60 MPH On The Flats? With The Air-Spear It May Be Possible

WORLD Racing Air Spear Jim

Life long martial artists Jim Wing has only been a cyclist for one year. But his goal of pedaling to the speed of 60 MPH under his own power may soon be realized. The key to achieving such a feat? …the “Air Spear.” See it in action, next.

WORLD Racing Air Spear TT Bike w Car

Wing is utilizing aerodynamics technology borrowed from automobile racing. His relationship with WORLD Racing’s technical director, Eric Plebani, has resulted in the creation of the “Air Spear,” a custom fabricated fairing design to direct airflow around Wing’s broad shoulders.

WORLD Racing Air Spear Jim Wing

Wing tells the story of talking with Plebani: “I was complaining to him about my inability to maintain sustained high speeds on my bike.” The technical director’s assessment: “Jim, you are as wide as an ox! Don’t worry about losing bodyweight. You are like a diesel engine; you generate lots of power but have a very wide aero signature.” Hence was born the Air Spear concept.

WORLD Racing Air Spear Car

The inspiration for a front air dam came from Plebani’s work with WORLD Racing and its unique take on aerodynamics and auto design.

As a result of training with the Air Spear, Wing states he has “noticed the bike is incredibly fast,” noting, “I don’t create nearly as much wind resistance as when I rode without the Spear.” The above video documents Wings first “shake down” ride with the Spear leading the charge. Due to its relatively flat and straight course, Wing anticipates setting a course record at New Jersey’s City-To-Shore Century in September.

WORLD Racing Air Spear Fabrication

The Eric Plebani designed Air Spear is of aluminum construction, and a weight of 2.2lbs. This unique design is allowing one novice cyclist to chase his personal ambitions on his own terms. Jim Wing and Eric Plebani are two excellent examples of individuals passionate about their sport who are unwilling to let the status quo stand in the way of their goals. We salute them.

 

 

Comments

mtbtec - 05/30/14 - 7:40pm

My palms started sweating watching that video.

Xris - 05/30/14 - 7:43pm

Interesting concept. I guess the last picture is the UCI legal version?

Furious - 05/30/14 - 7:50pm

Just an idea Einstein, make the panel section of clear poly carbonate so you can see where you’re going in a tuck position. If you can indeed get into a tuck position.

Brendan - 05/30/14 - 7:51pm

This fairing might give Wing a slight aero benefit, but there’s no way he’s getting to 60 mph on flat ground with it. You absolutely need a full enclosure to reach those speeds. Drag has as much to do with the low pressure zone behind you as it does with the high pressure in front.

anonymous - 05/30/14 - 7:52pm

Don’t think so. Record is in the low or mid 50s for a fully faired upright.

I’ll also be amazed if they let him participate in any mass start event with that thing.

lawyerknowitall - 05/30/14 - 7:59pm

This is funny. Novice cyclist, karate master, thinks he can hit 60 mph on the flats with a little wing. Not going to happen. Even if he did, giving that thing to the public would be a liability nightmare.

il Bruce - 05/30/14 - 8:00pm

Erm, um, ah… But I,uh…

Brian - 05/30/14 - 8:03pm

Superfluous aerodynamic afluvia

MaraudingWalrus - 05/30/14 - 8:07pm

But GoPros mounted to helmets are Aero.

Rob - 05/30/14 - 8:28pm

He’s unveiling this at a MS fundraiser ride? Please avoid mowing down me, my wife, the kids, friends, and those riding with MS while you “spearhead” yourself to failure.

Darryn - 05/30/14 - 8:30pm

Don’t the pointy edges on that thing just look like so much fun?

Matt - 05/30/14 - 8:41pm

I wasn’t aware charity rides had course records…..

MB - 05/30/14 - 8:43pm

Bah. There’s also his weight to overcome. He may be strong but power to weight ratio has to be a factor. Put Cavendish or Sagan on such a rig and maybe it’s possible for a second or two.

Greg - 05/30/14 - 8:55pm

@Brendan
+1

Groping Gorilla - 05/30/14 - 9:01pm

Seriously, a super inexperienced tri-hard going after a course record at a charity ride with a big metal arrowhead on his bike. What could go wrong?

