Far-Ranger Powered Cycles Vehicle in Creus | World Anvil
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Far-Ranger Powered Cycles

The bike was fast. Damned fast. Tarvo flicked the control on the right handlebar that controlled the rear clutch plating, and there was nothing left between the flywheel and the rear drive wheel; the powerbike flew over the next hill on the road, and the guardsman took the next quarter mile of road in a front-wheel-up wheelie as the bike flew past roadside signs and sleeping cows, so fast that Tarvo didn't have time to even read the signs as he barrelled past them.   This Model Six was the latest and greatest, and Rathnait had caught him practically drooling when she wheeled it out of the charge garage. The Master Trader simply needed some papers delivered within a day, down near Port Ives, and the only way this was possible was with a Far-Ranger Cycle. So off he went, a massive dust trail in his wake, bemused power-wagons and power-trains watching him fly past them, and it was all he could do to not whoop and holler as he rode full tilt through the small recharger station towns on the way out from the Capital.   He remembered this next hill descent - a long and gradual straightaway, leading to the turnoff to Ebensberg. Tarvo leaned forward as the bike began to descend, and the little dial next to his left hand indicated that he had passed a cool hundred miles per hour, the fastest he had ever gone. He knew the record was one hundred and twelve, but even a hundred seemed risky enough; all it would take is hitting a rock, and he'd end up as ration paste smeared across the road. He flicked the clutch control on his right hand, and the bike began to slow, to a more reasonable forty. Forty seemed good enough. He'd have to check the rubber on the wheels, make sure they were in good enough shape to survive the rest of the journey.   Uff. He must have gone a little too hard. He could feel a bruise starting to form on his tailbone. Speed-demon riding did have its drawbacks.  
Tarvo gave Rathnait an apologetic look as he walked the cycle back into the garage. The papers had been delivered safely, of course, but the bike was ridden too hard, too fast; his grip on the handles had bent them backwards, and the rubber on the rear wheel was more or less completely shredded, the wood underneath chipped and warped. The powerbike had barely made it back to the Capital in one piece, and the front wheel was like to fall off.   The Master Trader gave the bike a glance. "So, did you have fun?" She smiled, but there was a cat-like gleam in her eye.   The guardsman nodded. "Just a bit. Enough to put it through its paces." As he said that, the bike emitted a loud 'crack' sound, and the double-pinned front arm of the bike sagged forward. One of the arms had cracked during the journey, and it had finally given out. The bike was now, officially, out of commission.   "Good." Rathnait pulled a pad and quill out from her fitted overcoat. "Give me a written description of what it was like, I need to get this to the editor of Sauvage and published in the next printing. You've got a little under a day."   Tarvo's face fell. "You didn't care about the paper delivery at all, this was a ruse to get a review. That's why the guy had no idea why I was there or what I was delivering." He groaned. Another nonsense errand that he got roped into.   "Oh, so you did think it through." Rathnait smiled. "You'll be fairly compensated either way, and I need to get this cycle repaired, so consider it a better use of your time than repairing the bike by hand yourself. I would have ridden it myself, but I think you're a far better power propulsion enthusiast than I am."

Power Generation

Ordinary Powered Cycles are simply ordinary Power-Wagons built with two wheels instead of four, but are fundamentally the same basic technology - riders merely have to be quite careful managing the clutch mating, as the amount of force required to move a smaller cycle is much less than a comparatively heavy wagon.   Far-ranger Cycles are a specialized advancement, intended for extremely long range travel without recharge. These cycles (nicknamed Powerbikes by the journals) are optimized for weight, doing away with an ordinary clutch and transmision coupling in favor of hydraulic contact mating between flywheel and rear wheel. This arrangement is, strictly speaking, less efficient, due to major friction loss through the hydraulic clutch, but saves significant weight over the standard cluth arrangement. The friction losses are more than made up for by the extremely lightweight build of the rest of the bike, coupled with an ingenious system that loads six fully charged flywheels in a magazine. Flywheels can be coupled until they're out of useful power, and the rider can stop and switch the flywheel out on the fly (and discard the flywheel, if necessary, to extend the range of the bike even further due to the weight savings).   One power-bike on well-travelled roads is capable of traveling more than six hundred miles on a full magazine of flywheels without recharge, with that range extended to seven hundred and ten if flywheels are discarded as they are exhausted. This is a full order of magnitude farther than any other vehicle available to the average Etoilean.


The hydraulic coupling system transfers rotational power from a mated flywheel directly to the rear wheel, with a maximum speed before the hydraulics automatically decouple; the rear wheel can be driven as fast as seventy-five miles an hour, though this top speed usually lasts for less than a few minutes before the flywheel becomes incapable of sustaining that speed. One major innovation unique to these far-range cycles is the wrapping of rubber around the wheel, in order to improve its high-speed performance. Wooden wagon wheels at this speed tended to shatter if bouncing against cobblestones.   Experimental builds of powerbikes have involved mating flywheels to both the front and rear wheels, driving both simultaneously; while this arrangement is capable of far faster speeds, the setup is unstable without extremely careful management of both front and rear clutches, nearly impossible for most riders.

Weapons & Armament

While vehicles of this speed are of obvious military interest, these cycles are simply too fast to be used practically - a soldier with a lance on a powerbike at full speed will find themselves unable to lower the lancepoint to strike a target with any speed, and smaller weapons like swords or maces are as likely to be ripped out of the hands of the soldier as make contact with the soldier's target. In addition, the common anti-wagon defense of deep trenchwork, while surmountable by careful driving of a regular Power-wagon, is likely to destroy a powered cycle on impact, due to the faster speeds at hand.

Armor and defense

Armor would defeat the point of maximum range and speed on a far-range powerbike; its defense is in a speed so fast that an archer cannot effectively lead the bike with their bow.

Communication Tools & Systems

Ordinary Power-Wagons and cycles are equipped with semaphores to indicate turns, but these systems were deemed as extraneous weight on far-range cycles; the rider is expected to use hand signals to indicate turns when in busy streets. A small hand flag is provided for this purpose, but as the meanings of various hand signals is not yet universal, most riders simply revert to the old standby of pointing where they intend to go.


While modern Power-Wagons are built with friction lights (and the newest, with lights forged from castings of Wizard's Undying Ember), a lighting system was eschewed as more pointless weight on this model of powerbike. This, of course, means that these powerbikes cannot be ridden safely at night, but this was an intentional design decision - regardless of the quality of the light, this bike would likely be unsafe to ride at full speed at night either way.

Additional & auxiliary systems

The Far-range Powered Cycle was conceived as a long-distance courier bike, and its cargo container was optimized for this task. Knowing that a lighter vehicle meant more transmissions of impact to the cargo, the container is gyroscopically and hydrostatically stabilized, to minimize damage to anything inside the countainer. Riders can fly over hills and hit hard landings and bruise themselves riding at high speeds, but fragile objects such as fruit in the container box are relatively untouched in the process. A similar system to minimize injury to the rider was discarded as not weight-expedient. Rough riding on an undampened cycle seat is likely to incur heavy bruising without wearing heavy riding leathers.
Related Technologies
~75mph topspeed
Complement / Crew
One rider
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
25lb of cargo

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