Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Records are Meant to be Broken: 80.4 MPH on a Steam-Powered Motorcycle

Posted October 21, 2014 9:30 AM by dstrohl

Breaking land-speed records tends to be a fairly difficult proposition. The multitude of venues for doing so nowadays has opened up the opportunities for record breaking, but has also attracted more racers going after records, ratcheting the speeds up higher every year. So it'd probably make sense to find a fairly old, fairly obscure record to break. Something like the land-speed record for steam-powered motorcycles, which was last set 118 years ago.

Or thereabouts. According to Stanley historian Jim Merrick, steam-vehicle pioneer Sylvester Roper had been timed at record-setting speeds atop his Columbia bicycle fitted with a steam engine at least twice in 1896-once at 27.07 MPH and then later during the last lap of a race at Charles River Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 32.4 MPH-and he claimed to have once hit 40 MPH with his motorcycle on a straightaway south of Boston. Roper died that year while atop his motorcycle during a race, apparently from a heart attack.

See the records of steam-powered cycles on Hemmings.

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Re: Records are Meant to be Broken: 80.4 MPH on a Steam-Powered Motorcycle

10/21/2014 10:26 AM
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Re: Records are Meant to be Broken: 80.4 MPH on a Steam-Powered Motorcycle

10/22/2014 3:39 PM

Thanks for the memories!

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Re: Records are Meant to be Broken: 80.4 MPH on a Steam-Powered Motorcycle

10/21/2014 6:28 PM

Don't forget this one. I used to always go and see it when I was visiting SF regularly at one time.

http://www.museemecaniquesf.com/image.php?img=/images/machines/steam_cycle.jpg

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Re: Records are Meant to be Broken: 80.4 MPH on a Steam-Powered Motorcycle

10/22/2014 3:38 PM

I wonder if a steam turbine has been tried?

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