Hotep - 05/30/14 - 9:01pm

In the follow up story, Eric will design a fairing for Jim’s ego.

Speshy - 05/30/14 - 9:02pm

Don’t care…not enough duck tape.

Brian T - 05/30/14 - 9:13pm

Maybe he could also learn to spin a little. You can see how bad he’s rocking back and forth in the video. And just maybe he shouldn’t go for “shake down runs” on a public bike path. Just a thought…

Dan - 05/30/14 - 9:29pm

It looks like certain death for anyone he plows into. I hope he never rides that bike with any other cyclists in front of him

msg - 05/30/14 - 9:37pm

What kind of gearing would one need to cruise at 60mph? Appears to be a fairly std chainring…

1gr8sailor - 05/30/14 - 9:38pm

For all the d*bags worries about getting speared, I’m pretty sure the edges can be rounded. Not many parts on a bicycle are pleasant to get get hit by– Weather it works or not, who knows–

Rico - 05/30/14 - 9:56pm

I have to love this guy. True meatball innovator. Cheers bro, I like the passion. The little voice “Twenty five point eight” or whatever was max lol.

goridebikes - 05/30/14 - 10:20pm

I just wish he would start with a more aggressive fit.. those shifters look nearly even with the saddle.

CXisfun - 05/30/14 - 10:29pm

This is a joke. Right? Why is this an article? This guy slapped a death sentence onto his aerobars. There’s plenty of dumb stuff like this going on all the time. maybe next report on the guy that attached bar ends onto his bar ends to create the worlds most upright mountain bike?

Jake - 05/30/14 - 10:32pm

I’m going to put one of these on my VW bus.

Wheelfast - 05/30/14 - 10:36pm

Spearing someone with a blunt edge sounds awful. What I really want to see is him ride this thing in a crosswind.

Steve P - 05/30/14 - 10:57pm

Ok recumbents have been running fairings for years, and they are a heck of a lot safer if you run into somebody.

rupert3k - 05/30/14 - 11:08pm

Good on him for having a go.
Bike tinkering / experimentation is to be applauded rather than derided.
Although he might be a bit of a dag, he’s also a legend for trying.

(Dag is an Australian and New Zealand slang term. In Australia, it is often used as an affectionate insult[1] for someone who is, or is perceived to be, unfashionable, lacking self-consciousness about their appearance and/or with poor social skills yet affable and amusing. In New Zealand, it is used to describe an amusing, quirky and likeable person (as in, “He’s a bit of a dag”)
The literal meaning is a dung-caked lock of wool around the hindquarters of a sheep – an abbreviation of “daglock”)

Pacific - 05/30/14 - 11:23pm

Right, this shouldn’t be an article.

jw - 05/30/14 - 11:40pm

Going out for a “shake-down” on a public bike path is downright irresponsible and thoughtless in every way. Hopefully someone can help this “novice” biker understand that trial runs and course records have no place in an area shared potentially shared with true novice bikers. Public bike paths are a place to provide safe thoroughfare and recreation, not KOMs and speed runs.

Topmounter - 05/31/14 - 12:00am

He should install this on a tandem and get Stephen Seagal to ride with him. I bet they can hit 120 MPH.

thesteve4761 - 05/31/14 - 12:37am

Step 1: Steal Underpants
Step 2:
Step 3: Go 60mph

Just4thehellovit - 05/31/14 - 1:23am

Definitely not the ‘pointy’ end of aerodynamic research. All that forcing his body to tuck low and behind a fairing and he still hasn’t covered much, wait till he gets passed by a few highracer recumbents with the riders already in a better aerodynamic position just by laying relaxed on a reclined seat.

Mihaly - 05/31/14 - 1:36am

It is possible, but with a recumbent bike.
http://funride.hubpages.com/hub/RECUMBENT-BIKES
Live your dream :)

lev - 05/31/14 - 1:53am

Wow! You road bikers are a Bitchy bunch… Did you used to slate other peoples clubs and carts, when you were all Golfers a couple of years ago.

Pblo - 05/31/14 - 2:01am

Wait wait wait wait wait wait….are those spd 520 pedals?

Flip - 05/31/14 - 2:34am

@lev – We all know (and are probably bored by) the “cycling is the new golf” trope, but I seriously doubt that the nerds that read and comment on this are the type this cliche refers to.

