Research in every field is constantly going on and many a times old beliefs are replaced by new ones based on fresh findings. The same can be said for this new line of thought that has debunked the old beliefs regarding bicycle stability.
In recently published results, it has been revealed that the much believed gyro and caster effects are not required to keep a bicycle stable. On the other hand it is a combined effort of physical efforts mostly linked to the distribution of mass that contributes to the stability of the bike. This could possibly lead to better designed bicycles in the future.
The stability facts revolving around a bike were researched upon by a group of researchers from the United States and Netherlands. They came up with a two-mass-skate (TMS) bike. This prototype is a riderless bike that has been produced eliminating two basic stability components – the gyro and caster effect.
Researchers were out to prove the fact revolving around this ‘myth’. They had complete confidence in the fact that this was not the case and hence they came up with a riderless bike that was sans gyro and caster effects. The caster effect has been countered by placing the steering axis behind the front wheel. The additional wheels situated above the front and back wheels spin in opposite directions countering the gyroscopic precession effect.
So what was the result of these changes? When the researchers gave it a push the bicycle went ahead kept itself balanced for a decent amount of time. This, according to researchers was due to the distribution of mass, higher in the front and lower in the back portion. When the front of the bike steers along, it will tend to fall sooner than the rear portion thereby making every effort to tip over.
The bike produced here may be riderless but it has a great sense of stability. It is not known whether the principles used here may assist in producing better bicycles. What, however, is for sure is that it could lead to the production of more comfortable and convenient bikes that will guarantee a better riding experience.
Research is never ending and it is due to these ongoing researches that the world becomes a better place to live in. Same can be said regarding the bicycle. It may have been first produced way back in the 19th Century but its utility has not reduced. It is one of the most environment friendly and healthy means of transport available. Innovation in this field is always welcome.