Inspired by the backyard engineering of land-speed racers who built 600+miles-per-hour rockets on wheels, bicycle frame builder Tom Donhou built a bike intended to exceed 100 mph under pedal power alone. As the mini-documentary video below attests, Donhou was able to reach about 80 mph behind his aerodynamically optimized Ford Zephyr 6 draft car (complete with column-mounted manual shifter), but he'll need a draft car with a higher top speed if he wants to top 100 mph.

To pedal the bicycle to such a high speed, Donhou also needs the correct gearing to get him there. The huge 104-tooth chain ring connected to a 13-tooth sprocket should suffice, as he proved with a run to 102 mph on rollers. Don't expect to see him riding up any hills, though you may soon spot him testing the bike on public roads behind his next draft car: a friend's more capable Ford Capri Cosworth.

We hope the Capri's much higher top speed will allow Donhou to go even faster on his next run, but until then, watch his first experiment in speed in the nicely produced video below.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      Goahead
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isn't avoiding wind resistance cheating? Cars don't get assist like that when you go for top speed record. I can imagine a Ferrari following another vehicle to cheat wind for top speed :)
        dukeisduke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Goahead
        It's pretty standard practice when setting bicycle records. I can remember one years ago, that used a 911 with a fairing on the back. The bike used a crankwheel the size of a large pizza pan (bigger than this one, IIRC).
      Tysto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Every aspect of this was a bad idea. Pointless exhibition, since they knew they couldn't break any records. Wrong car. Wrong location. No radio. On their first attempt, the driver had never driven a column-shifter before. They're lucky no one was killed.
        Tysto
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        Oh, yes: and their first attempt was on an open road, in wet and freezing weather. Genius.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        Yeah, this. This seems crazy dangerous for a nearly pointless record. And it is not like these extreme drafting systems merely eliminate air resistance . . . if they are well designed they can actually suck you forward and are therefore helping power you.
      Beardinals
      • 2 Years Ago
      #cheating
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Beardinals
        [blocked]
      Greg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't know how you can make this dull & boring, but somehow that's exactly what this video did.
      ELG
      • 2 Years Ago
      what? how is this news? pedalbikes have gone much faster, and that single chainring design is easily surpassed by adding another ring in the middle
      hammerthehalo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love this. Yeah it doesn't technically meet the stringent rules of land speed record racing, but he mentions quite clearly that that is not what this is about. It's about seeing how far you can push yourself under limited time and resources. It's about pushing your creativity and courage to accomplish something fairly remarkable. He may never have a line in a record book, but it takes a lot of time and passion to do what he's done. I think this sort of fearless spirit needs to be recognized and valued more, without it we wouldn't have a many of the advances and technologies we have today.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      cbamft
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's spelled *draught*
      cbamft
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's spelled *draught*
      manure
      • 2 Years Ago
      So he brought along a car to sue and blame when he crashes. That's smart.
        justgoawaymad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @manure
        bull $hit this isnt america so there not freakin sue happy. Most people in the world are not looking for the free ride like americans and their sue culture
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Break the wind and the limitation to your speed is just in your gearing and overcoming tire friction. I know a guy who built a 80-90mph capable e-bicycle. It beats GSXR-1000's off the line up until maybe 40-50mph. Just do a google search for it... 'liveforphysics bike of doom'
        Goahead
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        To me a bike is a bike when you use your OWN power. If it assists in any way, it's either a moped or a "motor"cycle. We are living in a world of carbon burning laziness. Everything has a motor these days. I see kids riding a motorized scooter in my neighborhood. I didn't have that when I was young! Burn some calories you lazy kids!
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Think of the bike described above as being a motorcycle built on a light weight bicycle chassis, which can also be pedaled. Does that help you? Burn some calories? hey, what do we all do when we are in our cars, light wrist and foot excersize? :P funny that you would criticize a bicycle with a motor but not also point out that getting into a 3000lb air conditioned steel box where the motor does all the work isn't lazy. There is room for shades of gray, my friend.
          Goahead
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I guess you didn't understand my meaning. I use my car TO GO TO WORK. I can't bike 35miles in 110 degrees Phoenix weather(13hr shifts)! There are times you simply can't ride a bike to save carbon. I am talking about recreational activities without burning carbon. Yes, I am a mountain biker and I am proud of it! It doesn't matter you can peddle an e-bike. It still has a MOTOR, it's not a bike.
      VL00
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sketch your own gear/chains http://www.gearsket.ch/
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