How Do Bikes Stay Upright It’s Not What You Might Think

Bicycles are a little mysterious. The first bicycle was invented about 200 years ago, and most of us have ridden one since then. However, there is still a lot of studies to be done to figure out exactly how they operate. 

In reality, one of the most common reasons for the vehicle’s capacity to remain upright is incorrect. Fortunately, Derek Muller’s Veritasium has an excellent video explanation available. The spinning wheels of a bike, we taught, keep it upright. 

A gyroscopic effect is created by this spin. Bicycles, just like a spinning top, stay upright, right. Wrong. Researchers have even developed a bike that does not have a gyroscopic effect, proving that this is not the case.

Muller uses a customized bike in his movie that locks its steering wheel, enabling it to turn in only one direction or entirely blocking it. It was hard to stay on it for more than a few seconds because of this. 

This is because the steering is essential for balancing the bike. Small steering actions and body changes, which maintain the vehicle upright, come naturally to riders. While managing the rider-bicycle system’s center of mass is vital, it is not required.

Muller demonstrates in the movie that a rider is not required for a bike to keep upright — bikes have built-in steering capabilities. What’s more significant is that a bicycle’s steer and roll are connected. The bike’s stability is maintained via their interactions.

This bicycle demonstrates that self-stability is difficult to describe in words. Bicycles are not stable due to gyros, because a self-stabilizing bicycle may build without them. That is what we did. They are also not sturdy due to the trail, which you may remove. That is exactly what we did. More positively, we have proven that mass distribution, particularly the placement of the front assembly’s center of mass, has just as much of an impact on bicycle stability as gyros and trails. Why does a bicycle have the ability to balance itself? 

One of the required conditions for bicycle self-stability is that the bicycle transforms into a fall (once we define the terms precisely). The article and additional materials go into further depth about the challenge and our solution.

Jim Papadopoulos, collaborating with Andy Ruina and Scott Hand at Cornell, began this study in 1985. The fundamental theoretical finding was in hand at the time. In some ways, the recent study on bicycle stability in the Proceedings of the Royal Society 3 was produced to support the current paper. 

Without that basis in the literature, we could not publish this gyro-free-no-trail finding. Starting in 2008, Jodi Kooijman and Arend Schwab at Delft University of Technology experimented with the two-mass-skate (TMS) bicycle and fleshed out the hypothesis. Jaap Meijaard in Klein & Sommerfeld 1 and Whipple 4 discovered the major mistakes.