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Analysis of Bicycle Pitch-Over in a Controlled Environment

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3995, e-ISSN: 1946-4002
Published April 12, 2010 by SAE International in United States
Analysis of Bicycle Pitch-Over in a Controlled Environment
Citation: Bretting, G., Jansen, H., Callahan, M., Bogler, J. et al., "Analysis of Bicycle Pitch-Over in a Controlled Environment," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars – Mech. Syst. 3(1):57-71, 2010,
Language: English


In a controlled environment, bicycle crash tests were performed to analyze the dynamics of bicycle pitch-over, and the effect different test conditions would have on the motion of the bicyclist and the potential for serious head and neck injuries. The tests being evaluated within this paper will focus on a single size rider and bicycle with speed controlled between 19.3 and 22.5 kph (12.0 and 14.0 mph). The variables of the test conditions were the method of pitch-over initiation and configuration of the bicycle. Pitch-over was initiated by applying the front brake, impacting a rigid barrier, and inserting a dowel into the spokes of the front wheel. The bicycle configuration was varied by changing the frame, front fork, front wheel and stem. For all testing performed the event was captured on high speed video. As the testing progressed a force plate was added to measure the vertical loads and an impact plate was added to the barrier impacts to measure the horizontal impact loads. The data acquired from this series of tests provides insight into the dynamics of bicycle pitch-over, injury mechanisms, and the effect of bicycle component failure.