HyperRocket: 125 mpg, 100+ mph 3-wheel motorcycle

by Benjamin Jones on May 8, 2009


What does a Ford Motor Company fuel economy technical expert do for fun at the end of the day?

He heads home to his own shop and custom builds an aerodynamically efficient, two-passenger, 3-wheel motorcycle capable of 125 mpg (US) at 65 mph (1.9 L/100 km @ 105 km/h) and a top speed of over 100 mph (161 km/h).  And then after using it for 3,200 miles (5,150 km), he puts it on eBay to make room in his garage for the next version which will be a plug-in hybrid.

“After working [on] improving conventional production car/truck fuel economy I wanted to try something with fewer constraints,” says EcoModder member John (HyperRocket).  Now there’s an understatement.

(It kind of makes you wonder how many house painters go home at the end of the day, budding Picassos, to toil on masterwork canvases…)

His street legal, 2-seat, tandem vehicle is registered as a motorcycle and was engineered for both high efficiency and fun:

  • the drivetrain is from a Kawasaki Ninja: a 250cc liquid cooled, four stroke, DOHC 2 cylinder tuned with an exhaust gas analyzer for best efficiency & driveability
  • six speed manual transmission
  • weight: 505 lbs
  • excellent 0.16 coefficient of drag, calculated through GPS-based coast down tests
  • HID projector headlight up front, and LED’s elsewhere (front turn signals are integrated into the side mirrors for aerodynamics)
  • safety features include 4 point seat belts, roll bar and front mounted IMPAXX crash foam as now used in NASCAR sides

John claims fuel efficiency of 105 mpg (US) (2.2 L/100 km) cruising on the highway at 65mph when equipped with the bling wheels and sporty gearing, and even better numbers with a couple of additional mods: “When equipped with the pictured motorcycle tires (not included) and a smaller rear sprocket it achieved 125 mpg @ 65mph.”  (1.9 L/100 km @ 105 km/h)

If you think a vehicle like this might draw attention, John confirms that with a good anecdote:  After being stopped by police and explaining the project to the curious officer, ‘back up’ was called in.  “Four squad cars showed up, several houses of neighbors came out and the whole thing turned into a spectacle. No ticket, everyone was genuinely interested in ecomodding!”

The trike’s eBay auction has a starting bid of $15,600 USD. While not questioning the design or workmanship that went into the machine, we wonder if that price will draw efficiency-minded bidders in these days of $2 per gallon gasoline.   Undoubtedly his work would have grabbed a lot of attention last summer, when fuel prices were driving people into a frenzy, paying utterly ridiculous prices for used Geo Metros to save money at the pumps.

Best of luck, John.   We’re looking forward to seeing what rolls out of your shop next!

Follow the discussion about the HyperRocket in the EcoModder forum


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1 Hal Sumption May 21, 2009 at 7:10 pm

I am working on building a similar vehicle – I am curious what he used for the frint suspension components….

2 Benjamin Jones May 22, 2009 at 2:25 am

Hal –

You might try asking in the forum thread where he has been responding to questions.

3 Uncle B June 9, 2009 at 3:15 am

A mortgage busting commuter ! Way to Go! Keeps me dry in the wet weather and gets me back and forth grid-lock free and with no parking problems! Yes! Wit GM no longer producing life-threatening SUV’s and sheet-metal land cruisers, these smaller more sensible commuter cars will be safer too! Give this guy some carbon fiber and polymer composites lessons and the body just could get lighter yet! I want one, to help me pay down my mortgage. Keep up the good work

4 Vinny Sena November 1, 2009 at 1:55 am

Please send me catalog and price. I will like to purchese one

5 ramen November 11, 2009 at 12:26 pm

That sure looks great, great food for though to see what can be built by ourselves, with some knowledge, lots of time and lots of dedication. Always hungry to see great stuff like this! The e-bay auction reminds me of that jet that was for sale a few years ago! 😉

6 UK Engineer November 20, 2009 at 3:30 am

Great vehicle but I was surprised to see the profile of the nose. A raindrop shape rather than a point ought to be more wind efficient. But perhaps there was some other consideration which led to this choice. And as mentioned above, with composites you could reduce weight and achieve more dent resistance.

7 David Hartwig January 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Looks like a modern Meserschmidt. I would like to see more. Make a kit and many will purchase it. Good Job and thanks.

8 HSA January 28, 2010 at 8:13 am

so how do you get a chick on the back of that thing?? ; )

9 sao paulo architect January 28, 2010 at 8:23 am

So who wants to start a biker gang with these things? looks pretty cool, maybe you could get ducati to sponsor one!

10 Gas Mileage Calculator July 3, 2010 at 9:19 am

Yes it does look like a Messerschmitt derivative 🙂 here’s a pic of one at the microcar museum:


11 olmon March 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Would have thought it would have gotten better milage then that. The Tri-Magnum (plans used to be available from [I think] Popular Science) supposedly obtained milage in the 80/85 MPG range using a Kawasaki 900CC for power. It also performed like a rocket and was a heck of a lot better looking.

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