Researchers developing a smart bike for the world champs

cyclistA group of Deakin University researchers are aiming to put their expertise in new and developing technologies on the international cycling stage later this year by unveiling a custom-built ‘smart’ bike during the 2010 UCI Road World Championships in Geelong.


“With the best in world cycling in Geelong for the championships, we thought it was a great opportunity to showcase Deakin’s world-class manufacturing and research capabilities in areas such as carbon fibre, titanium, and material and fibre innovation,” explained project manager Dr Paul Collins from Deakin’s Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (ITRI).

“We have given the project the working title of “The Smart Bike” because our design will make smart use of a number of research areas at Deakin where I think we are leading the world.

“The title is also a good fit because one of our aims is to make the bike capable – to a certain extent – of thinking for itself in a way that will help the rider get the best out of it.”

Dr Collins said a number of design approaches were being looked at by researchers. These included the use of carbon tubing and bonding, magnesium for faster extruding, surface coating of titanium components for superior wear and using sensors in carbon laminate to help the rider make smart decisions about performance improvement.

Deakin’s commitment to collaborating with industry is also a key part of the project.

“Deakin has a strong commitment to developing effective partnerships with industry and this is a perfect opportunity for us to work with new and existing industry partners to demonstrate the manufacturing capabilities that can be found in Geelong,” Dr Collins said.

“We have several industry collaborators on this project. These include Baum Cycles – a Geelong-based company producing quality bikes in demand all over the world – Carbon Revolution, Hard Technologies and CAST-CRC.”

While the bike will be the focus of new technologies, Dr Collins said he didn’t think the end result would be totally unfamiliar.

“We’re not planning to re-invent the bike; what we want to do is look at the structure of a bike and then explore what we can achieve by applying the expertise of both our Deakin researchers and our industry partners to that existing design.

“We hope 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 performance standards.

“Our goal is to cement Deakin’s place as a centre of excellence for material, fibre and technical design. This project is an exciting opportunity to highlight internationally the world-class research that Deakin is undertaking in these areas.”

 Source: Deakin University