Home
A first glimpse at Tom Donhou’s attempt to propel his own bicycle to 100mph behind a Ford Zephyr

Tom Donhou, he of Donhou Bicycles fame, just sent us over a video trailer for his recent attempt to cycle through the 100mph barrier on his own handmade creation. The bike, which stole the show at Bespoked Bristol, features a massive 104t chainring and low slung handlebars.

Tom is fascinated by the glory days of speed record attempts during the 60s, and that spirit of adventure and the engineering challenge has clearly inspired him, as he has set off in pursuit of his own personal record. Tom has built a bicycle - without the aid of advanced computer software, wind tunnels and a team of engineers it should be noted - which he feels fits the brief.

"I built this with the intention to feel it out. I don’t know how fast it can go. [100mph is] my best guess as to what I can do. I built the bike how I thought it should look. No wind tunnels involved, it’s all grassroots. It’s done in that spirit of those guys in the 60s testing jet engines in their sheds."

So here’s the video trailer, to whet the appetite before the full documentary is released. It’s got a certain Le Mans/Steve McQueen feel to it, we think.

Tom will be using a Ford Zephyr as a pace car. If you’re wondering, the current record for a motor-paced cyclist is an astonishing 166.9mph, held by Fred Rompelberg (he broke 11 world records in all), which he set in 1995.

Turn the date back to the 1930s and 1940s, and there was a string of motor-paced records, with Alfred Letourneur pushing the speed higher on successive occasions, going past 100mph in 1941. That was on a Schwinn behind a modified midget racer.

The desire to go fast on a bicycle is evidently still strong. Most recently Frenchman François Gissy, who set a new world speed record in the rocket-powered bicycle category, going 163.4mph.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

10 comments

Avatar
wildoo [36 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

There could be a serious flaw to the plan when he discovers a Ford Zephyr is unlikley to ever get to 100mph!

Avatar
dullard [140 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

A Ford Zephyr?

Avatar
David Arthur @d... [694 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
dullard wrote:

A Ford Zephyr?

Yes that's right, a 1960’s Ford Zephyr 6 Mark III http://www.tristanconorholden.co.uk/post/43592256833/im-shooting-an-incr...

Avatar
meehaja [24 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

this gets me really excited! This is proper 8 years old, who can go fastest, dreams realised type stuff! Makes me want to get a bigger chain ring and some flat concrete and ride my bike as fast as it can go!

Avatar
Ham-planet [112 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Why on Earth would you fit mechanical discs to a completely bespoke frameset? All I can think of when I see them is Halfords BSOs.

Avatar
ch [187 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It's not a record then, it's just for fun. Well, that's alright.

Avatar
Welsh boy [295 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

What a rubbish video. Good job he had protective gear on to spray a line on the road, those spray cans can be deadly in the wrong hands  22

Avatar
antonio [1125 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

If he had moved as fast as the video clip, the record would have gone.

Avatar
Ginsterdrz [81 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Love the bike, love the sentiment, love what he's doing!

Avatar
brandobiker [22 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

A Ford Zephyr was only a 4cylinder engine that ran out of wheeze about 85, you would need a Ford Zodiac which had a straight6 engine and would top 100mph easily  16