Jet-powered push bike can reach speeds of 120kmh
If the roar of a jet engine echoed from Batman's cave, it would be assumed that business manager Lucius Fox had created yet another extraordinary gadget for Bruce Wayne.
But when the noise is heard at an anonymous industrial warehouse in New Plymouth, it's only Paul Jury revving up his push bike - although this is a jet-powered push bike that can travel at speeds of at least 120 kilometres an hour.
"I'm heavily into gadgets and a bit into speed - anything extreme," Jury, the owner of Floorcoat New Zealand, said.
"You only get to die once so might as well get out and go, yeah."
The bike, powered by an AMT Titan micro-jet engine, was put together by Jury and his friends, including right-hand man Pete Wilson, a fibreglass composite technician, in the warehouse, which is filled with incredible toys all men would love to have.
"I wanted to make it a proper bike with a fibre glass shell," Wilson said of the creation, which is covered in zip ties, cables and carries a jerry can of fuel in the front basket.
"You know, something like Batman would have."
However, it's Batman's crime fighting colleague who has been seen with it. When Captain America, or Franz "Frenchy" Schuler, rode the bike at speed down the length of Devon St during the annual Americarna festival.
The 1.5kg engine pumps 36,000 litres of air a minute and consumes one litre of jet fuel in the same amount of time to achieve 100,000 revolutions per minute (RPMs).
It's worth about $25,000 "off the shelf", but Jury bought his for "considerably less" because it was one of 12 used in a project in Australia.
The story behind the bike goes back to Jury's friendly rivalry with fellow speed enthusiast Bryan Finnerty.
"We have this thing where we're always trying to outdo each other," he said.
"We race each other down the mountain and the fastest we've gone is about 88kmh.
"Originally we stuck it on a go-kart, which was more stable and had decent brakes," he said.
Now, with winter approaching, Jury and Wilson are preparing to attach the micro-jet engine to a snowboard.
It will be placed in a guitar-shaped structure with a waist-hugging Velcro strap and the throttle switch placed on an arm-length handle.
The idea would be to strap the gadget on a snowboarder who could control the direction, and cruise really fast at "horrendous speed".
"I've got no idea what's going to happen. It could go wrong," Jury said. "Or it could be a lot of fun."