Mindless - 05/31/14 - 2:58am

Wut?

Guy - 05/31/14 - 3:25am

Geeze, just let the dude have some fun with shadetree engineering. This is clearly not going to market yet we’re crapping on someone’s personal goal. Realistically there’s more to reaching a speed like that than just a wedge on the front of a bike, and for us armchair engineers this same design could be done with tubing/bolts/duct tape. So Graeme Obree knows a bit more about the physics of Vmax on a bike and has proven himself. But with this guys martial arts background, I’m not going to tell him to his face that what he wants to do is impossible. Ride on black belt, ride on.

Jonas - 05/31/14 - 6:36am

I saw this on Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. My first thought was is this guy trying to get a tan with that thing up front.

Steve - 05/31/14 - 7:04am

wait a second….. a new bike part that ISN’T made out of CF!?!?!?!? the weight weenies won’t be buying that!!! it’s 2.1 lbs too heavy!! LOL!!

notapro - 05/31/14 - 7:59am

Most of you probably have never seen 35mph on a descent with a tailwind. What would be a better article to cover? A strava kom circle jerk?

Jake - 05/31/14 - 9:19am

Looks like a 52 chain ring, wonder what his cadence would be at 60mph.

MaxV - 05/31/14 - 9:47am

60mph on the flats?? Never gonna get there with that fairing. Every time that pointy leading edge comes off of 0-0 angle of attack the drag coefficient goes up. Watch the wobbling of the point with every stroke. Drag goes from side to side as it goes off center. Any cross winds will make for an interesting ride. Hang it out of your car window @ 60mph and you will see.

If you want to get aero with a fairing, take a lesson from current speed skiers and the shape of their leg fairings and helmets. With speeds 150mph+ they have learned a lesson or two on slicing through the air and handling. Pointy leading edges were tried back in the early 80′s with poor results. It was quickly found that if your nose wasn’t dead center into the oncoming air, one would get radically pulled side to side. ‘Ruddering’ we called it. Not fast…and scary!!

Remember that when airspeed doubles, drag multiplies by four.

Bikelink - 05/31/14 - 10:45am

I guess he needs a AYHCSMB sticker. Yeah he’s a novice cyclist and his dream may seem absurd but he’s dreaming and enthusiastically cycling, so I love that bikerumor is embracing him and his story (remember all the “normal,” i.e., non-cyclist, people think we’re all crazy). He needs some more experienced cyclist/coach mentoring. We’ve seen this guy on the bikepath in Philadelphia, PA, USA. If he reads this there’s an informal weekly time-trial on Martin Luther King Blvd (West River Drive) every Sat morning at 7am…it’s the perfect setting to work on his speed and test out iterations of the setup. There’s tons of experienced cyclists in our area and coaches. Email any of the contacts on our website and we can pass on info about the time trial (it’s not run by us) or other resources.

Scott - 05/31/14 - 10:49am

Karate instructor = aeronautic engineer.
To all you PhD’s of Science, you wasted you time.

Phillip - 05/31/14 - 10:53am

wow an aero dynamic road bike – who could think of such a thing?!?

OH hang on truely aero bikes were outlawed decades ago, and those who still work in aero human power have not just stuck a pitiful fairing on the front of a tri bike.

HELLO full fairing recumbent anybody?

Why did bike rumor bother posting this? An embarrassment….

25hz - 05/31/14 - 11:27am

How is this even worth an article? If the write wanted an article on bikes and aerodynamics, why not do even a little reading on recumbents? They’re all about efficiency, aerodynamics and fairings of different designs and sizes. As a builder and metalworker, that looks just scary, not to mention the questionable aero benefit. Here, http://www.recumbents.com. It’s a freebie.

Alex - 05/31/14 - 12:20pm

Pretty sure the “air dam” on that car is for down force, not drag reduction….

Padrote - 05/31/14 - 12:58pm

@lev sorry I really have no appreciation for uneducated “next big thing” people who jump headlong into a well established field like bike aerodynamics with no frame of reference

The Conductor - 05/31/14 - 4:21pm

Bikepath warrior. I’m sure the guy he was heading towards was “wtf?”

