Lightning F-40

The World’s Fastest Production Bicycle — made in the USA.

Lightning F-40

“Is it a rocket? Is it a car? No, it’s a push bike clad in aerodynamic fairing. Malcolm Lamming, of Angmering, West Sussex, uses his unusual bike for his 64-mile round-trip into and out of work at Portsmouth each day. Mr Lamming, 42, an engineering manager, flies past becalmed traffic on the US-made Lightning F-40, which he bought in Germany. The machine cost £4,000 and has a top cruising speed of 35 mph.”

The London Times

Read this owner’s F-40 Testimonial!

Record Setting Performance

The Lightning F-40 is the fastest production bike ever to hit the street! Among its many world records is the ultimate road test — the Race Across America. The four-man relay completed the 3,000 mile (4,800 km) course in five days, one hour — an average speed of 25 mph (40 kph) a record that still stands, decades later. Read the story of this amazing race and record here: HPV RAAM Story. The two F-40s used to set this record are also still ridden regularly.

The result of years of research, the patented F-40 has all of the performance advantages of a fully-faired custom racer, but is also practical enough for everyday riding, commuting and touring. It’s the ideal all-around performance bike. The spandex fairing means excellent ventilation, stability in crosswinds and results in an overall weight of only 33 pounds! The fairing is also great protection from cold or rainy weather.

This F-40 owner rode with the pros.

Here are two F-40s descending. The conventional bikes being passed are in fact also moving, they just look like they are standing still.

The F-40’s cruising speed is 50 percent faster than a standard bicycle and 6-10 mph faster than an unfaired Lightning. So if you can cruise at 18 now, say hello to 28 mph! Scores of cyclists worldwide now use the F-40 for sport and century rides, touring, and daily commuting.

“At the International Human Power Speed Championships in Eureka, California in August 1994 I rode my Lightning F-40 in the 200 meter sprint in 10.73 seconds. That is 67.1 km/h or 41.69 mph.”

Zach Kaplan

“I received the parts to upgrade my P-38 to an F-40 yesterday. I spent years trying to justify the expense. Today I started out on a 20 mile ride through an area that I ride very frequently. I wanted a ride that I was familiar with the area. I completed 30 miles 20 minutes off my fastest time on the P-38. Expense of the F-40 conversion JUSTIFIED.”

Huey Hutchinson, San Antonio, TX

The F-40 is based on the P-38, so you can buy a P-38 bike and later add the F-40 body and fairing. If you decide to upgrade a P-38 to an F-40, note that we highly recommend also installing the rear disc brake and front suspension. Once installed the entire fairing can be removed for open air riding, or for transporting the bike in just 5-10 minutes.

Andreas at Interlaken on a Lightning F-40

What’s it like to ride?

The Lightning F-40 is the easiest to ride fully-faired bicycle in the world. Once you’ve mastered the P-38, riding an F-40 is a simple adjustment. To start and stop, just slip your foot through one of the side slits in the spandex fairing to balance the bike. To get in out, just unzip the curved zipper. If you like the wind in your face, leave the windshield at home, or snap it on for the ultimate in aerodynamic performance.

WARNING: Due to the extreme level of performance achieved by the F-40, it is recommended for experienced riders only.

Obviously, aerodynamics are important on flat and down-hill sections, but aerodynamics can play an important role on moderate hills and rollers. Check out Gerry Pease’s analysis of the balance between aerodynamics and weight.

Many records have been set on the F-40; see our Racing Section, and the many stories about F-40 racers who’ve piloted the bike to victory!

NEW For 2011: 20” Aerospoke Carbon front wheel with Panaracer Minits Tough

Key Features of the F-40

  • Fastest production bicycle made
  • Proven P-38 frame, seat and mechanics
  • Only 33 pounds for the entire bike with fairing
  • Fiberglass nosecone attaches to welded on bracket for security
  • Spandex fairing provides ventilation, ease of cleaning and inexpensive repair or replacement in case of damage
  • Extra long, curved zipper for easy entry/exit or additional ventilation for climbing
  • Foot slits on both sides allow fully enclosed fairing with easy stopping/starting
  • Fiberglass rear wheel cover and Aerospoke carbon front wheel reduce drag compared to spoked wheels
  • Transparent headlight window for safe night riding
Red F-40 with middle section unzipped and long racing windshield
The Lightning F-40 in the Race Across America
F-40s line up for a big ride
Rear rack platform detail, allows luggage to be carried behind seat
Rack platform

Lightning’s Cyber Test Rides: See our collection of video clips showing Lightning bikes in action.

