At 138 MPH, This Man has the Fastest Mountain Bike in the World
When your job description includes jumping out of planes, fighting henchman, and filling in for Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme, you're apt to lead an exciting life. For 54-year-old French stuntman Éric Barone, that includes a separate career as the fastest man on two wheels... mountain bike wheels that is. Barone has nabbed numerous top speed records on gravel and snow-covered mountains, and has actually held the record since 2000 at a screaming 222.22 km/h (138.08 mph). But on March 28th, 'The Red Baron' as he's known, took his mountain bike to the snowy slopes of the French Alps in order to top his own record-setting run, and we're pleased to say it was a mission accomplished. Take a look at the incredible speed record, below. RELATED: The 2015 Trefecta DRT is the electric mountain bike of the future
Trying weather conditions nearly put the skids on that day's attempt, with winds at the Vars ski summit whipping at 43 mph and temperatures dipping to -4 degrees. But Barone wouldn't be stopped. The Frenchman zipped down the hill and clocked a 223.30 km/h top speed, which equates to a blistering 138.75 mph – unquestionably very, very fast.
The project was the culmination of 3 years of work to design the bike, the suit, and find the ideal test location. According to Wired, Barone's sleek bike was crafted by Sunn, fitted with low-friction tires and specially built carbon fiber fairings in order to deter wind resistance. His suit was also equally purpose-built, made from stiff rubber. The odd plexiglass dome on his head? Yet another aerodynamic feature needed to beat the wind.
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In today's world of hypercars, 138 mph might not seem so extreme. But with nothing but a thin layer of rubber to protect you and chunks of snow waiting to catch you up, we're going to say it's terrifying extreme. For comparison's sake, the 1986 Shelby GLHS maxed out at 130 mph. Barone has it beat using gravity alone.
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