Honda Innova Modded Into A Hypermiled Recumbent Motorbike Posting 214 Mpg At 55 Mph

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If you're looking for a cheap motorcycle for daily commutes, the Honda Innova sure sounds like a nifty pick - it weighs a light 231 pounds, sports an efficient 9hp 125cc engine and posts a fuel mileage of over 100 mpg.  That's apparently not enough for Dutchman Allert Jacobs, though, who further modded the bike to deliver a whopping 214 mpg at 55 mph.

An avid longtime recumbent bicycle and velomobile designer, Allert is familiar with the effect of aerodynamics on how much fuel you burn driving.   For the mod, he decided to apply the same principles he used in his previous projects to bring the Innova's fuel efficiency to penny-pinching levels.

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What kind of changes did the bike get to go from economically sound to ridiculously efficient?  According to Allert, he began by lowering the driving position and installing a recumbent seat, allowing the rider to operate the motorcycle in a feet-first stance.  To further reduce exposure to oncoming air,  he enclosed the front wheel and added another fairing to cover the rider.

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After those small changes alone increased top speed by 14mph, he went to work on optimizing gear ratios and reducing engine speed for improved mileage, which allowed the motorcycle to get up to 156 mpg.  When that was done, he proceeded to crank out the full bodywork, enclosing the Innova in a green, pod-like panel which can split in two (the front part moves forward) to let the driver in and out.

The resulting ultra-hypermiled Honda Innova now looks like a two-wheeled city car with downright amazing mileage - posting a top mark of 214 mpg on one 160 mile round trip.  He's not even finished yet, as he continues to put work on the bike, further tuning it to reach a target of 235 mpg at 55 mph, which comes out to one liter of petrol for every 100 kilometers.  Insane.

[Velomobiel via Ecomodder]

9 Responses

  1. Jade

    So what about a fairing for over the head? I would LOVE to drive this thing, but women do need our hair protected. :P That and the issue of rain or snow. Granted, many would have another form of transportation if they live somewhere with bad weather. I live in Arizona, the worst I see is rain. I would still ride this in the rain, no problem. :)

    Reply
    • Boo

      You need to wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle in most jurisdictions, so the hair would be protected (and flattened!) inside that!

      Reply
  2. Ace

    A well thought-out design and high quality work. I’d cheerfully ride it for a few hundred miles, given the chance. As a recumbent builder myself (ProjectVF.com) I commend Allert Jacobs for his very professional results.

    Reply
  3. Martin

    Each to their own I guess. It is reminiscent of the 1950s & 1960s racing ‘dustbin’ fairings. After too many aerodynamically inspired accidents the ‘dustbin’ fairing was banned. As long as you only use a 9bhp engine that is not likely to be a huge problem but I certainly wouldn’t want to ride it in strong crosswinds. You could get blown over whilst stopped at traffic lights!

    Reply
    • Boo

      The rider and designer says it is no problem in crosswinds. That makes sense to me as the total height is so much lower than any conventional cycle.

      Reply
  4. Schorsch

    What about wind? A dutch driver surely knows everything about strong wind coming from the left or right? The construction seems to be problematic for autumn storms. But that´s of course no problem if you limit yourself by only driving during “the season” from June to August (in case of blue sky…)

    Reply
    • chris williams

      In recumbent bicycle racing (speeds up to 82mph) with very similar looking machines, they’ve discovered that side winds haven’t been a problem. Would love to see this proved in a wind tunnel. This might turn out to be one of those counter intuitive things like the fact that a bike balances on two wheels in the first place!

      Reply
  5. Boo

    Is the MPG figure based on Imperial gallons (4.55 litres) or US gallons (about 3.5 litres)?

    Reply
    • Si

      It will be imperial as his objective was 100km per litre.
      Check out his website for recumbent bikes.
      Superb..

      Reply

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