norfolk.
The married father-of-two has since smashed his own treadmill record by achieving 212 mph on the bike. He also claims to have ridden the
machine on an airfield at 175 mph in the slipstream of a MeLaren Fl sports car and on flat roads at 70 mph. And he believes the bike, which less than 10lbs, should be capable of carrying anyone downhill at 80 mph.
He said yesterday: “The design of most bicycles has hardly changed since the 1890s so we had to alter almost everything.”
The frame, forks, handlebars, wheels and seat are made from high modulus unidirectional carbon weave which is used for the Stealth bomber.
Despite being wafer-thin, the material is exceptionally strong. As the monocoeque frame is solid without any glue line, Mr Bursford boasts
that it is virtually indestructible.
The bike has no flat surfaces to cause drag and has handlebars shaped like aircraft wings to make it ten per cent more aerodynamic. Both wheels are very thin and have most of their mass in the middle to minimise negative
effects of centrifugal force. The front wheel has three spokes shaped like wings so that sideways wind can help propel the cycle forward while the back has a kevlar covering to make it more streamlined.
The tyres are inflated to a super-hard 480 psi – compared to 160 psi on a conventional racing cycle. They also have a silica compound on the
surface which offers 13 per cent less friction than rubber. The basic £9,500
cycle has precision steel bearings in its wheels and a pedal mechanism capable of 30,000 rpm compared to standard versions which do only 3,000 rpm.
The top range model has even more efficient silica nitride bearings used before only on the Stealth bomber, the Space Shuttle and Exocet missile.
The axles and bottom bracket where the pedals are fitted are made of titanium while aircraft-grade aluminium is used for the screws, brake lever housings and the headset for the handlebars.
The brake levers are made of magnesium alloy designed by NASA to be stronger than steel.
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