Theoretical Analysis of Bicycle Frame Loads

The applet below will help you with the exercises on this page.

The Bicycle Frame Design and Analysis applet above allows you to thoroughly investigate the loading of bicycle frames. With this applet, you are the designer. You can design your own frame, apply forces, and test it out. Try different shapes and see the results immediately. You will soon appreciate how factors such as the frame geometry and the rider's weight distribution affect the loads the tubes have to carry.

Keep in mind that the applet performs the analysis based on the model of the bicycle frame as a truss. That means that the results, while indicative of the actual physical loading, are limited by the assumptions that go into the model. In detail, the method of joints is used for the truss analysis. If you would like more information about this methodology, see the Method of Joints concept page.

As you have seen from the Engineering Modeling concept page, it is important to check the accuracy of your models. In order to do so, the bicycle frame, pictured below, has been instrumented with force sensors and has had several tests performed on it.

The geometry of this frame has been provided below. Perform an analysis on this frame while applying 75 lb to the seat and 20 lb to the pedals. Keep track of your results.

Rear Axle

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