Bicycle Mechanics and Dynamics

New! "A bicycle can be self-stable without gyroscopic or caster effects",
Science Magazine, April 15, 2011.


Cornell bicycle research began in 1985 when Jim Papadopoulos came to Cornell to work with Andy Ruina, or vice versa. Undergraduate projects have included the application of constraints to pedals, making a geared unicycle, designing a new suspension, measuring the efficiency of a bicycle transmission, designing a constrained pedal, tests of stability, automatic wheel truing, tests of what people can perceive, measurement of the effect of inertia on pedaling efficiency, etc.. Bike research had a lull from about 1988-2002. Starting in 2002-03, with the visit of Arend Schwab from Delft, collaborating with graduate student Andrew Dressel, the stability research has progressed.

External Links

International 3-day Symposium Bicycle and Motorcycle Dynamics 2010, BMD2010, Oct 20-22, 2010, Delft, University of Technology.
Arend L. Schwab's Bicycle Dynamics page
Richard Klein's bicycle science pages (then click on "Bicycle Science")

Bicycle Stability Demonstration (Youtube)
(Download MP4 video 3 MB)
Screen shot of Video

The clearly-observable asymptotic stability (quickly decaying oscillations) of a bicycle is shown. This is a random bicycle. The aymptotic stability of this bicycle is predicted by the equations of motion of an ideal conservative bicycle (with disk wheels and point contact).
A program for calculating stability eigenvalues (JBike6).