Zero Gyroscopic Bike 2


Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II was built at the University of Illinois by three students in the mid-1980’s. Its purpose was to see if a Zero-Gyroscopic Bike could be designed that could be ridden with “no-hands.”
Once the rideability of Zero-Gyroscopic Bike I was established; that precession wasn’t a superior godhead, another question arose – Is it possible to devise a zero gyroscopic bike that can be ridden no hands? University of Illinois undergraduate students in Mechanical Engineering proceeded to design such a bike to test this hypothesis, called Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II. Emphasis in the design was to use two smaller wheels on the front fork, 12.5 inch scooter tires, and a modified front fork as shown. Moreover, the upper front wheel was mounted onto two slider rods thus permitting adjustment of the center of gravity of the front fork assembly.
This bike, quite similar to Zero-Gyroscopic Bike I, was also found to be quite easily rideable, provided the rider kept hands on the handlebars. Students at the time reported that the Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II bike was rideable “no-hands,” but only for brief instants. With body articulation, one could cause the bike to initiate a turn in the usual manner, but a front fork oscillation (often called a “wobble”) would characteristically result. In essence, the Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II defied being ridden no hands for any appreciable distance. In short, it seemed that the Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II lacked a mechanism to dampen any front fork rotational inertia, with the result that a wobble was frequently induced in the process of riding. In the no-hands mode, it was beyond the rider’s ability to control or dampen the resultant front fork wobble.
Other students in subsequent semesters attempted to modify Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II by adding front fork torsional damping, however the results of that experimental effort had to be curtailed at the time due to cost considerations and the difficulty of fitting the bicycle with the proper hardware for torsional damping. In short, we ran out of available time and resources as this work was performed subject to a class schedule where other priorities took precedence. Until it is experimentally proven (validated) or disproved, we will stand by the following:
Conjecture: A zero precession bicycle of the form of Zero-Gyroscopic Bike II is capable of being ridden in a no-hands configuration provided that the front fork can be fitted with a properly sized and adjusted torsional damping mechanism.

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