D2H Advanced Technologies, the Buckingham engineering consultancy, has revealed the bespoke bike development process for the Great Britain Cycling Team. In association with the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to provide engineering and development resource stretching back over seven years, D2H’s latest development round has, for the first time, involved integrating the rider and bike into the design process as a single system, with beneficial results in aerodynamic performance.
Chris Hebert, D2H engineering director, said: “While wind-tunnel testing tends to include a rider, the traditional development methodology has looked at the bike in isolation.
“However, being an organisation that considers all aspects of cycling development, from rider position to apparel to equipment, D2H decided on a holistic, system-level process from the start. What we found in the tunnel confirmed exploratory work in CFD, that the bike could markedly and beneficially influence the flow structures around the rider.”
Counter-intuitively, changes to the design of the bike which yielded an improvement in combination with a rider were found to be detrimental to the performance of the bike itself when viewed in isolation. Indeed, the bike without a rider has a higher drag than a more conventional design. Hebert describes the development process as being somewhat complex. “No two riders are the same size or shape, so we went through a multitude of differing iterations to settle on the optimum design for the whole squad.”
Every change to the aerodynamics, mechanics or materials had to be tested complete with riders to ensure a meaningful comparison could be made. D2H believes this is the first bike to be designed in this way, and the results have been significant, with the design being successfully homologated in 2019 in readiness for 2020. Hebert is enthusiastic: “This is probably the biggest step forward since the introduction of the aero-section tube. Looking ahead, I do wonder if the next step is to design each bike specifically for each rider, from the ground up. A complex engineering challenge no doubt, but something that D2H thrives on.”
D2H Advanced Technologies was formed in 2015 in the UK to bring motorsport levels of innovation and response to engineering projects in new sectors. Founded by engineers with many years’ experience at the pinnacle of motorsport, D2H has become a leading resource for project managers requiring rapid development from concept to validated design and has delivered many engineering projects using its agile and innovative methodologies.
Specialists in advanced design, aerodynamics and thermodynamics, D2H uses leading digital resources to develop improved solutions in reduced time. The company has developed relationships with many major automotive professionals, manufacturers, and prototype component suppliers. Clients include global automotive, motorsport and technology companies around the world and the company has also expanded into the North American market, establishing D2H in North Carolina.