Bike design/theory/reference list

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  • So with plenty of time on my hands I'm wanting to delve deeper into bike design theory. With a background in engineering I've always fancied understanding more about cycle design and applications for future product development.

    I won't be building anything anytime soon but it would be to enhance my understanding of why certain angles/materials/tube diameters/thicknesses etc are use.

    Do you guys have anything you'd share or reading recommendations etc?

  • It looks like Whitt and Wilson's classic Bicycling Science is about to get a fourth edition:­-science-fourth-edition

    From the looks of it this may have more on stability and steering dynamics (the Jim Papadopoulos material is probably based on his more recent research in this area), but the earlier editions didn't have a huge amount on structural design, at least not at the detailed level. Looks like you can now get second-hand copies of the third edition for under a tenner; at that price it's definitely worth a look.

  • Bicycle Design by Mike Burrows is definitely worth a read.

  • Cheers both! Will see where I can get these. @Thrustvector where are you seeing it for under a tenner? My googling skills are lacking this morning.

  • Huh, sure there was one on eBay for under that last night. This copy on German Amazon's about a tenner:­262731541?condition=used&tag=bf-de-b-21

    Otherwise the 1982 second edition is available second-hand for under a fiver, at which price it's worth a punt. Tbh the third edition is mostly the second ed with a couple of extra bits stuck on rather than a rewrite; OTOH the older material is still mostly valid, even if there are probably newer references available.

    On that note, Archibald Sharp's Bicycles and Tricycles is from the 1890s, but is still worthwhile for its description of basic cycle engineering mechanics (see e.g. the pages reproduced here:­rchibald-sharp-the-greatest-of-the-victo­rian-bicycle-engineers/ ) . It's available in any number of cheap reprint editions.

    1. Bicycling science is the bible.
    2. The Mike Burrows book is more popular science so probably a little surface level for someone with an engineering background.
    3. As a lesser known choice, I really rate "Lords of the
      chainring", it's part of the CalPoly Masters Aeronautical
      engineering course. You can get it from the authors website, (Bill

      It's looking at the dynamics of two wheeled vehicles in terms of
      steering moment and rider intention. Like the way aeroplanes control
      systems are designed (I believe).

      It has it's flaws, like it doesn't have the derivations of the math
      involved and it's wierdly laid out as it's the coursebook for the Uni. But the Uni are pretty helpful if you need help and get in touch, they certianly were for me, and sent me a bunch of spreadsheets and useful bits.

      It's good for getting away from all the "high trail makes a bike
      steer slow, low trail makes a bike steer fast" confusing dross that
      seems to permeate the bike-design literature.

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Bike design/theory/reference list

Posted by Avatar for Dexter @Dexter