In many cases, they perform just as well as their fuel-burning brethren, and, depending on from where you get the electricity, they run cleanly. Now, they’re getting even cleaner with the introduction of the air-powered bike.
The O2 Pursuit, a project from an engineering school graduate in Australia, runs off compressed air stored in an on-board tank. Dean Benstead’s project began with a rotary air compression engine, around which he built a dirt bike. He started with a Yamaha WR250R frame, and added a scuba-diving tank and a 25-pound engine to power the rear wheel. Squeeze the throttle and air is released to accelerate the bike. And its stats are impressive. The O2 Pursuit gets 62 miles of travel on a full tank, and can hit a top speed of 87 mph.
Air beats electric both for convenience and environmental kindness. There’s no battery to dispose of when the cells eventually break down, filling up with air takes two minutes rather than hours required for charging, and it can be stored in an inert state forever. And while the air-powered car is little more than a four-wheeled scam we’ve been hearing about for decades, the low weight of a bike is perfectly suited for the application.
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