The X-1 Skycycle
Built for Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon Jump
Evel Knievel October 17, 1938 - November 30, 2007 May Evel rest in peace.
Doug Malewicki was the designer and engineer of Evel Knievel's steam rocket powered SkyCycle X-1 canyon jumping motorcycle. Theoretically - a two wheeled, streamlined, fin stabilized rocket that is capable of rolling along on those wheels could be deemed a "Motorcycle". Similarly, launching and flying across the Snake River Canyon could also be deemed a "jump". Poised here for action is the canyon jumping X-1 Skycycle "Motorcycle" Malewicki designed for famous daredevil Evel Knievel in the early 1970's.
The illustration shows how the X-1 Skycycle was designed to take Evel safely across the Snake River Canyon.
Click on it to see a larger version.
Here is a photo of the X-1 SkyCycle in flight, arcing across the canyon.
The rocket motorcycle's two wheels are clearly visible.
(Hold on - Wait a minute - Evel never made it across the canyon - what is this?)
OK, OK - faking such stuff with today's digital special effects and PHOTOSHOP is simple. But, how did we do that back with 1970's 35mm film technology?? Basically, I built a scale appearance model of the proposed concept for Evel and had my buddy, Keith Niskern, crouch down and gently toss it in the air above his head to try to get a dramatic picture. The location was my back yard way up on Skyline Drive in Laguna Beach, CA - overlooking that neat canyon and hills! Each time Keith tossed it, I snapped a picture of it as close to the apex of the toss as possible. We used a roll of film doing it over and over while having a hearty laugh the entire time. When we got the prints back, most of the shots were a hilarious joke - this one, however, was PERFECT!
Subsequently, we built a working X-1 Skycycle model rocket and a shallow angled launch ramp. This was flown for all to see at Arizona's Bee Line dragway, the same night Evel was doing a ramp-to-ramp jump. The model took off, coasted in a ballistic arc and successfully deployed its parachute for a safe recovery. AND I got the job to design the real canyon jumper!
X-1 Skycycle - Table of Contents
1 Evel Knievel X-1 Skycycle INTRODUCTION & Flight Sequence 2a How I met Evel Knievel in 1968 2b The Primary Steam Rocket Propulsion System 2c Chassis and Steam Rocket Motor 3 Snake River X-1 Skycycle Unveiling (May 6, 1972) 4 Steam Rocket Technical Books for Sale 5 Evel Knievel TEST ROCKET 6 Evel Knievel PR STATIC MODEL 7 LETTER FROM EVEL (November 11, 1969) 8 Evel Knievel NEWSPAPERS 9 Evel Knievel POSTERS 10 Evel Knievel MAGAZINES 11 eBay RESPONSE TO CHAZ'S QUESTION 12 ROCKET LINKS