The World's Fastest Production Bicycle — made in the USA.
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 35mph. — The London Times
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.
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.
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.
- Dan Hansen Jr's great website featuring lots of F-40 ride reports, photos, and videos
- Paul Links riding a morning loop aboard his F-40
- Paul Links during a couple of his solo 200k rides on his F-40
- Other videos of the F-40 in action
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.
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
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
|Sizes||M, L, XL|
|Rider Height||5'2" - 6'6"|
|Weight||32 - 34 pounds|
|Length||78 - 86"|
|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|
See Full Color Chart
|Azure Blue, Royal Blue, Red, Black, or Yellow. See the Accessories page for custom colors; 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|
|Crankset||Shimano 105; 30×46×60; 170 to 175 mm|
|Cassette||Shimano LX, 11-36, 10 speed|
|Front derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano LX|
|Shifters||Shimano Dura-Ace Bar End|
|Gear range||22 - 145 inches|
|Brake levers||Tektro / Hayes|
|Front rim||Aerospoke carbon 20" 5 spoke|
|Front tire||Schwalb City Jet 20", 100 psi|
|Rear rim||Sun CR18 700c, 36 spoke (1)|
|Rear tire||Panaracer T-Serve, 700 × 28c, 105 psi|
|Bottom Bracket||Shimano 105 tube spindle|
|Fairing||Fiberglass nose, Lexan windshield, Spandex middle and rear with aluminum support frameset.|
|Fairing colors||Blue, Red, Yellow|
|Rear luggage platform and rack, add||$100|
|Long racing windshield, quick release pivoting mount, add||$220|
|Nightsun light system, includes tail light, add||$350|
|F-40 Chassis, no fairing, includes rear wheel cover||$4,500|
|Note: The F-40 uses the P-38 frame; see this special note on the Frameset page for more information.|
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.
Copyright © Lightning Cycle Dynamics, 1977–2015