Published on May 1st, 2014 | by Jo Borrás


Arion1 Velocipede — World’s Fastest Bicycle From Liverpool

May 1st, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

world's fastest bicycle

Meet the Arion1 Velocipede, which was built by students at the University of Liverpool (in the UK) to win the World Human Powered Speed Challenge by becoming the first human-powered bike to hit 90 (ninety!) MPH. In case you’re not quite on your coffee at the moment, that would mean that the guy pedaling the Arion1 would be going fast enough to land him in jail on most of America’s roads without burning any oil or using any grid juice.

That’s pretty cool, even if the suggestively styled Arion1 looks more like Lelo’s latest Lyla model than it does “the world’s fastest bicycle”.

Actually, I take that back. We covered last year’s World Human Powered Speed Challenge when it went down in Battle Mountain, Nevada last September. That event saw the Dutch VeloX3, by Sebastian Bowier, set the current 83 MPH record pass … that thing looked more capsule than Cannondale, too. So, yeah- I guess that’s what go-fast bicycles look like these days, and it’s a far cry from the rough and tumble sex appeal of my old Specialized Langster.



Still, everything on the Arion1 has a purpose and a lot of thought behind it. In place of a transparent windscreen, for example, the team will use a camera and monitor that will let the rider see. The team says this move to a camera will not only reduce aerodynamic drag, but allow the rider’s head to remain in the optimum riding position. “To get to the speeds they intend to, the team will have to make sure everything is perfect, from the vehicle’s aerodynamics to the size of its wheels,” said Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, of which all the ULVT are members. “It’s an extremely tough ask to get a human powered vehicle to travel at 90mph … but, with the right engineering approach, it is possible.”

Here’s a few more photos of what promises to be the next world’s fastest human-powered wheeled thing, then. Possibly NSFW.

  • Arion1 Velocipede
  • Arion1 Velocipede
  • Arion1 Velocipede
  • Arion1 Velocipede

Source | Photos: University of Liverpool, via Gizmag.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • For me, this is the ultimate sport. The only limit is your body. No friggin’ UCI regulations, just build whatever you can imagine to achieve unadulterated speed.

    I have been interested in hpv’s since the late eighties and participated in many recumbent races, although not in one of these ‘torpedoes’ (way too expensive).

    If you see the amazing vehicles these guys and gals make in their garage using space grade materials like carbon fiber and titanium, it’s incredible. It is a rather small and tightly knit community where everybody cheers each other on.

  • Omega Centauri

    I fear for the safety of the rider. Any sort of bump or crosswind at 90mph, and things could get dicey.
    I guess the hole is to allow so air to flow in. Or perhaps it is to maintain positive air pressure to keep the faring “inflated”?

    • Remember this is a race of a few km over a straight stretch of road. As long as there are no obstacles, the bicycle will glide along and come to a halt. He might have some burns, but that will be most of it. Worries are not really needed. This sport started out in the seventies and there have been no fatalities or severe injuries.

  • Benjamin Nead

    With that shape and color, It reminds me of a cross between kidney bean and a medicine capsule. Still, I guess this is what it takes to get a pedal bicycle up to that sort of speed. Curious to see what the frame of the bicycle looks like with the aerodynamic fairing removed . . . and how, exactly, the fairing comes apart to allow the rider to enter and exit.

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