Lightning’s racing heritage
Only Lightning has set absolute world records on a production bike that you can buy today!
Lightning has a rich racing heritage and almost fanatical rider devotion. Check out the latest racing stories, including media coverage of our records.
A Quick History
We’ve built world record setting bikes since our beginning almost 40 years ago. It all began with the White Lightning, the Abbott Prize winning fully faired streamliner co-designed and built by current Lightning Cycle Dynamics chief engineer Tim Brummer, which was the first Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) to break 50 mph, 55 mph, and 60 mph. Next came the Lightning X-2.
Many of the ideas and motivation for building Lightning X-2 began with Tim Brummer’s involvement with White Lightning, the record-setting fully faired tandem tricycle. While students at Northrup University, Don Guichard, Chris Dreike, and Brummer did all of the development and test riding for White Lightning.
During the competition years of the X-2, many people expressed interest in a very fast faired recumbent that could be ridden on the street for everyday use, as well as racing. The result was the Lightning F-40, the world’s first and only practical high performance faired recumbent, and the only production recumbent to set world records. The F-40 set the Race Across America (RAAM) cross-country record of 5 days, 1 hour in 1989, a record which still stands today! Racers such as Pete Penseyres, Tyger Johnson, and many others have won races and set records with this amazing bike. Pictured here: Andre Riopel setting the Canadian record.
Finally, a much improved model, the F-90, was introduced after a lengthy development process. Based on the many years of experience with the F-40, the F-90 is a big improvement over the F-40, and features a dual suspension carbon fiber frame as well as an upgraded fairing. The F-90 has even bested the original Gold Rush (with full Kevlar fairing) in road races! See IHPSC 1998 for more info.
For 2004 we developed a Kevlar hard shell fairing for the F-90, then used it to win the Race Across America! For more info go to RAAM 2004.
The U-2 was our unfaired racing model. A loophole on the USCF rules allowed unfaired recumbents to race in USCF time trials against upright bicycles. Of course, because the U-2 was so successful at these races, the USCF changed the rules to ban it from racing against upright bikes.
Numerous records have been set by Lightning Cycles. Listed are most of them, for more info about that record, click on the link, if available:
- First HPV to break 50, 55, and 60 mph (3 consecutive years): White Lightning
- Low altitude top speed record of 64.2 mph* X-2
- Worlds Fastest Bicycle (2 wheels), 55 and 57 mph (2 consecutive years)* X-2
- 43.6 mph for Multiple rider White Lightning
- 41.5 mph for Single rider* X-2
- 34.2 seconds for Female rider F-40
- 600/200 meter (1/2 mile) drag record, 52 mph White Lightning
- 603 miles in 24 hours* F-40
- Los Angeles to New York (2,910 miles) in 5 days, 1 hour F-40
- San Francisco to Los Angeles in 18 hours X-2
- Pete’s Seattle to Portland Win (1985)
- Penseyres and Lightning win the Seattle to Portland Challenge (1985)
- Pete Penseyres wins Seattle-to-Portland (1985)
- Paris to Loudeac, France (450 km) in 14.5 hours F-90
- Argus Tour, Cape Town, South Africa (100 km) in 2 hours, 27 minutes F-40
- Wawa to Sault Saint Marie, Canada in 6 hours F-40
Many of these records were set on the Lightning F-40. To see the F-40 in action, take a look at this video clip. Only Lightning has set absolute world records on a production bike that you can buy today!
Great Western Bike Rally hill climb recumbent times
- Tim Brummer (age 45), 1:19, Lightning R-84
- Zach Kaplan (age 28), 1:28, Ross Festina
- Tim Brummer (age 44), 1:36, Lightning Thunderbolt (35 pounds with kickstand, chain disc, chain tubes, water bottle, and seat bag)
- Ron Bobb (age 53) 1:52, Aluminum Gold Rush
Cool racing stories
- Lightning Wins at IHPSC
- Lightning in Paris-Brest-Paris (1995 and 1999)
- Lightning wins HPV RAAM, setting current RAAM record
* Note: This record has since been broken.
Not all Lightning riders are racers, of course. Click here to see what other Lightning owners are up to.