Guy Martin's motorcycle landspeed record didn't exactly go to plan, but both the man himelf and Triumph have vowed to return and give it another crack as soon as they can.
But what exactly makes up a twin-engine streamliner motorcycle underneath the sleek bodywork? As you'd expect, there's a lot gong on you don't see, wo we've got the run down on exactly what makes the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner tick.
Two three-cylinder Triumph Rocket engines with reduced capacity from 2294cc to 1485cc, to meet the 3000cc limit for the record attempt. They’ve shortened the stroke to reduce the capacity of each engine, which in-turn allows the engines to rev higher and produce more power – kicking out 1000bhp+ at 9000rpm. Each motor has a separate Garrett turbocharger, custom pistons, titanium rods and specialist cams, valves and retainers.
Each engine has its own stainless steel direct exhaust. To keep each exhaust cool, the headers are injected with a fine spray of water to reduce the immense heat. Inside the engine bay is basically like a sealed oven therefore the exhausts are coated to reduce the heat as much as possible.
The wheels are specialist one-off items made by Matt Markstaller’s team. The rivets around the outer wheel are there to secure the beading of the specialist Goodyear tyres. Each slick is specially made for the record attempt, and runs at 150psi in the front and 120psi in the rear. The front has a custom hub-centre steering system, with the rear being a more conventional swingarm with no linkage.
The front has three TTX36 Öhlins shocks, which are all fully adjustable, each one set identically with around three inches of suspension travel. The rear boasts two TTX36 shocks. The team admit they haven’t really played around with the settings; Guy just jumps in and wants to get on with it.
The bodywork isn’t just for show, it’s a carbon-kevlar monocoque chassis specially designed for the job. The idea is to keep the bike as streamlined as possible but to also make it stable. The reason it’s so long is to clean the air turbulence as it leaves the bike. The outer rear fins aren’t adjustable and are again they are there to smooth out the airflow.
Markstaller’s background is aerodynamics, and the team have spent countless hours in the wind tunnel making the bike as slippery as possible. Even the exhaust gasses have been accounted for, this is why they exit low towards the rear to cause as little turbulence as possible.
The main dash is by Motec and not only controls everything but is also used to collect data. It shows speed in mph with rev indication lights across the top. Because of its hub steering there aren’t any conventional bars – Guy just pulls the left joystick to turn left and vice-versa. The actual grips/bars are an aircraft design. The right-hand joystick controls the throttle, while the rear brake is under Guy’s right foot. The push-button gear changes are on the left bar; the buttons on the right bar are to kill the motor.
Each of the two engines are started separately via buttons on the dash. The levers where you’d expect to find the brake and clutch are to deploy the parachutes and stabilisers for stopping. There’s also a fire extinguisher switch on the left side, just in case. There is no clutch, so the 400mph Streamliner is more like a scooter. FIM rules state Guy must be able to unclip the 7-point harness and escape in under 30 seconds.
There’s no front brake – all the braking is done by the rear carbon brake and two parachutes. Once Guy wants to stop he will pull the first parachute, which is smaller and starts to slow the bike from 400mph, then he will pull the larger parachute for more braking then finally applying the rear brake at around 250mph. There’s a built-in slipper clutch to reduce engine braking.
Each engine is water-cooled, however the radiators are not cooled by direct air like on a conventional bike, as this would create drag and turbulence. Instead each radiator sits in a ‘water bath’ which is located under the main chassis, each one contains five gallons of cooling fluid. At the end of the run, while the team turn the bike around, they empty and re-fill the baths with fresh ice-cold water, whilst they re-pack the new parachutes.
The bike is powered by pure methanol. It will use around four gallons per run, with each run taking just one minute, and the bike is only on the throttle for around six miles. All this equates to roughly 1.5 miles per gallon. For the last five miles of a run Guy is only trying to stop, so the Streamliner doesn’t really use fuel. Good job, really...