This sleek, human-powered missile on wheels is called Eiviestretto and it's one of the world's fastest recumbent bicycles or HPVs (human powered vehicles). On August 2nd, Francesco Russo of Switzerland rode this custom-built streamliner to beat the world record in one-hour cycling by covering a distance of 91.556 kilometers (56.89 miles). The new record was set on the DEKRA Test Oval track in Klettwitz, Germany.
Built by a Slovenian team led by Damjan Zabovnik, Eiviestretto is a fully faired vehicle that is ridden in the supine position, with the rider utilizing a mirror to navigate. Its design principles attempt to keep the drag coefficient as low as possible, and minimize the frontal area. Beating the world record was the only purpose in building Eiviestretto.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The rider's helmet lies directly on the rear wheel fairing, and the overall interior space is so narrow that the rider can move only his legs. The custom-built recumbent bike is just 70 cm (27.5 in) high and weighs 21 kg (46.2 lbs), with a front surface area of 0.238 square meters (2.56 square feet). It's powered via the front wheel, which is 20 inches (50.8 cm) in diameter. The casing is made of carbon components and finished with an acrylic glass cover.
Riding Eiviestretto, Russo has managed to beat the previous record of 90.724 km (56.373 miles) that was set in 2009 by Canadian multi-record-holder Sam Whittingham. Russo's record hasn't been officially confirmed yet by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association.
While the average speed achieved by Francesco Russo during his one-hour speed trial is impressive, human-powered streamliners have gone even faster on flat surfaces. The top speed record holder is Fred Rompelberg, who reached 268.8 kph (167.0 mph) in 1995 at Bonneville Salt Flats, although it was in the wake of a motor dragster pace-car reducing the aerodynamic drag. Sam Whittingham holds the top speed world record in the 200 meter (656 ft) flying start speed trial, with a speed of 133.28 kph (82.8 mph) set while riding his Varna Diablo III. Greg Kolodziejzyk set a world record riding 1,046.94 km (650.538 miles) during a 24-hour speed trial in 2006.
The following video presents Francesco Russo's record-breaking ride.