Cal Poly Pomona x Rene Herse Cycling Research

Cal Poly Pomona x Rene Herse Cycling Research

We’re excited to announce our partnership with the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly (Pomona) to explore cycling-related research topics. Starting this semester, 38 undergraduate and 2 graduate students are working under Dr. Nolan Tsuchiya on a variety of projects, including:

  • Measure drivetrain losses: Does cross-chaining decrease efficiency? What about ultra-small rear cogs?
  • Investigate suspension losses: not just the magnitude of the energy loss, but also the vibration frequencies that cause the greatest losses. A better understanding will point to new ways to minimize the energy lost as bike and rider vibrate.
  • Develop new methods to measure losses in tires, with the goal of improving our tires further.

The project came about when Dr. Tsuchiya reviewed our book The All-Road Bike Revolution on his private Youtube channel The Bike Sauce. We connected after that. With a mutual interest in cycling-related research, the idea for this partnership was born.

In the past, Rene Herse Cycles has teamed up with students of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department of the University of Washington for wind-tunnel tests of real-world bicycles. We found that wide tires don’t greatly increase wind resistance. Our tests showed that fenders can be designed to act as fairings to decrease drag. And we found that, when drafting, not only the rear rider benefits: The lead rider receives a push that decreases their wind resistance by up to 3%. Those results have changed the cycling world.

We are excited about his new project. Together with the students and Dr. Tsuchiya (bottom right), we’re developing a number of research projects that will improve our understanding of how bicycles work and (hopefully) lead to new products. Scientific research has always been the underpinning of what we do at Rene Herse Cycles. The collaboration with Cal Poly takes this to the next level, with long-term research projects that benefit from all the resources of Cal Poly’s Mechanical Engineering Department. At the same time, the project offers students structured research projects with practical applications. We’re looking forward to the results!

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