A 'Short' History
The Windcheetah , or ‘Speedy SL’ to give it it’s correct nomenclature was originally conceived as a winter training vehicle in the early 1980s by bike designer Mike Burrows, who had started creating some very interesting recumbent cycles. Mike built an intriguing three wheel recumbent which he thought might help him maintain fitness safely throughout the winter on the icy winter lanes of Norfolk, and slowly but surely the reputation and popularity of the Speedy began to grow…
The legend grows
Following a purchase by author and publisher Richard Ballantine, the Speedy was regularly appearing in books and articles internationally. In those days they were still made in tiny numbers, Mike had a successful engineering firm and Windcheetah production was squeezed in between ‘real’ work.
This all changed however in 1984, when production increased into the hundreds – the ‘Mk3A’ gaining popularity rapidly amongst a kindles interest for recumbent bikes in general.
The Burrows influence
In the mid 90s Mike sold his engineering business for a position with Giant. By this time Mike had designed the famous ‘Lotus Bike’ which Chris Boardman used to bring Britain it’s first Olympic Gold for many years and his reputation as a designer was growing. Mike designed many things during this time but is perhaps his biggest success was the TCR road bike, seen as the first of its kind and paving the way for most of the carbon road bikes we ride today.
At this stage the Windcheetah underwent some minor design changes in order to bring some consistency to the production and was formally renamed ‘The Burrows Windcheetah’.
The Windcheetah front wheel size grew from 17” to 20”  in response to feedback from US customers who found supplies of the original 17” Moulton tyres difficult to source and exports, particularly to Germany and the US were climbing fast…
To prove how versatile even a ‘ full race’ Windcheetah could be, an attempt on one of the ultimate road records was made – The Lands End to John O`Groat’s – 861 miles in all.
Andy Wilkinson, then a rising star rode virtually non-stop for 41 hours 4 mins and 22 secs, beating the previous LEJOG record by nearly 4 hours – a record that still stands today.
Technical developments learned through challenge found their way into new production machines as the ClubSport, which was essentially the old ‘Speedy’ and the SuperSport incorporated new carbon tubes and high end componentry.
The modern icon
After the handover production passed to AVD – new manager Bob Dixon conceiving a significantly lighter Speedy incorporating many new features, now known as the HyperSport. The HyperSport featured (for the time) exotic engineering including the carbon fibre leaf spring suspension we know today, setting the benchmark for recumbent tricycles and quickly accounting for over 50% of production.
The Compact Sport was also developed, initially aimed at the Japanese market but finding favour amongst hard core Windcheetah enthusiasts and completing the range we know today.