In July 2023, world-renowned shed-building engineer Allen Millyard made headlines around the globe once more—or, at least, headlines among speed- and world record-obsessed publications. Why? Together with UK TV presenter Henry Cole, Millyard set a new world record for “fastest speed on a tandem motorcycle” at Elvington Airfield. What bike did they ride? Why, the infamous Millyard Viper V10, of course.
For those unfamiliar with Allen Millyard, if you’re into amazing shed builds and extremely fun behind-the-scenes videos about builds, repairs, and maintenance of those projects, then you’ve found a very pleasant rabbit hole to explore. The man’s YouTube channel is one of those things that makes you simply glad that the Internet exists, because surely this kind of content is exactly what it was meant for.
Although Millyard’s builds turn heads, and although they undoubtedly show up at various motorcycle shows, they’re not show bikes. To give insight into how the man thinks about his builds, here’s what Millyard had to say about building the Millyard Viper V10 back in 2010, shortly after the project was complete.
Allen Millyard and Henry Cole – Two-Up World Record Speed Run at Elvington
“The engine sat in my garage for about two years. And then one day it just came to me. I would build an unfaired muscle bike. It had to work, it had to be road legal, and I had to be able to go shopping on it,” Millyard told Ultimate Motorcycling.
The finished bike weighs around 600 kilograms, or about 1,323 pounds. It makes 500 horsepower and about 465 pound-feet of torque. To accommodate the massive weight of the engine, Millyard said that he simply overcompensated with strength on every other component of the bike—which you’ll see in this video.
In Millyard’s usual calm, understated way, he walks us through pre-flight inspection on the Millyard Viper V10, just before transporting it to Elvington for his and Cole’s tandem speed record attempts. Visual inspections aren’t enough, of course. Both the wheels must come off, balance must be checked, heat shielding on the exhaust (which is ceramic coated, but still gets quite hot at the kinds of speeds required for a world-record speed run), and a few other bits and pieces need to be confirmed as being in proper working order.
Although something like this is no doubt exciting, Millyard’s laser-focus and careful attention to detail are key to ensuring that everything is in top working order prior to the run. He also shows off the neat ratcheting center stand that he rigged to make it possible for a single person to lift such a heavyweight monster of a machine up for servicing. (For safety reasons, you might not want an older child to do it—but the ratcheting mechanism is so ingenious, it’s theoretically possible that they could.)
At the end of the video, we get to see the speed run—or rather, the three speed runs. While Millyard and Cole set an astonishing new tandem speed record of 183.5 miles per hour on the day, it took a few runs before they accomplished it. Each time, they were close—but just needed a tweak or two to what they were doing to finally hit it full out. This record was recorded by the UK Timing Association, beating the previous tandem bike Guinness World Record speed record set by Erin Hunter and Andy Sills in September 2011, at 181.42 miles per hour.