The Smart Bike

06 July 2010

Using the cutting-edge science for which Deakin is renowned researchers at ITRI have set themselves the goal of designing the bike for the 21st Century.

Deakin University researchers have set themselves the goal of designing "The Smart Bike" ahead of the UCI world cycling championships to be held in Geelong later this year.

"We thought this project would be a great way to highlight the cutting edge research going on at Deakin, and particularly on the Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, in a range of applicable areas," said Dr Paul Collins, manager of "The Smart Bike" project.

"At this stage we have four major areas of research looking at ways to design what will be a lighter, stiffer, cheaper and ultimately smarter bike.

"We have taken up the working title 'The Smart Bike' because our design will make intelligent use of a number of areas at Deakin where we are leading the world. Additionally, this bike will have the capacity to, to a certain extent, think for itself in a way that will help the rider get the best out of it."

The five areas coming together on this project are:

  1. Out of autoclave composites: These will be used in carbon tubing and carbon bonding joints.
  2. The use magnesium: Faster extruding will make it five to six time cheaper to manufacture the bike.
  3. Surface coating of titanium components: Will produce superior wear surfaces.
  4. Sensors in carbon laminate: These will help the rider to make smart decisions on how to improve performance by measuring strain in relation to power.
  5. The ability for Deakin researchers to work seamlessly with industry

Dr Collins said as well as Deakin researchers, a number of private companies were taking part in project.

These include the Geelong based Baum bike manufacturing company.

"Baum produce quality bikes that are in demand all over the world," Dr Collins said. "They have been extremely generous to us with their assistance so far and we would like involve them in opening new material and product innovations in the creation of elite bikes."

"Also the involvement of Carbon Revolution, Hard Technologies and CAST-CRC show that here in Geelong we have world-class manufacturers that can and do work with relative ease with Deakin University."

There are one or two projects similar to the Deakin one around the world.

"The difference with ours is that our bike will be UCI compliant, that is it can be used by the Cadel Evans's and Simon Gerrans' of the world in competition events like the Tour de France," Dr Collins said.

"So our project, as well as highlighting the research skills we have at Deakin, particularly in a range of advanced manufacturing areas, will have an impact in the broader community.

"Both recreational and competitive bike riders will benefit from what we are doing with the potential to make bikes cheaper and increase safety without reducing their performances standards.

"Rather the overall performance of bike and rider will be increased."

The Smart Bike" project will build on Deakin's achievements in the Ford Global Challenge to design a Model T for the 21st Century.

Deakin University's T-Squared design, a three-wheeled vehicle that ran on compressed air, won the competition, along with Aachen University in Germany, and ahead of a number of American universities.

The bike designed and produced at Deakin will be on display in Geelong during the UCI World Championships in late September and early October.

Listen to Geraldine Doogue's interview with Paul Collins on ABC Radio National's Breakfast Show

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