Following its Sikorsky Prize-winning Atlas helicopter, Canada's AeroVelo now aims to set a new human-powered speed record during September's World Human-Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada, with a high speed bicycle named Eta. The current record stands at 83.1 mph (133.8 km/h), and was set at the event last year by a Dutch team of students with the VeloX3 bike.
Drawing its name from the Greek letter often used in engineering as the symbol for efficiency, Eta is actually a refinement of AeroVelo's 2012 bike Bluenose, which reached an impressive 77.67 mph (125.0 km/h). The team reckons speeds in excess of 87 mph (140 km/h) are possible with Eta.
Details on the new bike are still thin on the ground at this stage, and we can expect more solid information to filter out over the coming weeks, but we do know the basics. Like Bluenose, Eta's pilot will sit in a recumbent position and have no windscreen, but will instead rely on a small video camera atop the bike to offer views of the outside.
Future plans for the interior on-screen display include pilot power, a comparison between target speed and actual speed, the distance traveled, and rpm.
Eta sports handmade tires measuring approximately 66 cm (26 in) in diameter, which is a step-up from Bluenose's small 406 (about 50 cm/20 in) tires. It will also feature a very aerodynamic design, in order to make the most of the mere 1 hp that's estimated will be the maximum power output from the bike's pilot.
According to AeroVelo's preliminary calculations, which are based on computer simulations of a speed run at Battle Mountain, Eta should offer around 1 percent improved performance in drive chain, aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance, and bike mass, when compared with its predecessor.
In order to help raise funds, AeroVelo has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Backers can pledge between CAD 5 to CAD 1,000, with rewards such as T-Shirts, scale models, and an hour long phone call with the team leaders offered. The campaign ends on July 9.