Half time trial bike, half recumbent, all custom

Is the Bird of Prey Superman's bike?

The bicycle has been called "the most efficient machine man has ever created," but that hasn't stopped innovators from trying to improve upon it. One such new design is called the Bird of Prey. It's a cross between a recumbent and a time trial bike with a dash of one of Graeme Obree's bikes thrown in there as well.

Check out the upside down drivetrain
Check out the upside down drivetrain

Bird of Prey claims

  • Aerodynamic. The world's fastest racing bicycle
  • Safety. Never go over the handlebars
  • Low centre of gravity 
  • Comfort. No more lower back pain or discomfort, no pressure on the prostate
  • Cross-training. Core workout

Each alloy frame is custom built in California
Each alloy frame is custom built in California

One man's vision

The Bird of Prey Bike comes from the mind of architect John Aldridge, based in Carlsbad, California.

The biggest hurdle for Aldridge was getting the frame built. In 2010, custom frame builder Russ Denny constructed the first prototype. The average weight, head angle and wheelbase numbers were not mentioned.

Position, gearing and safety

The prone riding position is said to improve aerodynamics and relieve back pain. One does have to wonder about hip and stomach issues as there's not much natural body padding around the iliac crest on the pelvis.

And what about riding on a full stomach? Or if having to go to the bathroom? What about neck pain from having to look up?

Will the UCI adopt this as a new time trial standard? I doubt it
Will the UCI adopt this as a new time trial standard? I doubt it

Interestingly, the upside down drivetrain's gearing is stout with a 60t chainring pulling an 11-36t cassette. That should make for some interesting starts from a standstill.  

The centre of gravity is lower and the improved safety claim is believable as far as not lawn darting over the bars, which is possible on conventional bikes. In a world of extremely twitchy, race-bred geometries, it's worth questioning how agile the stretched out position could be. 

Bird of Prey pricing

Intrigued about what all this uniqueness costs? Well, £3,729 / $4,800 / AU$6,067 gets you a custom aluminum frame built in California which can be ordered here

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

Related Articles

Back to top