Bike Humphries - 05/31/14 - 4:27pm

I’m gonna hit 60 on the flats the Olde Fashioned Manly way! Behind a freakin’ steam engine! ;-) http://www.bikereader.com/BR%20pics/train.jpg

Durishin - 05/31/14 - 5:13pm

Meh! Crabon fibre’ or nothing!

Hotep - 05/31/14 - 6:39pm

@Guy If you read Bike Rumor, you’re a bike geek. If you’re a bike geek, you KNOW what kind of effort it takes to get a bike to 60mph. No armchair engineering involved. It’s common sense. Hell, Cav (the best sprinter we’ve seen in 5 generations) can *only* hit 80kph+ in a sprint.

So this guy thinks he can hold 60mph with an aluminum kite on the front end? With this set up, there is NO way on God’s green earth he’s getting anywhere near 60, unless he rides off the side of a cliff.

Pete - 05/31/14 - 6:54pm

Dear Jim, there is this thing called a wind tunnel…

Devin - 05/31/14 - 7:11pm

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure how you could get all the way to the fabrication stage without doing a fairly cursory internet search on human powered vehicles and seeing the kind of work it takes to go that fast. I’m a big fan of garage builders sticking it to the man (Graeme Obree….) but this feels like the kind of insane that’s reserved for those who are new to a sport and have no clue what they’re talking about. Like a freshly minted mountaineer saying he’s going to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen cause he built new crampons.

All that said, with the width of his shoulders, if he can construct an airfoil full enclosure, wait, still no.

Professor - 05/31/14 - 9:37pm

I love this guy!

Jason - 05/31/14 - 11:07pm

I admire his dream. Maybe when his fitness catches up with his ambition he will find a way. Until then:

Bow to you sensei !

Rico - 06/01/14 - 12:24am

Maybe you guys didn’t look at his youtube channel. He has some sweet vids of breaking pine boards with a side hand chop. If he knows that type of physics I’m sure the air spear is legit. Or at least it’s good enough for him to feel comfortable backing. :p Pine boards side chop, air spear, hoverboard…

What? - 06/01/14 - 6:48am

What percentage, do you think the chance is, that he scalps himself with that thing in a crash?

Ronin - 06/01/14 - 7:19am

For all those bringing science into the discussion (you know who you are) STOP!
You have never experienced Chi Power.

What we have here is, the last air bender :-)

I’d also like to remind you that Chuck Noris does karate.

JMUSuperman - 06/01/14 - 12:52pm

Clearly this would be possible with another wing coming off of the back of the bike (like the cars pictured). I took 6 months of karate in middle school, so I know what I’m talking about.

Saris Mercanti - 06/01/14 - 2:48pm

If you’re interested in replicating yourself, you can check out Null Wind’s kickstarter..

http://www.bikerumor.com/2014/04/23/null-winds-upper-wheel-fairings-blinds-headwinds-with-science/

Dan Barnes - 06/01/14 - 3:19pm

I will go ahead and name it. “The Guillotine”. In any head on collision everyone is at risk:)

Dr D - 06/01/14 - 6:08pm

Upcoming headline: “Local man impales family with ‘air spear’ bicycle contraption”

ginsu - 06/01/14 - 9:49pm

I can tell you from HPV fairings, that is not an optimized design at all. They should submit some design requirements to a local university with an engineering program. Senior engineering students will be assigned to optimize and create prototypes as part of a class to complete their graduation requirements. Best of all, it’s all free to the sponsor, they just have to provide a minimal development budget for materials. It’s a great way to get some actual engineers helping you develop a product.

MagliaRosa - 06/02/14 - 4:05am

Good luck to the fella, but please – not near any other road user. At least the thing’s name was judiciously chosen.

Jim Wing - 06/02/14 - 6:21am

Jim Wing here….I never said in my interview with BR “60mph on the flats”. You all seem to be having a grand old time with your endless critical comments. Ok it’s going to be like that then…. I checked for a second time what I emailed to BR VS. what BR posted. Two critical words were omitted from my interview..”down hill”. For those of you that took the time to read my blog and offer training and technical advice…thanks. For those of you that have seen fit to attack me personally…ok we can have it like that.

