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'Time for physics to make its mark on cycling'

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'Time for physics to make its mark on cycling'

Old 07-25-16, 11:32 PM
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'Time for physics to make its mark on cycling'

From last week's 'Nature':

Basic bike design has been unchanged for a century - but science is finally finding out how to make bicycles better.
' Time for physics to make its mark on cycling : Nature News & Comment

and: 'The bicycle problem that nearly broke mathematics'

'Jim Papadopoulos has spent a lifetime pondering the maths of bikes in motion. Now his work has found fresh momentum.'
The bicycle problem that nearly broke mathematics : Nature News & Comment
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Old 07-26-16, 07:02 AM
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Basic bike design has been unchanged for a century
I'm sorry but no. That's simply nonsense.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'm sorry but no. That's simply nonsense.
True, the safety bicycle was invented in 1876, so it is 140 years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_bicycle
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Old 07-26-16, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'm sorry but no. That's simply nonsense.
There is a thread going over in C&V about bike messengers 100 years ago, most of those bikes looks like it could have been a generic upright style built in the last decade. Basic bike design has indeed changed very little in 100 years. We may have tweaked geometries a bit, improved on derailleurs over the decades, changed the materials they are made out of, did things like sealing bearings to make production and serviceability easier, but at the end of the day there is little functionally different between a 100 year old bike and a modern race bike.
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Old 07-26-16, 09:09 AM
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Can't we generally say the same thing about the car, airplane and the boat?

The car still has four wheels. They're still made of rubber. The steering wheel is still round. The changes have been material, safety and performance improvements on the existing things.
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Old 07-26-16, 09:16 AM
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Alright then, lets get into the rest of the article.

The resurgence in the popularity of cycling in many countries is a twenty-first-century success story
The resurgence in popularity of cycling started in the early 1980's when geometry changed from long wheelbase bikes with zero trail forks to short wheelbase and 60mm trail forks. The introduction of the mountain bike was a huge catalyst. I will give them this; there has been an increase in cycling among minorities in the last five or six years.

For better aerodynamics, they are recumbent bicycles
Recumbents are nothing new. We can go on from there.

The article has no purpose or objective. It is just jibberish without a reason for being written.


-Tim-
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Old 07-26-16, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I will give them this; there has been an increase in cycling among minorities in the last five or six years.

-Tim-
How are you defining the increase by minorities? Just in your home state or the world?
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Old 07-26-16, 09:38 AM
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Except physics hasn't made it's mark. They still don't have the equations that govern a bicycle's motions. The article says how they've studied it a bunch, but then someone came along and proved all of those equations incorrect. Then it pretty much ends there.

The sad fact is that no one wants to pay for the research to figure out why bicycles stay upright.
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Old 07-26-16, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Can't we generally say the same thing about the car, airplane and the boat?

The car still has four wheels. They're still made of rubber. The steering wheel is still round. The changes have been material, safety and performance improvements on the existing things.
I might argue airplane and boat a bit more, but for sure cars. They've certainly become more efficient, comfortable, safe and reliable over the years, but at the end of the day there isn't a whole lot that differentiates the basic functionalities required of a car from what existed at least 80 or so years ago. Maybe something like fuel injection, rotary engine or CV transmission could be seen as a basic functionality change, but back in the early 1900s we even had EVs.
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Old 07-26-16, 09:58 AM
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It makes its mark on the rider when the bike is crashed.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
True, the safety bicycle was invented in 1876, so it is 140 years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_bicycle
Indeed, and I think the reason is that the human body hasn't changed. I imagine that in the first few years of bike development, folks quickly converged on what things make for a bike that fits our bodies, and what things don't. Of course they didn't arrive at every possible design, but came up with one that's remarkably hard to beat in terms of comfort, safety, maneuverability, and cost.

Something similar happens with musical instruments. Electric bass guitars made today are similar in form to the 1950s designs of Leo Fender. Instruments that radically depart from the classic proportions are seen as novelties, and tend to be short lived.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:42 PM
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I mean the basic physics are pretty simple on a bike -- the smallest surface area that you can for a bike and rider...We've already got saddle to bar drop to lessen the surface area...Laying down on your stomach or back would result in less surface area, especially if the rider was in line with the front tire, and give a lower center of gravity as well...

But I think there has to be a trade off (even in full out racing) between what's sustainable, comfortably and what outputs power efficiently in as aerodynamic a form as possible.

Not sure there's really anywhere else to go when it comes to powering two wheels down a road with the power of a human.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Can't we generally say the same thing about the car, airplane and the boat?

The car still has four wheels. They're still made of rubber. The steering wheel is still round. The changes have been material, safety and performance improvements on the existing things.
Thread drift alert! Automotively, some things never change. My motorized passion is vintage motorcars. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what component is common and totally interchangable between my 1906 Orient Buckboard, my Model T Ford and my bride's 2006 PT Cruiser? Without this component the vehicles are next to useless.

