MSc Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Management
Retractable Bike Stabiliser
Registration Number: 100147016
Supervisor: Professor Greg Heppell
1. Background and Motivation
There are very few experiences that are as exhilarating as riding a motor cycle on an open highway. It hasbeen described as the closest one can get to the feeling of flight without getting off the ground. However, motor cycles today have shaken off the stereotype of being used only for long distance hauls and by biker gangs. Today, a motorcyclist is a doctor, a professor, a father, a mother or even a grandparent. With this in mind, my supervisor, Prof. G. Heppell and I decided to address a problemfaced by a segment of the biking populace.
Most of the touring bikes are heavyweights and weigh in at over 400 Kgs. This means that it takes a considerable amount of strength to maintain the bike in an upright position. This should not be too tedious for the younger segment of the population. However a large segment of the United Kingdom's demography is middle aged or ageing. As a person getsolder it gets harder for him to balance the bike with his legs during stops. Subsequently most riders give up biking.
Figure 1. Demography of the United Kingdom. 
People who have been in an accident, war veterans who have been injured and lower limb amputees are all usually deprived of the thrill of biking too. This combined with the ageing demography spells that asignificant stratum of the populace cannot ride a motorcycle even if they want to because of their inability to balance the weight of the bike with their legs.
Hence we decided to build a retractable bike stabiliser which would ensure that the biker did not have to put his leg down and support the bike when the bike came to a halt or slowed down. The contraption basically consists of a set of wheels,very much similar to training wheels on a child's cycle. These wheels will deploy downwards, either automatically or manually, whenever the speed of the bike drops below 10 kmph and similarly lift off when the speed of the bike goes above 10 kmph. This would mean that the entire weight of the bike, during stops would be balanced by the supporting wheels rather than the biker.
It should be notedthat a trike could be used as an alternative for a bike stabiliser. However, a trike involves a lot of modifications to the current bike and also deprives you of a motorcycle's feel. Hence a gap in the market can be recognised and this project aims to exploit this very gap.
This product could also be modified to assist first time bikers who have balance issues with learning the ropes andparticularly help with cornering.
The aim of this project was to produce a product which would not just be a pipe dream but could actually be marketed.
2. Preliminary Research and Work
An intensive research into the bike stabiliser market revealed that the only product that catered to the market that our product aimed to conquer was the 'Retract-A-Trike' mechanism. This mechanism still requiredquite a few modifications to the current bike and was priced at a steep 2500 pounds. We intend to manufacture this product for less than 800 pounds and still ensure good quality and reliability.
To get a feel of what the market would expect from such a product, I prepared a questionnaire and the results of this survey would assist in detecting essential parameters that would have to be givenprimordial importance during the Design phase of the product. A sample copy of this questionnaire can be found in the Appendix.
Product design specifications were also formulated to elucidate what our product intended to achieve. This also assisted to set internal goals so that we would not bite off more than we could chew.
As part of the Product Planning process, apart from the GANTT Chart, the...