This Steam Bike Hit 180MPH and Was Designed in a Shed

This Steam Bike Hit 180MPH and Was Designed in a Shed

Remember roughly 150 years ago when steam trains were the fastest way to get around? No? You weren’t alive? Right, well, anyway, the coal-fired behemoths used the power of boiling water to turn their enormous wheels and pull coach loads of people all across America. Steam power is still around, but not much for trains anymore; some of the land speed record people still mess with it, for example, like this steam-powered bike that hit 180.

Land speed record cars and bikes look nothing like the vehicles you or me might drive, and are usually powered by utterly bonkers means – like mammoth engines, jet power, even rockets. A new land speed record holder that makes use of a much more humble power source: vegetable oil and steam.

The creation, called Force Of Nature, doesn’t generate high pressure steam to power a piston and spin its wheels, like a steam train would. Instead, the bike uses reclaimed vegetable oil from cooking to turn superheated, pressurised water into steam. That steam is then released out through nozzles at the rear of the bike to force it forward amid a dramatic cloud of water vapour, which you can see for yourself below.

The impressive machine, which was first brought to our attention by the folks over at The Manufacturer, has been designed and built by husband and wife team Graham and Diane Sykes. On its record-breaking run, the bike was piloted by Graham, as The Manufacturer reports:

“Grandad to nine grandchildren, and turning 60 later this week, Graham reflects on his achievements, ‘It’s just a big bomb really, and it all started in my shed. I’ve taken the principles of chemistry, and married them with precision engineering to create something I’m passionate about – fast bikes. I wanted to do this in a way that is sustainable for the planet (I’ve got nine grandkids after all), and demonstrates that you don’t have to compromise on speed, you just have to get creative’.”

This Steam Bike Hit 180MPH and Was Designed in a Shed
Graham Sykes, sat on the ‘bomb’ he designed in a shed. (Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Images, Getty Images)

So just how fast can the bike go? In its record run in the UK, the steam-powered bike clocked an exit speed 264 km/h after completing the standing 1/8 mile run in just 3.878 seconds. But, the team is convinced it can go faster.

“We peaked at around 290 km/h after the 1/8 mile beams but that doesn’t count for the record,” said the Force Of Nature team in a statement. “So we are now officially the quickest and fastest Steam Powered Motorcycle in the world. There is still lots more power to come, and I feel sure we will run quicker in the coming months.”

Could 322 km/h be on the cards for this homemade creation? We’ll have to wait and see. Its next run is scheduled for the Nitro Olympics at the Hockenheim Circuit in Germany next month.

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