Crazy fast motorcycle

Watching the history channel about motorcycles. Curtiss, of Curtiss
Airplanes, made a motor cycle in 1907 and drove it at 137 mph on the
sand in Florida. The motorcycle was barely a bicycle. It was hard to
tell from the pictures, but it looked as if the wheel spokes were not
even attached to the hubs on the tangent. I think it was in 1930 that
someone finally beat this speed record, and it was in a car. Curtiss
sure had big cajones.
ERS
Reply to
Eric R Snow
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That was actually a dirigible engine in that bike. I saw it at the Guggenheim museum in NYC a few years ago. The motor is V8 and air-cooled. Driveshaft drive, with an open bevel gear at the rear wheel, and an unlubricated strap-iron universal joint.
One trial was ended when the U-joint came apart.
The bike:
Now you might think that 138 mph in 1907 was fast. But Indian made a board track racer with a fraction of the displacement of Curtiss's behemoth - it had unusually modern four valve heads, chain drive, and no brakes. I consider those to be far in advance of what Curtiss did:
Curtiss's bike was a one-off stunt. That indian was a real production bike - not many were made, but they ran in extensive races.
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
Yep, but the 8 valve Indian wasn't made in 1907..
Tom
Reply to
Tom
Considering how little was known back then about motorcycle frame geometry and rigidity, let alone the state of tire technology, it sure must have taken some big brass ones. I think he was pretty dang lucky the tires didn't come apart or get into a high speed wobble. Sometimes ignorance -is- bliss...
Jon
Reply to
Jon Anderson
Jim, The bike didn't impress me as near as much as the speed at which it was driven. I would be terrified to go that fast on my bicycle, and it's brand new. With all the modern stuff like suspension and good tires. ERS
Reply to
Eric R Snow
I don't think they were brass. Too soft. Probably platinum or osmium. ERS
Reply to
Eric R Snow
He sure had some big ones, that's for certain.
Still, inspect that photograph of the bike carefully. It's well braced and the engine is basically a stressed member in the design.
I was very impressed seeing it in person, it *looked* like a 100+ mph vehicle. Real solid.
And don't forget, bicycle manufacture had been going on for 20 some odd years by this time, it was a pretty mature art. This is where all the manufacters were taking their clues from, mostly. I would be a heck of a lot more scared on that indian board track racer than on curtiss's bike.
Of course the issue of tires is the weak spot here....
Jim
Reply to
jim rozen
Sand can be a strange and unforgiving surface to go fast on. I'm sure the section of beach he chose was scrutinized well. And as long as everything went well, no problem. But if he'd gotten into any sort of high speed wobble, it probably would have been all over. Such wobbles can be induced by seemingly minor bumps or upsets. The bike does look like stability was part of the design criteria, they just didn't have much data on those speeds back then.
I'd take the board track over sand until it came time to land on my head... Heh, that reminds me of something I saw on TV years ago, probably late 70's. Some beach beauty contest, with various events relating to beach activities. One was a timed race down the beach and back on lawn mower engine powered minibikes. Don't think they had any rear suspension, maybe an inch or two up front. The women were in skimpy bikinis, but they did at least make them wear helmets. Well, there were puddles everywhere on the "track", and I knew that meant a low spot. One poor girl didn't figure that out in time. Hit one dip full tilt, did a couple tank slappers, and went down hard. Show might have been live, as I recall the announcer saying something like "Looks like we ought to take a break". When they came back from commercial, they'd moved on to another event...
Jon
Reply to
Jon Anderson
I drafted a station wagon on daytona beach on my 10 speed Viscount bike. We got up to an indicated 52 mph. I was just off his bumper and was one of the more secluded parts of the beach and the tide was out. 1978.
Reply to
daniel peterman
On a seperate note I saw a trailer for a new movie coming out next year. " The World's Fastest Indian " starring Anthony Hopkins. Looks Interesting. Here is a link to the HD trailer (requires Quicktime 7)
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if you don't have a fat pipe to load the large files, here is the normal trailer link.
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jim rozen wrote:
Reply to
machineman
A most excellent movie. A real metalhead's movie, which I saw in the local movie theatre a couple of weeks ago. Filmed in Invercargill, at the bottom of the South Island (new Zealand) - look out for the (current) mayor in a speaking role - just look for the guy with a huge smile on his face. Burt Munro (Hopkins) would have been an interesting character - our sort of people. Geoff (NZ)
Reply to
Geoff M
Out in Coneaut Lake ,PA there is a boat that was built back in the 20's that at the time was going for the world's speed record for on water , this was a Mahogany boat with a Liberty V-8 prototype airplane engine ,nobody knows how he got it since it was the design basis for the militaries V-12 Liberty they put in their aircraft, but anyway he had mounted this engine in a specially built wooden boat with a front rudder and when he went to take it out for its maiden voyage he hit a wake in the lake and the boat flipped and it sank ,well thats where 50-60 years later some divers found the boat and raised it and when they flipped over back on shore they removed the oil drain plug waiting to see water to come out ,but luckily nothing but oil came out a miracle in itself for sitting on the bottom for almost 60 years,well the spent a few years restoring it back to original and then when it was finished they decided to take it out for a run one time before putting it in storage, they had a newer speed boat for a chase boat and they went off across the lake well a couple minutes later the brand new chase boat was calling on the radio to slow down he can't keep up . It's amazing how fast some of this stuff from the early part of the century actually could go in comparison to some of our stuff today . A lil side note that Liberty V-8 was only of 3 known to exist ,one was in a private collection ,one is in the smithsonian ,but the one in the boat is the only one to actually start and run and it is a beautifully built machine ,I count myself lucky to be able to have gotten to see it.
Reply to
badaztek
Indeed it's gorgeous!! have a look-see:
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Bill
Reply to
BillP

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