At the Fluid Power & Systems 2018 exhibition, held at the NEC in Birmingham from 10-12th April, motorsport and drag racing enthusiast Graham Sykes gave a preview of his steam-powered rocket bike named Force of Nature. It is the culmination of almost six years' work by the precision engineer, which involved designing and then producing all of the prismatic parts on a Hurco vertical machining centre, mostly from DXF files output from AutoCad and input directly into the machine's proprietary Ultimax CNC system.
A holder of five motorcycle land speed records on his V8 powered drag bike, The Syko, Graham's top speed was 181.39mph. Dynamic testing of Force of Nature on the track will commence following further satisfactory static tests.
They have already seen 600kgf of peak thrust over six seconds, which should allow acceleration to a speed of over 200mph in a quarter mile. A public launch will take place later this year when all tests are complete.
In preparation for a test run, a 60kW bio-fuel burner will be attached to the bike to heat 50 litres of water in the pressure vessel to 250°C and 40 bar pressure via a flame holder tube running through the centre.
Meanwhile, Graham Sykes Performance Engineering continues to design and manufacture components for other race teams, as well as customers in the food industry, from its workshop in North Yorkshire.