"Crazy stiff carbon" bike in Beautiful Games Olympic show at V&A Museum of Childhood

By Ben Miller | 03 August 2012
A computer-generated image of an athlete on a bike in multiple colours against black
Computational fluid dynamics of a triathlete© Sheffield Hallam University
Exhibition: Beautiful Games, V&A Museum of Childhood, London, until September 9 2012

At a shade under £1,200, the Planet X Track Bike sped by Irish cycling machine Martyn Irvine features, according to its manufacturers, “crazy stiff carbon”, “razor sharp reactions”, “podium proven spec” and, across its power-punching red and black frame, a carbon aero seatpost and full carbon forks.

For those unable to own the self-styled “bee’s knees of track bikes”, a state-of-the-art example is on display in this collaborative show between the V&A and Museums Sheffield, poised as one of the highlights of an exhibition which ponders big questions such as whether a sharkskin swimsuit might make you faster, the precise amount of training required to win a gold medal and where the line lies between fair and foul play.

A running blade, Penny Farthing bikes and the ball used in the 2010 World Cup final also turn up, as well as a virtual bike race, reaction speed testing against the clock and a skeleton bobsleigh, with technology partly overseen by experts from Sheffield Hallam University.

  • Open 10am-5.45pm. Admission free.

More pictures:

A computer-generated futuristic image of a figure in a blue sports suit in motion on a bike
Computational fluid dynamics of a cycle helmet© Sheffield Hallam University
A photo of an old-fashioned, thin bike with a slightly larger front wheel than back one
Boneshaker (1870)© Merediths London
A photo of a bike from a bygone era with a huge front wheel and a tiny back one
Penny Farthing (1870-1892)© Museums Sheffield
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