A high tech bike, developed by two universities from the Netherlands, set a new world record as it hit a speed of 133.78 kilometers per hour, 83.13 miles per hour. The team was racing for a record and against time as they had just six days left of racing to break the previous record.
The recumbent bike, where the cyclist is in a reclining position, was developed by Delft University of Technology and VU University Amsterdam, located in the Netherlands. The VeloX3 was pedaled by Sebastiaan Bowier, the team spent the six days trying to break the world record, at the time held by Sam Wittingham, at the 2013 Battle Mountain World Human Powered Speed Challenge, held in Nevada. The record was for 200 meter flying start with a single rider.
Breaking the world record was no easy task and required plenty of human and technical innovation. According to team leader Wouter Lion, the riders were challenged by poor weather and there were some last minute changes that had to be made prior to the last day of racing. “We had six days in which to secure the world record, but encountered technical problems at the start. This created some headaches and a lot of overnight work. When you manage to break through the world record on the last evening after three days of bad weather, it just feels fantastic,” said Lion in a statement.
Computer simulations revealed the VeloX3 was not aerodynamic enough and several adjustments had to be made in order to have a chance of breaking the world record. Bowier and his teammates trained 15 to 20 hours a week for a year prior to the event and the bike’s design was inspired by Formula 1. According to Lion, VeloX3 achieved low air resistance due to a coating developed by Akzo Nobel, a specialty paint and chemical company. While Bowier set the world record his teammates also achieved personal records including Wil Baselmans whose speed of 127.43 km/h puts him in third place, behind Bowier and Wittingham.
The video of VeloX3 and Bowier in action, as well as video of the team celebrating their achievement, can be viewed below.