Effect of Structural Damping on Vibrations Transmitted to Road Cyclists
Improving ride quality is a paramount concern for road cyclists who are subjected to road induced vibrations during long rides. It has been hypothesized that adding structural damping to the bicycle can decrease the vibration levels transmitted to the cyclist. The human body is most sensitive to vibrations in the frequency range of 0–60 Hz, and the amount of damping added by the cyclist when riding the bicycle is very large. This could potentially reduce the net benefit of small improvements provided by structural damping. This paper reveals the effects of structural damping modifications on the modal parameters of a bicycle frame and on the amount of vibrations transmitted to the cyclist due to road surface excitation. A bicycle frame originally designed with damping gel inserts was tested in three different configurations: (1) with its damping gel inserts, (2) with its damping gel inserts and additional damping material wrapped around the frame’s tubing and (3) without its damping gel inserts. Three different metrics were used to assess the damping material effect on vibrations transmitted to the cyclist at the hands and buttocks: acceleration, transmitted force and power absorbed by the cyclist. This paper shows that in all configurations and measurements, added damping did not reduce the vibrations transmitted to the cyclist.
KeywordsBicycle comfort Ride quality Damping Vibration transmission Absorbed power Comfort metrics
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) and the participation of Cervélo and Vroomen-White Design.
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