Photo ou archives : Ch. Vignes
1000cc Twin-engine / Hillclimber - 1991
The only way is up
Many disciplines that are rough, tough and spectacular are simple to define. Hillclimbing was developed in the US. It's easy enough in theory: You just have to get to the top of a dramatically steep slope. In practice, it's more difficult!
No Substitute for Inches
This is a truly one-of-a-kind sport, evidenced by the astounding motorcycles (if you can call these two-wheeled monsters that) developed specifically to climb reputedly impossible slopes. When faced with a climb of 1500 feet, up the steepest slopes, there's no substitute for inches. Anything goes, from super-tuned Harley V-twins running on nitromethane, to supercharged Japanese fours producing 200 hp; even two engines coupled together Â– as on the KTM shown, powered by two motocross 500s Â– are not uncommon.
Astounding Frame Design
The chassis design too is amazing. To stop the bikes from rearing over backwards, they use a very long wheelbase, augmented by tremendously long swing arms. To maintain grip, tires are fitted with studs, bolts, chains or metal spikes. Some machines even successfully use tandem rear wheels. These "vertical dragsters" display an astounding mechanical creativity on the part of their constructors, powerfully motivated by the big prizes offered to those who climb highest or even reach the top of the hill!
Engine: 2x500cc air-cooled single-cylinders mounted in tandem
Power Rating: around 140 hp
Fuel System: carburetor
Transmission: gearbox locked in 3-speed; chain final drive
Suspension: reversed telescopic forks (front); swing arm with 12 inch extension and monodamper (rear)
Brakes: disc (front & rear)
Wheels: 18 inch (front & rear); rear wheel fitted with 4 inch studs
Weight: 309 lb
Hill climbing is a popular and dramatic spectator sport, with America's most spectacular climb rejoicing in the uncomfortable name of "Widowmaker!"