PROJECT ENDURO: BEng Extreme Sports Engineering

24.04.2015

Project Enduro is a prime example of the University’s innovative work with partners. The project attracted financial support from the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund, with the aim of developing a four-wheeled downhill, gravity-powered mountain bike, primarily for the use of disabled riders.

Project Enduro BEng Extreme Sports Engineering Project Enduro: BEng Extreme Sports Engineering

The project originated with Calvin Williams (a lecturer at Gower College and keen athlete), who temporarily lost the use of his legs following an accident.  Gower College and UWTSD formed a partnership to secure funding, enabling the appointment of a dedicated project team, based in the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, led by Calvin Williams as Project Manager, with Richard Thomas (Associate Pro Vice Chancellor) acting as Project Director at the University. Access to the Faculty’s resources for advanced  engineering design, analysis and manufacturing, along with its expertise in mechanical, automotive and manufacturing engineering has enabled in-depth characterization of chassis, suspension and damper behaviour and the development of mid-range and elite models. Comprehensive on-track testing has been carried out, employing digital video and data acquisition technology to measure the velocity and suspension dynamics and understand the interaction of rider, bike and track.

Team member Paul Davies, who has a background in motorsport research and development and expertise in damper technology and chassis construction, says, “Enduro uses standard mountain bike parts. They are interchangeable which means that the bike is serviceable and understood by cycle mechanics. The change from two wheels to four means different dynamic loading, which has led us to develop stronger wheels, with improved torsional rigidity. Standard MTB dampers were tested on the UWTSD Dynamometer to measure the forces produced at a given speed and then revalved to suit the bikes’ requirements.”

After testing the Enduro bike, triple amputee Josh Boggi commented that the “adrenalin rush and sense of freedom was brilliant. The bike was very stable and comfortable, making it easy to use and gain confidence once you trust the bike.”

UWTSD Manufacturing Engineering graduate, Andrew Jenkins, is part of the Enduro team. His degree dissertation focussed on the design of the gravity bike seat. “Many aspects of the Engineering degree were applicable…Research, manufacture, materials, the application of CAD and finite element analysis (FEA) during the degree at UWTSD provided me with the necessary skills to confidently work on the Enduro project,” he commented.  “We are surrounded by a wealth of knowledge from lecturers and technicians who have been really keen to help out,” adds Andrew. “We have been able to use facilities across the University, such as water jets in the Faculty of Art and Design to cut aluminium and steel brackets, the CNC workshop and all the motorsports facilities in the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering.”

The project has attracted international attention and was chosen for showcasing at the UK Trade and Investment Summit in November 2014. It is now in its final phase and the team are focussing on opportunities to commercialise the project outputs and further develop some of the spin-off technologies that have been developed.

For more information please email kelvin.lake@uwtsd.ac.uk