Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Weird Bike Wednesday - AeroVelo Eta

The AeroVelo Eta surpassed 89 miles per hour last month
This week's bike is weird, but incredibly fast. In 2013, AeroVelo set out to create a bike that could beat the world speed record, which was just over 83 miles per hour at the time. At the 2014 World Human-Powered Speed Challenge, things did not go well, but they learned some valuable lessons. AeroVelo returned in 2015 and exceeded 85 miles per hour, and them 86 miles per hour. They returned again in 2016, and came within 0.5 mph of hitting 90 miles per hour. That's traveling well above highway speed on a bicycle.

There numerous engineering challenges in designing this bike. A recumbent bike is used to reduce frontal area. To keep weight and aerodynamic drag down, it needed to be as small as possible, but yet big enough to allow a human to pedal without hitting the shell with his feet or knees. The shell was made of carbon fiber to keep its weight down. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis was used to minimize aero drag. A window to allow the rider to see the road would increase drag, so there are two cameras to show the cyclist what's going on outside. Another issue was making sure the operator had adequate ventilation with a minimal increase in drag. You can see a small tube sticking up at the rear of the vehicle. 

 Here's a video that shows the bike in action:

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