The goal of our project for NORCO was to design a bicycle frame stiffness tester to compare the relative stiffness of Norco Performance Frames with each other and with their competitor. NORCO can use stiffness results to design better bicycles, as stiffness is a parameter that affects performance. This testing device can perform eight modes of testing by using different combinations of fixtures and load applicators on the head tube, bottom bracket, front fork, rear dropout, and seat tube.
To address NORCO’s design objectives, our team designed a testing table that allows for tool-less mounting of components and frames, while still providing high stiffness to maintain sufficient test repeatability. Optimization was performed on the chassis, table, fixtures, and force transmission systems using structural theory, Excel Optimization, and FEA Analysis.
The tester offers compatibility with a plethora of frame designs and sizes, without requiring an endless number of specialized 1 to 1 adapter components. A prototype with an electronic control system was fabricated in house to perform verification testing, with both results and built components made available to NORCO at the completion of the project. Along with physical deliverables, a complete design report and CAD package were provided.