Psi Squared - 06/02/14 - 8:41am

Well, if your intent is to go 60mph “down hill”, find some mountains, Wing. You’re going to need a monster chain ring if you think you’ll be pedaling at 60mph.

Jeff - 06/02/14 - 9:14am

Is this what Phil and Paul meant by the sharp end of the peleton?

jim wing - 06/02/14 - 9:23am

Wingsdailynews.com

AlanM - 06/02/14 - 9:32am

@Jim Wing, I only have one criticism for you. Don’t do this on a bike bath. I mean, what could go wrong with high speeds while in the aerobars on a path, right?

Ryan - 06/02/14 - 9:58am

Looking at his arms v his legs…. he should still to martial arts… that bikes not going anywhere fast!

Todd - 06/02/14 - 10:08am

This is a terrible idea. They already have human powered bikes that actually can reach those speeds. Look at how they are designed. Great the guy have been riding for a year, woopy. In the video it did not even show how fast he going with that contraption. I bet I could beat him on my P3 tri bike.

Jim Wing - 06/02/14 - 10:50am

@AlanM absolutely not we are looking for a section of road with a slight down grade with a long run off to slow the bike down. I live by philly and will start scouting locations soon. I just spoke with the bike mechanics at my LBS this am about putting on a larger chain ring (right now running a 55) not sure how big we can go without having to modify the frame. I do only training rides on the bike paths where I live. For the rest of you angry trolls:
http://www.wingsdailynews.com/2014/06/60-mph-on-the-flats-my-reply-to-the-cyber-bullies/
as always thanks to the folks that have contacted me with technical advice…much appreicated!

NotAMachinist - 06/02/14 - 11:28am

Jim,

In the end it’s all just riding bikes and having fun.

That said, I was well over 50 coming down a mountain this weekend. I’ve been over 60 many times. It’s a bit scary actually. At that speed if something goes wrong, it goes wrong quickly and badly.

Good luck, have fun, stay safe.

gabby - 06/02/14 - 12:57pm

why not start with wheels? I feel like thats a fairly obvious starting point. if you want to tinker with welding aluminum why not stick a couple of trash can lids together on your rear wheel.
Should not be an article.

Slow Joe Crow - 06/02/14 - 12:57pm

I’m looking forward to Bike Snob’s response to this. Between the aluminum paper airplane on the bike and the skull and crossbones on his aero helmet BS is going to have a field day.

On a more serious level, this appears to appears to be yet another case of making the cool looking thing instead of the aerodynamic thing since a rounded teardrop fairing would be way more efficient because air is getting under that fairing and causing turbulence. I’m also wondering where the deep section wheels are?

PBMTB - 06/02/14 - 2:06pm

I would like to see a cage match with Jim Wing and Rex Kwon Do.

saupak - 06/02/14 - 4:03pm

@Jim Wing – Why a fairing for 60mph downhill? I admire your creativity, but I can recommend several mountains within a few hours of Philly where 60+mph is easily achievable jabbing gone well over that shows myself on a conventional bike in a tuck.

kurti_sc - 06/03/14 - 1:20pm

I’ve been smiling and giggling for the last 10 min. thanks for the convo y’all. This is awesome.
I wish the guy well. with some hard work and some local mentoring, i think he’ll find a reward for his efforts. it may not be 60 on a flat, but if he can work up to covering 35kms in less than an hour, he’ll know that is an achievement.

bjr - 06/03/14 - 2:32pm

More ‘experienced’ (i.e. old) riders might remember the Zzip fairing. Well, Zzip is still around and makes all sorts of fairings for all sorts of bikes (mostly recumbents, but double diamond frames as well).

http://www.zzipper.com

But I wouldn’t recommend arriving at that century ride with the present set up…

dena - 06/03/14 - 3:59pm

@Jake
If his crankset is a standard 53/11 he’ll have to hold 160 cadence. I say get a trackie…

Jim Wing - 06/05/14 - 6:14am

@bikelink I followed your link and clicked on contact info but the links seem broken so I cut and pasted and asked for info via email.
thanks
Jim

Me - 06/10/14 - 2:27am

Beating a charity ride time record is like winning the special olympics.

Me - 06/13/14 - 11:39pm

Btw, the lady doth protest too much, methinks.

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