Control For Energy and Sustainability

EPSRC Programme Grant

[SL11] A.Sharma and D.J.N.Limebeer, Design of a novel aerodynamically efficient motorcycle, Vehicle System Dynamics, Volume 50, Issue 8, pp1319-1340, 2012


Motorcycles exhibit two potentially dangerous oscillatory modes known as ‘wobble’ and ‘weave’. The former is reminiscent of supermarket castor shimmy, while the latter is a low frequency ‘fish-tailing’ motion that involves a combination of rolling, yawing, steering and side-slipping motions. These unwanted dynamic features, which can occur when two-wheeled vehicles are operated at speed, have been studied extensively. The aim of this paper is to use mathematical analysis to identify important stability trends in the on-going design of a novel aerodynamically efficient motorcycle known as the ECOSSE Spirit ES1. A mathematical model of the ES1 is developed using a multi-body dynamics software package called VehicleSim [Anon, VehicleSim Lisp Reference Manual Version 1.0, Mechanical Simulation Corporation, 2008. Available at]. This high-fidelity motorcycle model includes realistic tyre–road contact geometry, a comprehensive tyre model, tyre relaxation and a flexible frame. A parameter set representative of a modern high-performance machine and rider is used. Local stability is investigated via the eigenvalues of the linearised models that are associated with equilibrium points of interest. A comprehensive study of the effects of frame flexibilities, acceleration, aerodynamics and tyre variations is presented, and an optimal passive steering compensator is derived. It is shown that the traditional steering damper cannot be used to stabilise the ES1 over its entire operating speed range. A simple passive compensator, involving an inerter is proposed. Flexibility can be introduced deliberately into various chassis components to change the stability characteristics of the vehicle; the implications of this idea are studied.