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Video: Swiss daredevil pilots rocket-powered bike to over 200mph

Even faster bike in development, the Spine Crusher

Swiss nutcase, sorry, daredevil François Gissy has set a new world record of 333km/h (207mph) for a rocket-powered bicycle. Aboard the appropriately-named Kamikaze V, Gissy powered through the 200mph barrier at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet in the south of France on Friday November 7.

We're not sure that a bike with rocket engines attached still counts as a bike, though in its favour Kamikaze V does have what appear to be mountain bike wheels, and a derailleur. Not that there's much gear shifting going on at 200mph.

How does it feel to ride at 200mph? "It's not fun, your heart pounds really hard," Gissy told corsematin.com. "The fun comes afterwards, when you see the [speed] numbers."

The bike was fuelled by 90% pure hydrogen peroxide, powering rockets designed by Neracher Arnold. While the frame is custom made, many of the components are standard bike parts, though the tyres were tested by Michelin to 300km/h for an hour, with 100kg on each. A front wheel blow-out at 300km/h really doesn't bear thinking about.

Gissy made three runs on his way to the new record. For the second he was accompanied by a Ferrari, which he left standing on the way to 260 km/h. On the third, he beat his previous record of 263km/h.

Gissy and his Exotic Thermo Engineering team are planning an even faster bike for another record attempt in 2015. The Spine Crusher rocket bike will accelerate at 10g, twice as fast as the quickest rocket-powered motorbike, reach 300km/h in around a second, and top out at over 400km/h. He's looking for sponsors.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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