A proposed field test method and an assessment of the rotational drag of contemporary front bicycle wheels
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Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology
© IMechE 2014. A proposed field test method was investigated to ascertain the differences in aerodynamic rotational drag between nine contemporary bicycle wheels and its robustness as an assessment method. The investigated test method achieved a very high level of intra-test repeatability of both power and speed data. However, the method did not obtain satisfactory levels of test-retest repeatability when the experiment was performed for the second time. However, the wheels that were tested at both events maintained their same ranking respective to each other at speeds above 8 m/s. The test method is recommended for the relative assessment of rotational aerodynamic drag. Five of the contemporary design wheels produced similar levels of rotational drag to each other, but additionally these were also close to that of a full disc wheel design. As a result, it is proposed that there is limited scope for further reductions in the rotational aerodynamic drag of contemporary bicycle front wheels. Future developments in bicycle front wheel research should therefore be directed towards investigating the translational aerodynamic drag.