We’ve long known aerodynamically-optimized human-powered velomobiles can go pretty fast. What we didn’t know is that they can go so fast the darn things can get a speed ticket when you ride them on some highways. At least, that would be the case with the Aerovelo Eta, which recently posted a top speed of 89.59 miles per hour. Yes, you’re reading that right.
Billed as the fastest human-powered vehicle, the velomobile set the new record at highway SR305 outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. It did that without the benefit of any downhill grade, too, as it set the record-breaking mark while being piloted along a five-mile, nearly-level straightaway. That’s absolutely nuts.
Underneath the Aerovelo Eta’s rocket-shaped fairing is an uncomfortable-looking recumbent bike that combines a ridiculously low center of gravity, absurdly thin tires (seriously, they look like blades), and a preposterously narrow profile. Despite the awkward discomfort that might all suggest, though, Aerovelo claims it actually puts driver Todd Reichert in an ergonomic riding position while also maximizing the amount of power he can push out of his legs. Simply put, it’s one of the reasons why this thing can go as fast as it does.
Since the cabin is fully-covered up, the rider gets a view of the road through two integrated cameras, with an onboard computer providing a HUD so the driver can see the vehicle’s real-time stats. Construction is wet lay carbon fiber for the frame and a carbon-honeycomb sandwich for the shell.
You can learn more about the Eta from Aerovelo’s website.