Despite a lifetime’s experience riding motorcycles and servicing helicopters – putting the two together has been a major learning curve for Cambridge man Chris Minnee.
A motorcyclist for 45 years, he has ridden a variety of makes from Suzuki and Triumphs to Hondas. However, building the turbine bike is his first effort at a ground-up custom fabrication. The frame owes its more cultured bits to a late-model Triumph Rocket 3. The frame was cut in half and extended, the swing arm was raised by 60mm and the tank enlarged to hold about 40 litres – enough for an hour’s running.
The power-plant is a Rolls-Royce/Allison C20B type used in the Bell Jet Ranger and Hughes 500 helicopters. The turbine is rated at 420hp. As with turbine-powered helicopters the power-plant takes a few moments to wind up. The transmission is adapted from a Toyota 4WD and the noise is expected to be significant. After three years of work Minnee hopes to have the bike in one running piece later this year.