The Physics of Bicycles


Length: 814 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

The Physics of Bicycles 1

Spokes

Even the earliest bicycles used spokes of one sort or another. In fact, even in ancient times many chariots and animal-drawn carts used spokes. A spoked wheel can be made as strong as a solid one and have only a fraction of the weight.While early spoked wheels were almost always made out of wood, the bicycle wheels and spokes of today are made out steel or aluminum or occasionally more exotic materials such as carbon composite or ceramics.

Minimizing the weight of the wheels is extremely important in bicycle design. Why does weight matter? Each time you push the pedals, you have to accelerate the weight of the wheel both forward and around its center. In other words, the wheel undergoes angular and straight motion simultaneously. You can see this when you ride--the front tire of your bicycle rotates while it moves forward along with you and the bike.

Tangential & Radial Spokes

There are many different ways to spoke a bicycle wheel. Most bicycles have tangential spokes, meaning that the spokes do not connect from the hub to the rim in a straight line, but at an angle. There are many different patterns of tangential spokes. Occasionally bicycles will have completely radial spokes. These spokes go straight from the hub to the rim of the tire. Wheels typically have tangential spokes. The way in which the wheels are spoked determines how they will perform.

You can spoke the front wheel completely radially, but the rear wheel had better not be spoked radially. There is no way to convey the twist of the wheel out to the rim to drive you forward. Tangential spoking helps transmit the torque from the hub out to the tires.

Not only would a radially spoked rear wheel be less efficient than one spoked tangentially--it would be significantly weaker. A bicycle wheel needs to be able to handle a variety of forces. Besides holding up the weight of the cyclist, a wheel must withstand the forces of pedaling and braking and the jarring effects of the road surface. The benefit of radial spoking has to do with the stiffness of the wheel (less deformation makes the wheel slightly more efficient).

The Physics of Bicycles 2

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Physics of Bicycles." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Sep 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=153562>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Physics of Bicycles - Physics plays a vital role in all that we do, whether we are aware of it or not. The sport of bicycling is no exception to the physical laws of Mother Nature. Friction is a resistive force that always acts in a direction that is opposite to the motion of a body. Frictional forces are dependent on two components; the coefficient of friction and the normal force. Friction = (µ)(n) There are two different types of frictional coefficients, static and kinetic. The coefficient of static friction is the frictional force that must be overcome before any motion commences....   [tags: physics bike bicycle cycle] 967 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Physics of a Mountain Bike Essay example - Physics of a Mountain Bike This paper will discuss some of the physics involved in bicycles. Specifically, mountain bikes with suspension. A bicycle is a very energy efficient vehicle. Its wheels allow its rider to make full use of inertia and gravitational potential energy. The basic design of a bicycle has been around for over 100 years and compared to other things, has changed very little. Some of the topics that will be covered are: frames, wheels, suspension forks, suspension frames, brakes and how all these things affect speed, momentum and stability....   [tags: Physics Papers]
:: 2 Works Cited
1800 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Bicycle Critique Essay - The most versatile bicycle is one with upright handlebars, slick (no huge knobs) medium-width tires, attachment points (braze-ons) for a rack and other accessories, and no shocks. This describes a popular segment of the bicycle market these days, "urban bikes". My bike is like this, though back in the day it was purchased it was considered a mountain bike. Frame. It is important that a bike frame's geometry matches your body and your typical type of riding. Imagine a rubber frame: stretch the top if you have a long torso, shrink the bottom (make the wheels closer) if you want quick handling; stretch the bottom if you want a smoother, more stable ride for touring....   [tags: Bicycles] 1046 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Evolution of Bicycles Throughout History Essay - In 1817, the bicycle was introduced. It was clumsy, heavy, and dangerous. Throughout the last two centuries, modifications have made the bicycle easier to ride with inventions such as brakes, softer tires, and better maneuverability. The development of the modern day bicycle has led to increased environmental awareness, increased women’s civil rights, and permanently altered the public’s views on mass transportation. The first bike was called the Draisienne that was invented by Baron Von Drais in 1817: “…a walking machine that would help him get around the royal gardens faster: two same-size in-line wheels, the front one steerable, mounted in a frame which you straddled… The device was pr...   [tags: bike, draisenne, velocipede, bicycles]
:: 7 Works Cited
1467 words
(4.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oasis Bicycles Global Strategy Essay - Executive Summary Oasis bicycles is a Taiwan based company that designs and sells a variety of bicycles for both road and mountains. It is spread across four continents and also a good example of a global company. It is considered as one of the largest bicycle manufacturing company with sales around $800 million. Almost 93 percent of which comes from outside Taiwan. Oasis bicycle also faces new challenges everyday due to the change in bicycle industry and major factors affecting the macro-economic scenario....   [tags: Oasis Bicycles Case Study] 2700 words
(7.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Oasis Bicycles Global Business Strategy Essay - Oasis Bicycles is a Taiwan based company which designs and sells a variety of bicycles for road as well as mountains. Due to its presence in four continents, it is considered as a good example of a global company. It is considered as one of the largest bicycle manufacturing company with sales of around US $800 million. About 93 percent of which comes from outside Taiwan. According to its CEO, “Because of the small market for bicycles in Taiwan, we don’t have any other choice– we have to be a global company....   [tags: Oasis Bicycles Case Study] 1572 words
(4.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Physics of Cycling - Almost the entire spot of cycling is based on physics. Some aspects are obvious, like torque and other basic forces, although others do not come to mind as easily. Things like aerodynamics are playing an increasingly larger role in the sport, along with other things like damped harmonic motion (think mountain bike suspension), and efficiency. A lot of the detailed things would be beyond this paper, but the basics, which are the most import parts, will be talked about. Torque is what makes the wheels on the bike go round....   [tags: physics sport sports cycle bicycle] 1191 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Physics of Stopping a Bike Essay - In short brakes are a tool that turn kinetic energy into heat(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brakes). This is accomplished by applying friction in one way or another. In the case of disk brakes friction is created because the braking mechanism exerts a force on the break pads which pushes them into contact with disk. It is this contact combined with the fact that the disks are rotating that causes kinetic energy to be converted to heat. If the purpose of brakes is to convert kinetic energy into heat, then in order to know how much heat the brakes make requires that we find out how much kinetic energy there is in a moving bicycle....   [tags: physics bicycle] 1355 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Bicycles And Society Essays - The Bicycle and Society Today the bicycle is seen as a choice of transportation rather than necessity, this is due to it's out dated technology. To westernized civilizations riding a bike has been seen to become a hobby. If a person was to travel down the street to the shop they would drive their car, this is because it is easier, quicker and more convenient to the person. This decision by a person is accepted by the community. As technology has improved over time the use of bicycles has decreased....   [tags: Transportation Bicycle] 1547 words
(4.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Bicycles Essay - Bicycles and life The bicycle was a truly exciting machine when it was first invented over a century ago; it was improved with every passing. A bike has many advantages- it is the most energy efficient form of transport on earth, it is healthy, non-polluting, economical and safe, but it's most unique, outstanding and enjoyable quality is that a bike is totally personal. The experience is unlike anything that you encounter while you are bicycling. Swooping around corners, the wind rushing against your face and through your hair, the smells of grass, of morning bakeries and evening dew is sensational....   [tags: World Cultures] 349 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]









