News Culture

Pulsejet-Powered 1929 Harley-Davidson for Sale Has the Pipes to End All Pipes

V-twin Harley riders think their bikes sound good. This Bob Maddox-built Sportjet would like a word.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

If you’ve ever had the strange, burning desire to straddle a pulsejet engine, you might be in luck. A 1929 Harley-Davidson powered by such a lump with 250 pounds of thrust is headed to Mecum‘s Kissimmee auction in January. Better yet, it’s a creation of the Rocketman himself, Bob Maddox.

Maddox is famous for building anything with a pulsejet engine. He’s used them to propel everything from cars to motorcycles, bicycles, go-karts, and even himself. He actually jumped from an airplane with 50-pound thrust engines strapped to his chest.

The pulsejet Harley in question is one Maddox built more than 10 years ago. Its whirring engine makes about 250 pounds of thrust and it’s said to reach 60 miles per hour in about five seconds. In a video from 2011, Maddox claimed it could do about 120 mph in the quarter-mile but was unsure about its top speed.

A pulsejet combines large amounts of air and fuel and ignites them in pulses to create propulsion. There are few orno moving parts to a pulsejet engine, meaning they’re fairly reliable. They can also run on almost any type of fuel. In this case, regular 87 octane will do the trick. The downsides are that they’re terribly inefficient, so they don’t make as much power as you might think, and they’re extremely loud. You need earplugs just to start them, as Maddox says he learned the hard way.

It’s hard to tell how much this jet-powered Harley will sell for, though some of Maddox’s creations have commanded more than $25,000 in the past. Whoever ends up buying this bike is going to have an incredibly unique motorcycle that’s hand-built by Maddox himself, in Medford, Oregon. Maybe they’ll also teach a thing or two to all those guys that love revving the snot out of their V-twins, too.

Got a tip? Send it in: