It exists now, but probably never did 100 years ago.
It’s not often that we see a motorcycle that labels itself “fictional,” but that’s exactly what this pulsejet-powered machine that isn’t really a reproduction does. It looks straight out of the 1930s on purpose. It might be. It probably isn’t.
This unusual story about a particularly unusual machine comes to us via Silodrome, and the bike's creator, Per Gabos. Along with a too-large chunk of many countries’ populations, many objects and lots of knowledge were irretrievably lost during the second World War. One of those things, and some of that knowledge, argues Gabos, could have been a German-made pulsejet-powered motorcycle.
There were, apparently, a few prototypes of pulsejet motorcycles in the 1940s, so to imagine the Germans could have built one is not too far of a leap. This reproduction is a “fictional, experimental” motorcycle which Gabos hand-built with meticulous attention to detail.
The bike has no electrical wires on it, and adheres strictly to production processes and materials available in the early 20th century: lots of aluminum and a leather seat. The design, too, could fool someone who doesn’t know this machine probably never existed. The design philosophy behind this build is “what if the Germans had built it.”
It took Gabos two years to build this machine. Nothing is CNC or laser cut; it is all hand built and the techniques Gabos used are completely synchronous with its proposed era. Pulsejet technology has been around for decades. Heck, you can find instructions to hand-build your own pulsejet engine on the internet. Be warned, though, that, as seen in the video above, they are very, very loud–even when only one side is running! As you can also see, they are picky and finicky to start.
The bike has two Angus-valve pulsejet engines, one mounted to each side, which each put out 500 to 550 nm of force (that’s around 400 ft-lb per side); the top speed of the machine is estimated to be up to 150kph. That’s around 93mph, and the design of the bike, strength of the frame and its tiny tires will probably limit that speed.
It is a gorgeous machine, though, and fun to think about: what if WWII had not happened, what if we had all worked together to advance global technology instead of trying to kill each other instead? We’ll never know, but folks like Per Gabos are here to give us a glimpse of the possibilities.
Photo Credit Silodrome