Experimental Evaluation of Mountain Bike Suspension Systems
Keywords:mountain bike, suspension, dynamics
AbstractA significant distinction between competitive mountain bikes is whether they have a suspension system. Research studies indicate that a suspension system gives advantages, but it is difficult to quantify the benefits because they depend on so many variables, including the physiology and psychology of the cyclist, the roughness of the track and the design of the suspension system. A laboratory based test rig has been built that allows the number of variables in the system to be reduced and test conditions to be controlled. The test rig simulates regular impacts of the rear wheel with bumps in a rolling road. The physiological variables of oxygen consumption and heart rate were measured, together with speeds and forces at various points in the system. Physiological and mechanical test results both confirm a significant benefit in using a suspension system on the simulated rough track, with oxygen consumption reduced by around 30 % and power transmitted through the pedals reduced by 30 % to 60 %.