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Steam & Distance Records Smashed

The Guinness Book of Records does note some pretty far-out achievements, the latest of which are the furthest distance travelled on a tank of petrol, and the fastest steam-powered bike in the world.
How much do you expect to get from a tank-full of unleaded – most bikers would be very happy with 200 miles, but how about 2,600? A team from Acerbis, the Italian accessory manufacturer, has done just that, riding from Albino in Italy to North Cape in Norway without stopping for fuel. The caveat is that this was no normal bike, but a Honda Grom with a specially made fuel tank extending to pannier tanks which can swallow 108 litres alone. At a steady 45 mph and over 100 mpg, the Grom did the rest – still, it was enough to bag Acerbis the Guinness furthest-on-a-tank record (prototype class). We just wonder how the little Honda handled with 85 kilos of fuel on board…


Meanwhile, Yorkshireman Graham Sykes has set a new world speed record for a steam-propelled motorcycle, hitting 163 mph in 3.87 seconds over 1/8th mile at Elvington. Graham’s steamer works like a jet, using superheated water at very high pressure, released through nozzles to produce thrust. It certainly works well, though it does take about four hours to get the water up to temperature (250 degrees C and a pressure of 40 bar/600 psi). Like the Grom, this steam bike is clearly still in the prototype class.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, was bemused by both these records, saying: “Crickey, how much does a Grom weigh? I can just imagine what my old C90 cub would have felt like, like having my Dad on the pillion, all the way to the North Cape. At least the Grom pilot wouldn’t have had the ‘benefit’ of my Dad’s advice! That steamer sounds awesome, like sitting on an unexploded bomb, I’ll stick to the ‘how many miles from a tankful of petrol?’ challenge thank ’ee. ”

Written by Peter Henshaw

All images courtesy of  Acerbis