The Black Pearl was unveiled at the Bigtwin Bike Show in Rosmalen, Holland, next to a poster of Captain Jack Sparrow. But unlike the legendary sea vessel of the silver screen, this Black Pearl is a land vehicle powered by a steam engine. Constructed by Dutch company Revatu Customs, the two-wheeled locomotive is a fully functioning motorcycle, albeit a slow one.
Although custom specialist Rene van Tuil, owner of Revatu, makes no effort to hide what inspired the name of his latest creation, it is a 2011 design by Colby Higgins that is likely to have sparked his creative flame. Named the Train Wreck Bike, industrial designer Higgins’ 3D rendering came about as he was exploring his “fascination with old fashion mechanics” and drew considerable publicity.
Staying faithful to the Train Wreck’s design, van Tuil built a motorcycle whose locomotive inspiration is obvious from every angle. The final transmission, an exposed crankshaft rotating the rear wheel by means of an eccentric pivot, mimics a steam train’s engine both mechanically and visually.
Adding a bell and a steam horn doesn't steer the mind away from trains either. A setup more familiar to the typical motorcyclist can be found at the front, where two shock absorbers connect the steering to the wheel through a trailing link structure, housing a drum brake assigned with the task of stopping the beast.
More importantly, the Black Pearl is a motorcycle one can actually ride. There is no official technical description, no mention of horsepower, torque or weight figures. In fact the only thing we do know is its top speed: 5 mph (8 km/h). Barely enough to outpace a pedestrian, it probably won’t set the asphalt on fire (considering the irony of riding a burning boiler a few inches off the ground). What it certainly will do is ride unlike any other motorcycle.
Talking about touring on it may be a bit premature though, at least until we find out how much coal and water it can store. Shorter distances are definitely more feasible, as Rene van Tuil proves with the following video of him (briefly) riding the Pearl.
Source: Revatu Customs
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