The world's fastest bicycle

10 junio 2007

On October 5, 2002, Canadian cyclist Sam Whittingham reached a speed of 130.36 km/h (81.00 mph) making his Varna Diablo II the fastest bicycle in the world. Sam Whittingham's speed also broke the world record for a human powered vehicle and made him the fastest man on Earth.

This special bicycles are able to reach a speed of 100 km/h just by pedal power. "It's like when you're a kid - says Whittingham - and you get on a bike and you ride down a hill, and you're going a little bit faster than you know you should".

So far, the team formed by George Georgiev (Varna Diablo's designer) and Sam Whittingham has beaten well-funded teams from all over the world. It took them 10 years of hard work in a workshop and a few thousand dollars with no sponsors to build this incredible machine.

George Georgiev, a sculptor who has no training in physics or aerodynamics, wanted to answer a basic question: How fast can a human being go under his own power? Te result was a collection of bikes that have reached world-record speeds nearing 130 kilometres an hour.

Whittingham, a former member of the Canadian national bicycling team, sits on the floor of the tub. His seat back is made of surplus Boeing aircraft flooring. The front-wheel-drive powertrain features a pair of chains that meet at an intermediate gear axle, fitted with a special hub that allows for more than twice as much gear reduction as a conventional racing bike.

The World Human Powered Speed Challenge takes places every year in Battle Mountain (Nevada) where cyclists from all over the planet race on one of the straightest, flattest, and smoothest surfaces ever dreamed. The 4,619ft (1,408m) altitude road allows riders an acceleration zone of over 4 miles, enabling them to reach their maximum velocity:

As in many other sports, accidents can be quite dangerous here. Fortunately, cyclists are well protected by the monocoque chassis:

Finally, I invite you to see this interesting report about Battle Mountain competition. They're just crazy!

More info and sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9