Canada-based AeroVelo just launched a Kickstarter campaign to build the world’s fastest bicycle! Last year, AeroVelo narrowly missed winning the World Human-Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada, but they are confident their new design will be able to reach speeds of around 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour.
Eta, named after the Greek letter used to denote efficiency in the field of engineering, is designed to significantly surpass highway speed limits using less than one horse power. This year the team hopes it will enable them to break the current land-speed record for a human-powered bicycle: 133.8 kilometers (83.1 miles) an hour. The new model builds off of last year’s Bluenose design, which reached an impressive 125 kilometers (77.67 miles) an hour.
Like its predecessor, Eta has no windscreen. Instead, it uses a tiny camera on the top of the bike to provide the pilot’s vision. The pilot is seated in a recumbent position and everything about the exterior shell is designed for maximum aerodynamics: the shape results in over 100 times less drag than that of the most streamlined cars. The rubber tires are handmade and carefully designed for lower rolling resistance and better handling. The team has also carefully tweaked all the internals and mechanisms to push for maximum efficiency and minimum drag.
Every year, AeroVelo takes on students for four-month-long, intensive internships. This year AeroVelo’s team includes two PhDs, one Master’s student, and seven undergraduate students from the fields of aerospace, materials, and mechanical engineering. With an impressive history of successful projects behind them, this year the team hopes to raise $30,000 through Kickstarter towards a total project budget of $120,000. While sadly no free rides are on offer, pledge rewards include t-shirts, signed engineer’s drawings and scale models of the final design. The campaign is running until the morning of July 9, 2014.
Images by AeroVelo