Design Engineering

Canadian engineers to build world’s fastest bike

Mike McLeod   

General AeroVelo Cameron Robertson ornithopter Sikorsky Prize slideshow Speedbike Todd Reichert

Toronto’s AeroVelo aims to break human-powered speed record of 134Km/h.

14-July-AeroVelo-Eta-speedbike-625The Toronto-based group, AeroVelo, best known for winning the AHS Sikorksy Prize last year with their Atlas human-powered helicopter and for building and flying the world’s first human-powered ornithopter, the Snowbird, now have their sights set on a more terrestrial record.

The design and innovation lab — lead by Chief Aerodynamicist Dr. Todd Reichert and Chief Structural Engineer Cameron Robertson — says it’s gearing up to break the human-powered land speed record with a custom designed and built speedbike called Eta.

Currently, the record stands at 133.8 km/h, set by a Dutch university group last September at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain in Nevada. However, AeroVelo says its Eta bike, currently in production, is projected to blow past its Dutch rivals at a top speed of 145 km/h.

AeroVelo's BlueNose speedbike hitting 125 kph last year (photo credit: Tom Amick)

AeroVelo’s BlueNose speedbike hitting 125 kph last year (photo credit: Tom Amick)

The new bike’s design is informed by the group’s R&D vehicle, BlueNose, which has already hit a top speed of 125Km/h. Based on extensive on-road and track testing of BlueNose, the new bike will benefit from improved efficiency in every area, the group says, including a more aerodynamic shape, lower drag wheels, lightweight composite construction and increased drivetrain efficiency.


In addition to Reichert and Robertson, the group is composed of engineering students and volunteers. Long connected to the University of Toronto, the group serves as a experiential learning program for engineering students to apply their knowledge to real world design problems.

“Engineering for a human-engine fosters creativity and ingenuity thus providing an eye-opening experience to our students, and inspiring youth and the general public,” says Cameron. “Team members will go out into industry and society knowing how to do more with less, ready to solve the formidable challenges facing our generation.”

The Eta speedbike is currently deep in the detailed design and prototyping stage but the team says they will have it ready for the World Human-Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) in Battle Mountain, Nevada this September. Full details of the team’s progress can be found on its AeroVelo Kickstarter page.


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