Suffer No Substitutes — The Hudspith Steam Bicycle Is One-Of-A-Kind

In a bit of punky, steam-based tinkering, Brittish engineer [Geoff Hudspith]’s obsession for steam and passion for cycles fused into the Hudspith Steam Bicycle.

Built and improved over the past thirty years, the custom steam engine uses a petrol and kerosene mix for fuel, reaching a top speed of 32km/h and has a range of 16km on one tank of water. While in motion, the boiler is counter-balanced by the water tank on the rear as well as the flywheel, water pump, and the other components. However, [Hudspith] says he doesn’t have an easy go of it carrying the bike up the flight of stairs to his flat — as you can imagine. A steam whistle was fitted to the bike after insistence from others — and perhaps for safety’s sake as well, since it does take a bit of distance to stop the bike.

Many people have offered large sums for it — and at least one house in exchange for the bike — but [Hudspith] has held on to this one-of-a-kind steam-machine. A little more about the development of the bicycle can be read here! A video of the bike in action is waiting after the break.

A steam-powered bike is cool and all, but how about a tank? Or — better yet — a Raspberry Pi?

[Thanks for the tip, Jasmine!]

25 thoughts on “Suffer No Substitutes — The Hudspith Steam Bicycle Is One-Of-A-Kind

  1. If someone would be kind enough to do some open source free to use system for connecting a pi to all the modern bike electronics (theres a ton these days), they would get a world of cyclists thanking them. Every single one of these electron items is beyond vastly overpriced. All clinging to secret technology (cheap off the shelf parts) and custom software (also off the shelf code, usually free to use)

    Its wide open for someone with the skills to do some good and not rip everyone off.
    It would look great on a resume :p

    1. What would have a ‘bike computer’ do that the current ones (often under $20 US) don’t do? Those calculate speed, distance, lap times, show the time of day, pedal cadence and other stuff. I recently put a Schwinn-labeled computer on my mountain bike that I bought for $19.98 at Walmart that included the pedal sensor. I’m not sure what I’d want a big clunky computer based on something off the shelf to do differently. If I wanted GPS technology, I’d just buy a $10 phone holder for my handlebars or slip the phone in my pocket and let the nav software talk to me through an earpiece.

  2. Not wanting to be a concern troll here, but I wonder how he’s getting round the various rules & regulations governing motor vehicles here in the UK? Or maybe he hasn’t, and is just subscribing to “forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission”.

      1. Came to say exactly this…
        only if it doesn’t go past 15km/h it is all legal.

        P.S. I’ve been faster than 15Km/h by leg power alone, technically that is not quite legal either:\
        Undue care and attention whilst operating machinery, pedling furiously (Even if you are slow pedling calmly on a 100 tooth BB, LOL)

        1. faster than 15km/hour is illegal?! I guess you’re not dutch :-) 15 km/hour is my average cycling speed, and that’s a normal city bike, no electric stuff or racing bike. It’s not even *that* fast for running. You’re sure you don;t mean 15 *miles*/hour ?

        2. My dad got prosecuted for “Pedalling furiously” but it is 60 or so years ago now.

          Not sure about the 15 speed limit, there are also regulations about allowed power delivered and it is an AND function, not an OR.

        3. Can’t imagine myself getting fined for *speeding* on a bike LOL.
          I regularly do 28-30km/h on my road bike going to/from work, so uhhh how do I say this… it’s kinda sad if what you say is true where you live.

      2. No, the law applies to any kind of mechanically propelled bicycle that can exceed 25KPH (roughly 15MPH) without assistance, and has a motor more powerful than 200W. If it exceeds those limits then it counts as a moped and needs to be taxed and insured appropriately. As this machine is described as being capable of 20MPH then it is definitely in the moped category.

        1. Funny thing… The gov says 200W (250W whilst we were in the EU and the Police would turn a blind eye).
          The problem is:
          200W-nominal rating of the motor?
          200W from the motor output shaft??
          200W of consumed power by the motor from the circuits, battery etc???
          200W touching the ground from the wheel after wastage through mechanics etc????
          200W peak only, i.e. 10W but pulls 200W to get moving?????

          There are bikes that are 150W nominal rating but 3KW peak (Peak being an undefined length of time in peak, lol)
          The law at times can be very vague in this area,
          depending on the policy enforcement officer and his mood at the time, they may confiscate a 10mph 180W bike because they think it is too powerful according to the peak power in the manual (Say 280W peak) and yet let the person with that 4KW bomb-on-wheels rip their throttle and Li-ion pack wide open at 30mph!

          Yes, Bomb-on-wheels because I have seen one go up where the battery was ridiculously small compared to the performance requested of it.

          1. The rules are basically designed to ban DIY electric bikes, eventually.

            Even if you were in accordance with the law in every way, if the police decides to pick you up, there’s no reasonable way you can prove to them there and then that your homemade e-bike adheres to the law. From the police officer’s point of view, all the documentation you may have, stickers, boiler plates, circuit diagrams, might be written in klingon because even if they know how to read it, they can’t know you simply didn’t forge them. You can have a 3 kW motor with a “200 W” sticker on just as easily as you can file off the “80 cc” from the side of an aftermarket cylinder to your moped that’s supposed to be 50cc.

            Even if they had a portable dynamometer built for bicycles, they wouldn’t be able to test that you don’t have a secret kill switch for the purpose, so all the evidence you may give that you are within the law is meaningless. You cannot prover yourself innocent, so if the police decide they have a “reasonable suspicion”, they can confiscate your bike and send you to the court.

            The only way they can be “sure” that you are within the regulation is if you are riding a factory made bike by a reputable maker (ie. no China specials either), so they can inspect to see that it’s not modified for the relevant parts – no extra switches or suspicious wires etc.

  3. I looove motorised bicycles…steam, diesel, petrol, electric…they are just the most awesome fun to tinker with and ride. Immensely popular in post-war periods of austerity. Looking for an affordable retirement project that will take you back to childhood? My money is on a motorised bike. :-)

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