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Tim Pickens’ Rocket Propelled Bicycle

rocket propelled bicycle

By David Ponce

And on we go with the jet/rocket powered instruments of everyday locomotion series. The latest is the Rocket Powered Bicycle from one Tim Pickens, president of rocket-design firm Orion Propulsion. It’s of course a home-made project, which took the man all of 1,250 hours and around $750 to complete. The result is a bike that is propelled forward by a rocket engine with 200 pounds of thrust, capable of going from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds: enough to give a Porsche a spanking on a straight line. The kicker? The contraption uses roofing tar as the main propellant.

The rocket bike employs the same hybrid rocket technology as the suborbital spaceplane SpaceShipOne, whose propulsion system Pickens helped design.

In place of synthetic rubber fuel, however, the bike uses ordinary roofing tar. To ignite it, Pickens placed a model-rocket motor inside the engine. A button on the handlebar fires the model-rocket motor, which in turn sets off Pickens’s larger motor by lighting the roofing-tar fuel.

And of course, you know that any such topic would not be quite as interesting without some video. So, come inside to see the bike in action.

[I'll have a rant out, one day, about videos watermarked to someone, in exchange for their going through the effort of putting them on YouTube. The skinny: watermarks should be used for copyrighted property; uploading doesn't confer ownership, IMO. But whatever, I digress. -Ed.]

[PopSci Article] VIA [TechEBlog]

PS: Yes, yes, we know: not new, not new. But, it’s a cool video y’all should see.







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  • Fishcat

    Uk only- Richard hammond is now ‘critical’ in hospital thanks to a similar idea.

  • mermaldad

    Unfortunately, the video is of a Swiss rocket bike, not Tim Pickens’. The Swiss one is impressive, though.