How to mount your Lightning F-40

Lightning F-40 Specifications

Specification Description
Sizes M, L, XL
Rider Height 5′2″ - 6′6″
Weight 32 – 34 pounds
Height 50″
Length 78 – 86″
Width 22″
Seat Height 18 – 20″
Seat back angle 50 – 65 degrees
Wheelbase 42 – 45.5″
Frame 4130 Chromoly aircraft steel tubing, nickel silver brazed, with custom investment cast seat lugs, and forged dropouts
Fork S-1 Chromoly, coil spring suspended, 1.5″ travel
Braze-ons Water bottle (2), pump peg (for Zefal HP pump), drop-out eyelets, cable guides, Headlight battery
Finish Two-stage electrostatic baked-on urethane powder
Frame Colors Azure Blue, Royal Blue, Red, Black, or Yellow. See the Accessories page for custom colors; see the full color chart here; see below for fairing colors.
Stem and Bars Custom oversize aluminum stem, heliarc welded to 22.2 mm (7/8-inch) drop handlebars
Seat Patent-pending Ergofit bend with TIG welded and heat treated aluminum frame. Nylon mesh back with fitted foam cushion.
Chain Idlers Machined Delrin with precision sealed bearing
Bottom Bracket Shimano
Crankset Shimano Sora; 30×44×56
Cassette Shimano LX, 11–36, 10 speed NEW
Front derailleur Shimano LX
Rear derailleur Shimano Deore NEW
Shifters Shimano Dura-Ace Bar End
Gear range 22 – 137 inches
Brakes Avid BB7
Brake levers Tektro / Hayes
Hubs Shimano XT
Front rim Aerospoke carbon 20″ 5 spoke
Front tire Panaracer Minits Tough 20″, 100 psi
Rear rim Sun CR18 700c, 36 spoke (1)
Rear tire Panaracer T-Serve, 700 × 28c, 105 psi
Chain KMC Z9000
Headset Shimano 105
Pedals Clipless (optional)
Fairing Fiberglass nose, Lexan windshield, Spandex middle and rear with aluminum support frameset.
Fairing colors Blue, Red, Yellow

F-40 prices and ordering information

F-40 chassis only, no fairing   $4,700
Rear luggage platform and rack add $100
Long racing windshield, quick-release pivoting mount add $250
Indicate the color you want: __________

Accessory prices and ordering information

See also our Accessories page.

Handlebar bag Buy now!
Slip on seat bag Buy now!
Hydrapack hydration bladder Buy now!
Chainring disc only Call
Chainring disc and chain guard tube Call
Cycle computer with cadence, Astrale Call
Fenders, Planet Bike Buy now!
Kickstand, for Phantom and P-38 Buy now!
Mirrycle mirror, brake lever mount Buy now!
Rear rack Buy now!
Panniers Buy now!
Pedal Extenders: decrease front wheel/heel interference Buy now!
Quick Adjust Kit/Chain Tensioner: allows full crank movement without adjusting chain Buy now!
Shorts Buy now!
T-Shirts Buy now!
Tilt steering Buy now!
Zzipper Fairing Buy now!
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California residents add sales tax of 8.25%

Shipping information

Bicycles are 90% assembled and shipped by UPS Ground 48 states.

Item Amount
Recumbent frameset or complete bike $120
Complete F-40 or F-90 with fairing $250

Payment information

The full amount is payable when the order is placed by credit card (Visa or Mastercard), money order, or personal check. For credit card orders, mail, or phone in the credit card info.

The F-40 is custom built to order. To place an order, contact your closest Lightning dealer, or the factory. E-mail us if you have additional questions about this amazing bicycle.