Gear Exploration

The gears of a bicycle make pedaling more efficient, allowing the cyclist to travel faster and more easily handle steep grades and other obstacles.

What You Need:
To try this activity you'll need the following materials:

* A bike with gears
* A piece of chalk or masking tape
* Paper and a pencil

Shift the gears so that the chain is on the smallest cog in the front, and on the largest cog in the back.

Mark the top of the rear tire with the chalk, or with a piece of tape.

Note the position of the pedals. Have someone hold the bike upright as you turn the pedals one full revolution, so that the pedals return to their original position.

How many times did the rear tire revolve? Write down the number of revolutions. (Note: you may have to have a friend control the rear tire with his hand, so that the tire does not spin freely past the point that the pedals pushed it to.)

Now try the largest gear in front combined with the smallest gear in the rear. How many times does the rear wheel revolve for one turn of the pedals?

Which of these combinations would be better for climbing a hill? Which would be better for a sprint on a flat road? (You can test your guesses later by riding the bike!)

Experiment with the intermediate gear ranges. Make a chart of the number of rear wheel revolutions each combination of gears produces for one pedal revolution. Why do you think bikes have evolved to have more and more gears?

Human Power

The bicycle is a tremendously efficient means of transportation. In fact cycling is more efficient than any other method of travel--including walking! The one billion bicycles in the world are a testament to its effectiveness. The engine for this efficient mode of transport is the human body. Because bodies are fueled by food, diet plays an important role in how the body performs. Different muscle groups and types provide the power. Genetic inheritance, intensive training, and a competitive drive help top athletes push the boundaries of endurance and speed on the bicycle.


How Far Do You Want To Go?

It takes less energy to bicycle one mile than it takes to walk a mile. In fact, a bicycle can be up to 5 times more efficient than walking. If we compare the amount of calories burned in bicycling to the number of calories an automobile burns, the difference is astounding. One hundred calories can power a cyclist for three miles, but it would only power a car 280 feet (85 meters)!



Return to 123HelpMe.com