Our researchers recognised that mixing tubes from several sets was becoming more common. However, this is normally achieved by some bespoke framebuilders and isn’t common for mass-produced bikes. It is normally the framebuilder who decides which tubes will give the frame the feel the customer wants, and their success at this depends on their knowledge and experience. Our research aimed to use computer aided design to compare the hundreds of different combinations of standard tubes from a range of manufacturers.
A range of existing frame geometries were subject to various in plane and out of plane loading conditions to examine the influence of tube profiles on the lateral stiffness and vertical compliance of steel frames. Previous work in this area focused on characterising the influence of overall frame geometries (tube lengths and angles) on the stiffness characteristics of frames, and as such this research focused on extending this work to analyse the influence of the steel tube sets available on the market to commercial frame builders and designers.
The intention was to develop a parametric model that could be driven using a single spreadsheet to control parametric changes to the frame geometry and individual tubes based on commercially available options to understand how changes to these parameters influence stiffness, compliance and ultimately strength characteristics of a frame.