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The Black Pearl: A Real Steam Engine Motorcycle!

This is a fully operational steam powered motorcycle – and it’s awesome!

Updated August 8, 2018

Café Racers and Scramblers are ten a penny; check out this fully working steam engine motorcycle instead! If, like me, you appreciate a fine bit of engineering (no matter how impractical it may be) then you’re going to love the latest machine to roll out of Revatu Custom’s garage. It’s half motorcycle, half locomotive and it’s called The Black Pearl. Unlike the ship, this is a two wheeled beast and if that wasn’t enough, it actually works.

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Revatu’s Steam Powered Motorcycle: The Black Pearl

Unveiled at the Bigtwin Bike Show in Holland, Revatu Custom’s top dog Rene van Tuil showed off his latest creation with enough enthusiasm to sink The Black Pearl’s namesake. Rene took more than a hint of inspiration from a concept drawing named the ‘Train Wreck’ by industrial designer and artist Colby Higgins from 2011 – but let’s not that dilute the quality of the finished article.

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From the boiler to the exposed locomotive crankshaft, this build is as steampunk as you can get. The coal powered engine turns the exposed crankshaft via an obscure pivot, giving the Black Pearl an authentic steam train drive like nothing we’ve ever seen before. If you take a moment to appreciate the classic details like the bell and steam horn, you’ll be forgiven if you mistake this bike for a train.

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Underneath all of the loco-madness you’ll find a few more familiar features such as the front shock absorber assembly, alloy wheels (sure, spoked would’ve been better) and good old fashioned drum brakes. It’s got two wheels and a set of handlebars, so this is definitely more motorcycle than train, right?

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You might be wondering why something as bizarre as this is worth a feature and the answer is simple: looking at nicely sculpted café racers, scramblers and choppers is all very well and good but now that every beard toting hipster who owns a grinder appears to be cracking out a custom every week, it’s refreshing to see a true engineer take the art of custom building to the extreme. Rene has a vast portfolio filled with beautiful custom bikes in the classic sense of the word but his fascination with old school mechanics drove him to try something out of the ordinary – and the Black Pearl is exactly that.

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It might not be the fastest thing out there, popping out a top speed of 5 mph, and it’s certainly not going to attract many attractive sponsorship deals but we wish that more builders would take a risk and build something wonderful and unusual, rather than just sticking a flat seat and a set of low riser bars on another Yamaha for the sake of a pretty picture and fast cash.

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It’s cool. It’s a steam powered motorcycle for the sake of being a steam powered motorcycle. My only question is this: how much coal does it need??

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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