Pedalling Efficiency Rig developed for cycling performance testing

Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub (SSEH) has unveiled the Pedalling Efficiency Rig (PER), the organisation’s latest technology for cycling performance testing and optimisation.

Beckhoff UK

The PER enables the measurement of rider input power and the comparison with output power at the dynamometer’s roller surface within a controlled environment. From this, SSEH said that an accurate comprehensive assessment of the mechanical losses of a bicycle can be created to ultimately measure a bike’s overall efficiency.

Rider input power measurements are taken from the pedals; by isolating left and right-hand inputs and capturing force vectors throughout the rotation, the rig is said to evaluate the power and efficiency of different pedalling techniques. The data can then be used by cyclists and coaches to help improve performance levels.

SSEH said that the PER is also able to test the bicycle as a complete system, accounting for factors including rolling resistance, component stiffness, and chain friction.

By measuring all the components simultaneously, the rig can provide an analysis of their interplay, presenting data that SSEH hopes can guide equipment manufacturers in designing more efficient and responsive bicycles.

The technology was created in partnership with Beckhoff UK and Pressure Design, who together developed the TwinCAT automation software.

Data from sensors placed throughout the rig is displayed using TwinCAT HMI Scope, embedded within the Beckhoff HMI software, offering real-time data visualisation for performance adjustments.

In a statement, Beth Ragdale, product manager at Beckhoff UK, said: “The main objectives were to ensure a seamless recording and presentation of real-time data to the cyclist in a user-friendly manner, while also upholding and prioritising the safety of the cyclist while they're using the PER.

“The project's central focus wasn't merely data collection however; it was about presenting this data to the cyclist in a way that empowers them to make informed, instantaneous adjustments, elevating their performance to new heights.”

Rob Lewis, MD of SSEH, added: “The rig will open up new opportunities for teams and manufacturers to investigate the efficiency of the bicycle in a way that has not been possible before, encouraging future development and innovation within the sport.”

SSEH plans for continued development and future upgrades of the PER, with the aim to further enhance its versatility and effectiveness.