Aero is all the rage among the current crop of road bikes, but this specially-designed, fully-enclosed recumbent powered by a recent Dutch university graduate broke the cycling speed record.

It took the perservence and bike know-how of a sponsored group of Dutch university students and the flat, straight roads of the Nevada desert to make cycling history. Employing computer simulations, a slippery Formula One-derived coating, and a rigorous training regimen (15 to 20 hours every week for a year), students from TU Delft and VU University Amsterdam were able to push the boundaries of human-powered speed.

More photos and details of the impressive feat after the break…

record-breaking-VeloX3-starting dutch-record-breaking-aero-recumbent

Requiring perfect conditions, the speed record of 83.13 mph (133.78 km/h) was set over a 200 meter stretch of road with an 8km run-up on September 15th by Sebastiaan Bowier.  Even if the old record was more nudged aside than shattered (0.37 mph or 0.6 km/h faster than the previous record held by Canadian Sam Wittingham), the incremental gain at such speeds is still quite an accomplishment.

Via and the Human Power Team’s site.

All photos courtesy Bas de Meijer.


  1. First, despite his record being nudged aside, how amazing is it that Sam Wittington held that record AND is the man behind Naked Bikes.

    BikeRumor, do you have any info on the sanctioning body behind the record and the rules? I’m wondering if it’s anything like auto land speed racing, in which a speed has to be duplicated in order to stand as a record.

  2. ABW – The sanctioning body in this case is the IHPVA (International Human Powered Vehicle Association). The speed does not have to be duplicated. In order to be considered “legal”, the speed must be achieved on the track only once with wind at less than 328 ft/min (1.66 m/s) with vane meter measuring 10sec average into wind direction.

  3. The event was the World Human Powered Speed Challenge and it was sanctioned by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association. There were qualifying heats and speed runs. The IHPVA mentions a requirement of a mandatory backup run within 5% of the speed of the record run and within +/- 10 days of the record run.

  4. This is so cool! They put a lot of thought and training into getting this thing to go that fast. I wonder how fast I could pedal that bike?? Would love to ride in this!

  5. I really think it strange that the videos on the Dutch Univ Students’website for this 83 MPH claim show no independent radar gun proof nor Vehicle Speedometers in sync with this Aero Recumbent. I find it hard to believe that even Fabian C. could ride this fast! So, how about some independent verification?

  6. Speed records aren’t confirmed with radar guns or speedometers. They’re confirmed with timing over a well known distance. Cancellara would likely have gone much faster, and it’s really no surprise. Consider that the biggest source of power loss on a bike is drag, and that’s the biggest by far. If the bike above has 1/10th the drag of a traditional bike and rider, that would mean the velocity at a given power output for the bike above would be over twice as much as that for a traditional bike and rider. That bike no doubt reduced drag by significantly more.

What do you think?