MTT Y2K Turbine Superbike


MTT Y2K Turbine
Superbike
Year
2001
Engine
Rolls Royce Allison 250
series gas turbine
Max Power
320 hp @ 52000 rpm (286
hp @ rear wheel)
Max Torque
425 ft-lbs @ 2000 rpm
Transmission / Drive
2 Speed automatic
Front Suspension
55 mm inverted
Rear Suspension
mono-shock adjustable
oleopneumatic, Öhlins
Front Brakes
2x 320mm discs 4 piston
caliper
Rear Brakes
Single 320mm disc 4 piston
caliper
Front Tyre
Rear Tyre
Dry-Weight
190 kg
Fuel Capacity
34 Liters
Top Speed
250 mp/h / 402 km/h
I With a power output of
286bhp and a top I speed
of well over 200mph
(322km/h), I the bike that
was named Y2K and
produced by Louisiana firm
Marine Turbine
Technologies was almost
certainly the most powerful
and fastest motorcycle
ever to go into series
production. Given that Y2K
was powered by a gas
turbine engine previously
used in a helicopter, its
performance was hardly
surprising.
Jet engines had been used
to power drag-racing bikes
and a few one-off creations
before, but this was the
first time that such a
machine was produced for
roadgoing use. Despite
Y2K’s price of US $150,000,
there was enough demand
for Marine Turbine to build
and sell a small series of
machines over the next few
years.
Jet aero engine
With a Rolls-Royce badge
on its nose – the turbine
was Rolls’ Allison 250 as
used in the Bell JetRanger –
and emitting a high-pitched
whine of a kind normally
heard on an airport
runway, Y2K seemed the
most improbable of bikes.
But in one way, it made
perfect sense. Marine
Turbine Technologies
(MTT) specialized in taking
‘timed-out’ jet aero engines
– units that had reached
the strict limits on running
hours, imposed for safety
reasons – and using them
in new applications, from
boats to fire pumps plus
the occasional four-
wheeled vehicle.
When MTT president Ted
Mclntyre decided to add a
motorcycle to his firm’s
range, he appointed
Christian Travert, a former
bike racer and custom
builder, to head the project.
Jet engines run best at a
constant speed, and in
helicopter use the turbine’s
compressor spun at over
50,000rpm. For motorcycle
use, Travert added a
gearbox and clutch to take
drive through 90 degrees
to a sprocket, and from
there by chain to the rear
wheel.
The motor ran on diesel. ‘It
can use anything from
normal pump gas to tequila
or even Chanel perfume,’
said Travert. ‘But diesel
burns most efficiently, so
that’s what makes most
power.’ Travert also
designed and built the
chassis, which was similar
in layout to that of a normal
superbike – but much
larger and stronger. A
twin-beam aluminium frame
held conventional Öhlins
front forks and rear shock.
If that sounded almost
normal, riding the Y2K was
anything but. The bike had
a small TV screen in the
cockpit (connected to a
rear-facing camera) instead
of mirrors. When the
starter button was pressed
the turbine picked up
speed, its whine rising to a
shriek, until the rev-
counter showed 20,000rpm,
from which point ignition
occurred spontaneously
and the bike was ready to
go.
Low-speed acceleration
was unexceptional due to
the tall gearing dictated by
a two-speed gearbox with
automatic transmission.
Then the bike came alive,
accelerating from 50mph
(80km/h) with thrilling force
and a smoothness that was
almost eerie. Given the
engine’s power and the way
that Y2K scorched from a
standstill to an
independently recorded
227mph (365km/h) in just
15 seconds, MTT’s claims
of 250mph (402km/h)
performance were entirely
believable.
The turbine-powered
machine was too long to
handle like a sports bike,
and required plenty of
effort from its rider on a
twisty road. But it was
impressively stable both in
a straight line and through
fast curves. Its disc
brakes were powerful, too,
and
were needed often because
shutting the throttle did not
make the turbine slow in
the normal way.
Despite Y2K’s high price,
MTT found a steady
demand for what had to be
the world’s most
outrageous production
superbike. One bonus was
that the gas turbine-
powered machine came with
an engine warranty for the
life of the original owner. As
Ted Mclntyre put it, ‘Anyone
who blows up one of these
and lives deserves a new
engine.

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427 thoughts on “MTT Y2K Turbine Superbike

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