What if you powered a motorcycle with a jet engine? How fast could you go?
Marine Turbine Technologies’ President Ted McIntyre asked Christian Travert, who is a former racer and custom builder, to head up the creation of a motorcycle powered by a turboshaft engine. Travert delivered the MTT Y2K Turbine Motorcycle, also known as the Y2K Turbine Superbike powered by a 250-C18 gas turbine The Y2K Superbike's turboshaft engine used a chain and sprocket with a two-speed gearbox to drive the rear wheel.
Each Y2K is built to order. Jay Leno owns the bike with serial number 002, the first “production” bike. He said, "It really does scare you half to death, but it's great fun." Surprisingly, the Y2K doesn’t need jet fuel; it’s been run on diesel, kerosene, and even Bio-Fuel. In 2006, MTT showed a model using the more powerful 250-C20B engine.
The MADMAX has outdone the Y2K in the quest for speed. Though powered by the Rolls Royce 250-C20B helicopter engine, it’s actually road legal. Zef Eisenberg, who lives on one of Britain’s Channel Islands and is the brain behind Maximuscle supplement, owns MADMAX. Building on the first Y2K models, his company replaced the two-gears with a single-speed gearbox that had a multi-plate carbon dry clutch. The aluminum fly weights and spindles were replaced with titanium parts. The Harley-Davidson wheels were replaced by BST carbon fiber rims. The suspension and the computer system were updated. In fact, so many changes were made that little remained of the Y2K foundation.
Eisenberg’s Madmax Race Team raced the bike at the Straightliners Speed Record event in Elvington, UK in 2015.
The team garnered three new records:
World’s fastest Turbine Motorcycle – 1 mile (one way): 233.7 mph
World’s fastest Streetfighter – 1 mile (one way): 231.6 mph
World's fastest flying quarter mile for Turbine Motorcycle: 3.91 sec
The bike is street-legal—in fact, Eisenberg often rides the bike to events. Last year, he beat his own record and set the land speed record at 234.1 mph.
The problem with going even faster is keeping the wheels on the road. Ducati is tackling that problem using jet power in another way. It’s using the engine exhaust as thrust, as rockets do. But the thrust is not being used to power the bike forward. Instead, it’s angled to keep with front wheel on the pavement while the motorcycle is accelerating. In theory, the pressure of the exhaust could be adjusted constantly and the rear wheel could get as much power as possible.
And guess what! Ducati might just use this technology when it puts its V4 engine into a street legal bike.