Aerodynamics is now more important than ever. Besides Aerospace engineering aerodynamics finds its application in number of fields including automobiles.
Indeed, automobile is one such area that gives you a bigger bang for the buck.
Gentle reader, let your mind date back to the day you first learned how to ride a bike. Who can forget such a magnificent moment? Oh, the memories!
Why aren’t bikes getting much faster? The answer is pretty simple-aerodynamics. If you have gone through my previous article you would have got the meaning of aerodynamics. If not…No worries!! I can tell you again. Aerodynamics is merely the study of how air flows around an object.
And Bike racing is all about aerodynamics. For several decades, bikes have been designed with aerodynamics in mind. Whenever we ride a bike we all have experienced a wind resistance. It’s actually the wall of air that pushes against a vehicle at high speeds. In fact, the factor that most limits a person from going faster is the aerodynamic drag that is created by your speed and sometimes by the natural wind as well.
In top speed talk, the dominant type of drag is ‘pressure drag‘. This is a force generated by the pressure difference between the front and back of an object traveling at speed. To visualize it, imagine putting your hand out of a car window at 75 mph, head on to the wind. The air hits the front of your hand, so the 75 mph wind behind it builds up pressure on the front of your hand. Behind your hand, there’s a low-pressure area, created by the 75 mph wind blowing past either side of your hand. The difference between the high and low pressure sucks your hand backwards, and that’s how drag force is created.
The drag on your bike passing through the air is related to the square of its speed. So as speed doubles, drag would increase fourfold.
Experiments were done to measure the drag co-efficient using wind tunnel. In essence, a wind tunnel is a massive tube with fans that produce airflow over an object inside. As a result, a car’s drag is much less than a bike when considered on a scale basis.
Of course, there’s no way to eliminate aerodynamic drag but it can be minimized. So let’s have a look at the different types of aerodynamic add-ons to vehicles.
At the Front End:
As we get through the wind, the front design of the motorcycle has got a big deal to reduce the turbulence. If the shape is smoother and rounder then the air can easily flow through it. Therefore a single and easiest modification that one can do to improve the efficiency is the windscreen.
At the Back End:
The back end design of the bike also contributes to its efficiency of .A sweeping design will help to minimize the turbulence.
Next after your bike, the body of the rider is the important part in the aerodynamic. Yes!! The physical structure of the rider plays a major role too. If the rider is a big fellow, then there will some additional drag created by his body which will slow him down. The thinner the rider, much lower the resistance of wind and better is the efficiency. Since clothing has a major effect on aerodynamic drag, it’s better to lose some weight and to ride with smooth clothing with a few pockets, belts and other stuffs that could flap in the wind.
It’s that you just need to change a couple of bits and that doesn’t seem to have to cost the earth. If you do these things, I promise that you can have the best ride ever. Enjoy your riding!