Steam Rocket Bike Breaks the Land Speed Record. On 21st May 2023, Graham Sykes clocked a top speed of 163.8mph as he completed the 1/8th-mile drag run in just 3.878 seconds and then on 7th July 2023 at Santa Pod Raceway Graham ran a time of 6.7189 seconds over the standing 1/4 mile track with a 1.0605 60ft. The 1/8 mile time and speed were 4.038 at a staggering 175.06mph which takes the record for a steam-powered vehicle to over 175mph!
At CPE we are super proud of Graham and his team’s achievements, it has been fantastic to support the project and see it succeed.
To Find out more about the Steam Rocket Bike Breaks and the pressure vessel that powers it click here
Over the last 10 years, we have supported Graham Sykes on his Force Of Nature Steam Rocket Bike project. The project aimed to produce a steam-powered rocket bike with unique green credentials and the potential to reach 200mph making it the fastest Steam powered vehicle ever.
The bike works by superheating pure water to create pressure. Once the correct pressure is achieved the water is then passed through a specially shaped nozzle, the superheated water flashes to steam as it escapes through the de Laval nozzle creating rocket propulsion until the bike’s pressure vessel is empty. The heat is generated by using hydrogenated vegetable oil to reach 200°C and 30 bar pressure.
We designed, manufactured and certified the pressure vessel to meet Graham’s specifications at our Tamworth facility. The vessel required custom-made parts and specific dimensions to help optimise the bike’s performance. Initially, we made a 50 litre Stainless Steel 316/L vessel and then after testing we made a 130 Litre vessel to increase the capacity of the bike, heating tubes run through the vessel to get the water to 200°C.
Team Force of Nature:
The force of nature team is a small family-run precision engineering company, Graham Sykes and his wife, Diane.
Chief designer and engineer Graham Sykes has been involved in straight-line motorsport since 1979. Graham has worked on many prestigious projects including six years as race engineer for Vauxhall’s championship-winning British and European Touring Car Team, engineer and key team member for the ‘Firestorm’ jet-powered dragster and is currently part of the engineering team working on ’52 Express’, a world land speed record motorcycle. Graham is the current British land speed record holder for a 3-wheeled vehicle achieved with his self-designed and engineered V8 engined ‘Syko’.
Graham’s wife Diane takes on the role of financial director and purchaser. Not unfamiliar with motorsport Diane has been inherently involved in running the bikes for the last 22 years; crewing for the team on the start line and towing the bike back after completing runs. Diane’s strengths also come into play with the administration/accounts, travel logistics and hospitality, something every project is lost without.”
A full article was featured in Race Engine Technology – Issue 139
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Thanks to Graham Sykes and Becki Ellis Photography for the photos.