Aerovelo’s Eta has just broken the world speed record for human-powered vehicles, after reaching the dizzying speed of 85.71 mph.
The achievement took place on Thursday, at the 16th edition of the World Human-Powered Speed Challenge Competition, in Battle Mountain, Nevada. Initially, the team experienced some technical issues upon launching the vehicle, and had to conduct a series of repairs. However, the bike quickly regained ground and gave its best performance yet on the 200 meter speed trap.
The contest will continue until Saturday, so there are still chances a rival team will set an even better score. So far, this newly reached speed is 2.5 mph higher than the previous world record, which was set in 2013 by Dutch cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier.
If Aerovelo manages to hold on to its title, the record will be sanctioned by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA), whose purpose is to promote the invention and development of means of transport that use human muscle power.
The bike was designed by a team of Aerovelo employees and driven by the company’s co-founder, Todd Reichert. Eta’s aerodynamic appearance was inspired by the 2012 Bluenose and its recumbent structure demands the cyclist to stay in a reclining position, with the legs stretched out front.
The pilot is basically placed in a capsule, which is equipped with a video monitor. The screen receives footage from dual SD cameras located on top of the vehicle, thus allowing the biker to keep his eye on the road.
According to the creators, the speedbike weighs just 55 pounds and features aero-structural optimizations, which enable it to reach ultra high velocities, while maintaining low drag.
This isn’t the first time that Canadian company Aerovelo has made its mark on the human-powered vehicle business.
In 2010, Todd Reichert flew the Snowbird Ornithopter, the first human-powered aircraft that flies by flapping its wings. The invention was built by Reichert and 4 of his fellow students from the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies. The aircraft, which weighed just 94 pounds, remained airborne for 19.3 seconds, and averaged 15.9 miles per hour.
Also, back in 2011, the company broke the world record for human-powered land speed by a collegiate vehicle. Its streamlined, recumbent Vortex bike accelerated up to a speed of 72.6mph.
Moreover, in 2013 Aerovelo became the first-ever recipient of the Sikorsky Prize: a $250,000 reward which had been promised by the American Helicopter Society ever since 1980. Reichert piloted the Atlas, a human-powered chopper which flew for 64.11 seconds, reaching a top altitude of 10.92 feet.
Image Source: Aerovelo