Karen Darke handbike
Karen Darke

Karen Darke

Marking Williams Advanced Engineering’s first entry into the sports equipment market is a state-of-the-art hand cycle for disabled athletes that uses Formula One-bred design principles – and has been proven at the highest level of competition.

In 2016, Paralympian Karen Darke approached Williams to help design a lighter and more aerodynamically efficient hand cycle for use at the Rio Paralympics. Williams took on the project on a not-for-profit basis, employing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and a team of aerodynamicists to ensure that its shape was optimised to reduce drag.

The next step was to use the latest carbon composite materials to keep it lightweight yet strong, while finally the bike’s ergonomics were completely redesigned for better usability with easier access to gear changes for the rider. The result was immediate success, Karen won the gold medal in the H1-3 Time Trial.

The bike has since become commercially available through Williams Advanced Engineering as a bespoke low volume product for elite competition use.


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