A team of mechanical engineering students from the University of Liverpool have designed and built the UK’s fastest bicycle, which finished fourth at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge last month.
The 2.8m long, 0.85m high and 0.5m wide ARION1 velocipede surrounded by a two-part carbon composite shell piloted by 29-year old Ken Buckley reached 75 mph, establishing a new British national record.
In designing the bicycle, the team of 16 engineering students focused on maximising the aerodynamic performance and minimising the overall weight of the vehicle. It was the first-ever British entry in the competition, organised by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association.
The chassis frame was made of a lightweight carbon composite material and for the outer shell the engineers selected carbon fibre-compatible acrylic laminating resin.
The rider of the ARION1 velocipede was seated almost flat with legs forward, completely enclosed inside the shell, which has a removable top for easier access.
This year’s challenge was already the 16th such contest and took place on the five-mile highway road at Battle Mountain in Nevada, USA.
The overall best result was achieved by Canadian team AeroVelo, whose co-designer and rider Todd Reichert set a new world record of a staggering 85.71 mph.
The British team is already working on a design for the 2016 challenge.