Eta bicycle car is the human-propelled ‘UFO’ reaching remarkable 89mph speeds

Imagine seeing this overtake you on the highway
  • AeroVelo developed the world’s fastest human-powered bicycle
  • It’s shaped like an egg, a really aerodynamic egg
  • The Eta bicycle can go as fast as a car on the highway using pedal power alone

Published on May 10, 2024 at 2:21PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 10, 2024 at 4:17PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis

The AeroVelo Eta is the world’s fastest bicycle.

It can keep up with a car on the highway, reaching speeds of 89 mph.

But if appeared on the highway, it wouldn’t be clear that it was a bicycle at all.

The Eta has been compared to an egg, a white bullet and a UFO.

READ MORE: Fascinating ‘Ringbot’ monocycle robot rolls around and balances on two legs

In the world of bicycles, there are some pretty weird ones out there.

There’s one that has square wheels, another with triangular wheels, and one that doesn’t have any wheels at all.

But the AeroVelo Eta has to be one of the most unique bikes on the road.

In 2013, AeroVelo set a goal to build the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle to beat the level-ground speed record of 83.1 mph.

This seemed doable for the team who also invented the world’s first human-powered helicopter that same year.

Plus they created the first human-powered ornithopter, which is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings.

“We make human-powered vehicles because it challenges us as engineers to approach vehicle design from the perspective of energy conservation and efficient design,” Cameron Robertson, co-founder of AeroVelo said.

The bike successfully beat the record, achieving eye-watering speeds of 89.6 mph.

To achieve this feat the team designed the seat so the rider, or ‘pilot’, was as horizontal as possible.

This meant they could reduce the frontal area and therefore the drag to maximize aerodynamics.

Next, they build a shell out of carbon fiber, making it as small as physically possible.

The frame and white shell were both made from carbon fiber, which is both lightweight and strong, able to be molded to the precise measurements needed.

When empty, the AeroVelo Eta weighs just 55 pounds.

A head bubble or windscreen would have compromised the aerodynamics, so the pilot steers via a screen connected to exterior cameras.

“It takes a little bit of getting used to, not in the sense that it’s difficult to drive but of actually feeling that connection that you’re blasting down a highway at over 100 kilometers an hour,” Todd Reichert, the pilot of the world record attempt, said.

“It’s kind of like driving a video game,”

When in motion, the bullet-like bicycle looks like it’s floating, the wheels completely encased in the outer shell.

The AeroVelo Eta is named for the Greek letter ‘Eta’ which is used in engineering to denote efficiency.

While the team wanted to break a world record, ultimately they wanted to make a statement about the efficient nature of bicycles.

Eta has an equivalent highway fuel efficiency of 9544 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe).

This makes it 100 times more efficient than even an electric car.

Pretty compelling, but we’re not sure if we’ll be swapping our car for a bike like J.Cole just yet.

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