Golden Eagle Bicycle Motor at the 2003 Bonneville Salt Flats!
We had SO MUCH FUN, when we took our Bicycle motor to Bonneville, we have to share!
Golden Eagle needed to be officially clocked, actual proof of the speeds it is capable of – to show what could be reasonably expected, regardless of location and riding condition or surface. It is said an engine will loose 20% performance at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, because of the elevation and track surface, we thought “this sounds like a good test”. The mental images conjured by the word ‘Bonneville’ were big, fast machines and rocket cars. We were excited when Utah Salt Flats Racing Association assured us we would be welcome, the same rules would apply to us as the Bar Stools (bar stools!?!).
What would the track be like? Would racing tires sink, like they would into sand? Would a fatter, knobbier tire be better? What % performance loss would the Eagle bicycle motor experience? Well, if a bar stool can do it, we’re game!
Yes, it does taste like salt! My first step onto the salt felt like walking on a frozen lake with a dusting of course, gritty salt stuck to the surface. It’s hard and cold, not like ice but the solid salt carries a chill you can feel when you spread your hand flat.
There is a carnival like atmosphere; friendly, smiling people moving from venders, to the food booths (complete w/tent, tables & chairs), and among the pits for all the entrants – Cars, Motorcycles, Bar Stools and Unicycles – with big engines and human powered!! We don’t feel ‘out of place’ at all.
1st – it’s to the inspection tent. The Eagles are closely checked for mechanical condition – tires, brakes, overall safety. Now it’s on to the track.
Dennis is on the left, on the right is Robert Craig, a customer and good friend from San Diego, CA who decided, at the last minute, to fly over to meet and ride with us. Thank You Robert!!! Can’t tell you how much I appreciate Robert making that first run for me!
“Photo curtsey of Hal Cannon, Western Folklife Center”
There are three lines on the 130 Club track, everyone gets into line and run in the order of arrival – we’re right in there with everybody else. The salt on the track gets deeper after several days racing the large machines but crews drag the track, clearing much of the excess salt and smoothing the track. We’re ready!
This Stock 25.4cc Komatsu Zenoah/RedMax engine is ‘right out of the box’, without even the advantage of being broken in. Mounted on a 26″ Giant Sedona with 150lb rider, the best run for #L137 was 30.868mph. The figures show we are only loosing aprox 10% on the speed; I was just happy I remained upright that 1/2 mile and didn’t go sliding off across the salt. This looks too much like sand, even on a motorcycle if I see sand I’m going down, I don’t attempt snow and ice.
This unused, stock 25.4cc Eagle is mounted on a 24″ Mongoose MGX DXR and is fitted with a pipe we had been testing – we are hoping for more torque for better hill climb power, not additional speed, the Eagle is fast enough for a bicycle. The best time for #L136 was 31.565mph with a 175lb rider. We were expecting a power loss and were happy with this speed, it was not until we returned to MI that it was noticed the Strato Charge line was split. (wasn’t noticed or was Dennis afraid Robert would beat his time? Humm, I wonder.)
Stock 25.4cc Golden Eagle Bicycle Motor, mounted on a Giant Simple with 700c tires. Fitted with a different pipe we have been testing for high end torque and speed (some customers want to compete on the tracks). With a 200lb rider, #L138 achieved a top speed of 37.760mph.
Heading back to Salt Lake City on our way home, we reflect on the great time we had, the nice people we met, the sights we had seen
– wondering – what would my speed have been if the engine were broken in? If I had run out the full mile? If I used a different jet? That settles it, we’ve GOT to go back! Next year! Maybe we’ll even think to get real “store bought” numbers for the bikes instead of having to use paper plates. Maybe some of our other customers would like to join us there? Robert says he’s bringing His bike next year! Hal and his bud, Roly, may even build up an Eagle for the Streamliner class.