A Purdue University student team's design of a bicycle powered by motors and hydraulic pumps has taken first place in a national competition. The Purdue Tracer, which won first place at the National Fluid Power Association Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, is designed to be powered without pedaling.

The bike includes a frame that doubles as the hydraulic oil reservoir and balances the needs of the hydraulic systems with the feel of a "normal" bicycle. Associate professor of mechanical engineering and agricultural and biological engineering Andrea Vacca says a rider can hand-pump the accumulator before hand, allowing for "about 500 meters of travel without pedaling."

The team also developed a smartphone app into the bicycle design. The app measures how much pressure is in the hydraulic lines, the rider's heart rate and how fast the rider is pedaling.