My car buddies rarely get this one, but I reckon cyclists will.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:53 PM
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I guess I'll try,,,,, the steering???
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Old 07-26-16, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Can't we generally say the same thing about the car, airplane and the boat?

The car still has four wheels. They're still made of rubber. The steering wheel is still round. The changes have been material, safety and performance improvements on the existing things.
For the airplane, it depends on what you select as the archetype. The Wright Flyer used wing warping, not ailerons, for control. But you could argue it set the basic design - cruciform shape, with lift generated by the wings, and a long body and tail offsetting weight centered near the center of gravity. Even the Concorde or Shuttle meet that basic description. Exceptions such as the YB-49 and B-2 are rarities.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Bamford View Post
Thread drift alert! Automotively, some things never change. My motorized passion is vintage motorcars. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what component is common and totally interchangable between my 1906 Orient Buckboard, my Model T Ford and my bride's 2006 PT Cruiser? Without this component the vehicles are next to useless.

My car buddies rarely get this one, but I reckon cyclists will.
Hopefully it's something more interesting than the air in the tires, the gas in the tank, or the oil. Or does the Buckboard use something exotic, like castor oil?
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Old 07-26-16, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Bamford View Post
Thread drift alert! Automotively, some things never change. My motorized passion is vintage motorcars. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what component is common and totally interchangable between my 1906 Orient Buckboard, my Model T Ford and my bride's 2006 PT Cruiser? Without this component the vehicles are next to useless.

My car buddies rarely get this one, but I reckon cyclists will.
I'm not sure you can consider gasoline and oil components but they should mostly interchange.

I have a suspicion you are looking for 'the driver' as the answer, though.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:04 PM
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Blame the stiff necked old fools at the UCI for keeping bicycle designs stagnant. When a better faster bike, the recumbent came along, back in 1934 they declared it wasnt a bicycle.

But---------------ignoring the old fools at at the UCI, recumbents hold almost all cycling records. A woman even rode a recumbent trike to the South Pole.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Bamford View Post
Thread drift alert! Automotively, some things never change. My motorized passion is vintage motorcars. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what component is common and totally interchangable between my 1906 Orient Buckboard, my Model T Ford and my bride's 2006 PT Cruiser? Without this component the vehicles are next to useless.

My car buddies rarely get this one, but I reckon cyclists will.
The gasoline
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Old 07-26-16, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
But---------------ignoring the old fools at at the UCI, recumbents hold almost all cycling records. A woman even rode a recumbent trike to the South Pole.
I had heard---from recumbent riders--that the design's one weakness compared to a diamond frame was that it wasn't as good on the steep uphills.

Certainly not looking to start a fight here---but you made a pretty broad claim and i want to find out form you, someone I suspect rides a bent, how you feel bents compare to more standard bikes on long and/or steep ascents.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by deapee View Post
I mean the basic physics are pretty simple on a bike -- the smallest surface area that you can for a bike and rider...We've already got saddle to bar drop to lessen the surface area...Laying down on your stomach or back would result in less surface area, especially if the rider was in line with the front tire, and give a lower center of gravity as well...

But I think there has to be a trade off (even in full out racing) between what's sustainable, comfortably and what outputs power efficiently in as aerodynamic a form as possible.

Not sure there's really anywhere else to go when it comes to powering two wheels down a road with the power of a human.
A bicycle is a pretty simple machine but the devil is in the details. Anybody who thinks bikes haven't changed in 150 years is simply scoffing at the details.

"Not sure there's really anywhere else to go" That's just another way of saying you haven't thought of it yet but I agree that the simpler the machine, the harder it is to improve.

Right now aerodynamics is big. A fellow rode a streamlined recumbent 85 MPH this spring. Goes to show what can be accomplished by optimizing all of the details for a particular goal.

Another area of significant improvement has been the materials that a bike is made out of. That's not applied science and physics? I can remember thinking that a 22 lb. road bike was about as light weight as was possible. Today the pros have to ballast their bikes to bring them up to the 15 lb. UCI minimum.

Uh - and they call me a Retro Grouch. Maybe a little but at least I can recognize continuous improvement when I see it.
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Old 07-26-16, 01:31 PM
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From 22 lbs to 15 lbs is a 31.8% change. That's significant.
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Old 07-26-16, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfingaz View Post
I guess I'll try,,,,, the steering???
Well, you are right in that without steering (or oil, gas, air, driver) the car is pretty much useless, those items don't really seem like components as such.

Like I said, I figured cyclists would get this sooner than car guys. Maybe not...
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Old 07-26-16, 05:19 PM
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A motor?
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Old 07-26-16, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Bamford View Post
Thread drift alert! Automotively, some things never change. My motorized passion is vintage motorcars. Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what component is common and totally interchangable between my 1906 Orient Buckboard, my Model T Ford and my bride's 2006 PT Cruiser? Without this component the vehicles are next to useless.

My car buddies rarely get this one, but I reckon cyclists will.
Looks like the same red paint was used on both.
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