Motorcycle industry news is pretty much dominated by innovative electric bikes, so it's a refreshing change to see an absolutely unique and very old school two-wheeler appear. The Black Pearl is a one-of-a-kind motorbike powered by steam.
The insanely cool looking creation was made Dutch bike builder René van Tuil, of Revatu Customs. The bike looks like a cross between an American Chopper and an early steam engine.
The Black Pearl bike won't break any speed limits
Van Tuil is a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, but unlike Jack Sparrow, this Black Pearl is not quick to get going. Powered by steam with rear wheel drive, the bike hits a top speed of just 8 kilometers per hour.
The steam engine is powered by coal. The Black Pearl moves in a really unique way thanks to its interesting design.
Attention and quirkiness evident in every detail
The coal powered engine turns an exposed crankshaft via an obscure pivot. Every detail of this bike scream steampunk. It is a highly detailed build with wonderful additions like the bell and steam horn.
While you won’t be getting anywhere fast on the Black Pearl, you’ll certainly turn heads. Custom motorbikes are a huge trend worldwide.
Motorbikes make a perfect base for mods
The relative simplicity of a motorbike compared to a car makes them perfect for experimentation and decoration. Customizing and improving bikes goes back a long way.
The first motorbike is difficult to pinpoint as they were developments in powered two-wheel bike happening all over the world. However early steam-powered bikes are accredited to Pierre Michaux, a blacksmith in Paris, who founded 'Michaux et Cie' ("Michaux and company") in 1860.
Steam-powered bikes went from Paris to U.S
'Michaux et Cie' produce a steam-powered motorcycle, the Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede, in 1867. The design quickly went to the United States where a patent for the design was filed in 1866.
Petrol motor soon replaced steam and motorcycles developed into how we know them today. These days bike designers and engineers are finding ways to add electric motors to motorbikes.
Electric bikes on the rise
This new generation of the bike is fast, furious and quiet. While some electric bikes are available at a consumer level, it is likely to still be a few years until we see electric motorbikes taking over the streets.
Revatu customs do a range of insane custom bikes as well as making specialty parts. If you are inspired to start a bike project be sure to check out their gallery.