Updated May 15th, 2024
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Many thanks to Santander who have sponsored Daniel Barker, an engineering placement student, who created Tube Tool, a numerical software toolkit to compare the mechanical behaviour of steel bicycle frames. The project included both academic and industrial partners to create a userfriendly toolkit to help frame builders select tubes. Tube Tool is an interactive MS-Excel spreadsheet that can be used to compare the stiffness and load capacity of standard tubes under standard loading conditions. Tube Tool comes with a set of instructions and supporting documentation and is freely available [to download Tube Tool click here]. We welcome any feedback on this for future development!

Snapshot of the Tube Tool interface
In a nutshell
The Steel Bicycle Project (TSBP) aims to raise awareness of key scientific principles that relate to steel bicycle design and to support frame builders in their quest to understand and improve the performance of their bicycles.
Topics and objectives for the project
The project revolves around the following topics and objectives:
1. Design and simulation: We would like to understand how the relevant design aspects of a bicycle influence its performance. Computer simulations can be used to complement experimental testing to gain a fuller understanding of bicycle behaviour.
2. Materials and fabrication: It is important to raise awareness in the public and in the industry about relevant material properties, and the influence of fabrication approaches on the behaviour of bicycles.
3. Testing and measurements: We aim to support frame builders by developing experimental test rigs and carrying out scientific testing. We believe that there is real value in carrying out scientific measurements to understand in detail how the bicycle behaves and how this can be influenced by design and fabrication.
4. Knowledge and education: We would like to develop an ongoing relationship with frame builders. We will try to identify the collective needs of the industry, generating and communicating useful information that arises through our work and through relevant literature. We will generate data that is useful for the industry and is available for all in the public domain (i.e. not private consultancy/research that is kept a secret). We will publish findings of evidence-based research, which may also include the debunking of some commonly held myths.

Dr. Derek Covill: D.Covill@brighton.ac.uk
Prof. Jean-Marc Drouet: Jean-Marc.Drouet@USherbrooke.ca
Dr. Andrés Arregui Velázquez: av@arreguivelazquez.com



A simplified road bicycle frame mechanical design tool

Drouet J-M, Covill D, Arregui Velázquez A
ISEA 2024 Conference, Loughborough England, 2024


A simplified steel bicycle tube selection tool

Covill D, Drouet J-M, Arregui Velázquez A
ISEA 2024 Conference, Loughborough England, 2024

The steel bicycle project: bringing together tube manufacturers, frame builders and engineers through sports engineering
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Covill D, Drouet J-M, Arregui Velázquez A
ISEA 2020 Conference, Tokyo Japan / Online, 2020

Full text available from MDPI

On the Effects of Tube Butting on the Structural Performance of Steel Bicycle Frames

Covill D, Drouet J-M
ISEA 2018 Conference, Brisbane Queensland Australia, 2018

Full text available from MDPI

An Assessment of Bicycle Frame Behaviour under Various Load Conditions Using Numerical Simulations

Covill D, Allard P, Drouet J-M, Emerson N
Procedia Engineering, Volume 147, The Engineering of Sport 11, Pages 665-670, 2016

Full text available from ScienceDirect