The 1914 Flying Merkel Model 471 was capable of going 96 miles per hour. Stop what you're doing, and picture your great grandpa pulling a hundo down a bumpy ass 1914 highway on a f*cking bicycle. No wonder it coined the term "superbike": you had to be insane to ride it.
This was probably the last photo ever taken of these poor souls before they sped away on their death machine.
In a time when the concept of a "paved" road was only a few months old, the Merkel boasted in a marketing push that "all roads are paved to a Merkel" — which frankly sounds like a flat out lie.
Can you imagine taking your hand off the handlebars to switch gears while careening down a dirt road at 60 miles per hour? Oh yeah, and helmets hadn't been invented yet. So. Freaking. Metal.
Safety jokes aside, the engine was actually way ahead of its time, offering technologies that the average automobile wouldn't see for an entire decade after the Merkel hit the road.
Only drawback besides certain death? You had to pedal the beast to 5 miles per hour before you could even start it up. Check the video below to get an idea of what it was like.