Cycling Test Lab Open Day Event

On Friday 17th June 2022, Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub (SSEH) officially opened the Cycling Test Lab at Silverstone University Technical College (UTC) with a ribbon cutting ceremony carried out by Richard Harrington, Chief Executive Officer for Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The open day event, saw visitors from industry, cycling media and local government come together to view the test rigs in action and see how the project will benefit both the cycling industry and the students at Silverstone UTC.

The Cycling Test Lab, based at Silverstone UTC was designed to help students develop their engineering skills and show the opportunities available within the sports engineering sector.  This facility will act as an extension of the aerodynamic testing facilities and R&D tools already on offer at Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub.

The project has received £800,000 of Local Growth Funding from the Bucks Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).  An allocation of £350,000 has been put towards the Cycling Test Lab at Silverstone University Technical College (UTC), providing students at the college with access to three specialist rigs which will allow them to apply their learning to real world applications. £450,000 has also been allocated towards a pedalling rig which will be housed at SSEH, with an initial version is due to be completed by the end of 2022.

As well as offering practical experience to the students of UTC, the rigs will allow SSEH to advance our research and development skills for sports engineering. Customers will book the rigs via SSEH and their testing will be carried out by the students, under the supervision of SSEH with the results fed into a specialist cloud software program.

SSEH Managing Director Rob Lewis said: “It’s great to bring together business and education in a way that will inspire the students and allow them to participate in real world engineering. We expect the next phase of this project, the development of a pedalling test rig at SSEH, to be completed by the end of 2022.”

The three test rigs include:

1. A rolling resistance rig which uses a motor driven roller, allowing the amount of power required to rotate a wheel and tyre over a surface to be measured considering variables such as wheel speed, contact patch load and tyre pressures.

2. A stiffness rig which uses force and displacement measurements to determine the stiffness of components, considering the mechanical efficiency to transmit rider power to the road. This bedplate-mounted rig allows a bike frame to be tested in various configurations as well as testing many components in isolation.

3. A chain efficiency rig which uses the decay of a simple swinging pendulum to test and evaluate the frictional losses in a cycle chain which can reduce overall efficiency and performance. This rig will allow for testing of different chains, lubricants as well as chainrings and sprockets to help optimise bicycle drivetrains.

Neil Patterson, Principal, Silverstone UTC said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with SSEH on this project.  While it’s not unusual for businesses to work with universities on this kind of project, partnering with a school such as the UTC is quite unique and gives our students an unprecedented opportunity not only to learn some mechanical principles and their applications, but also to develop their skills in lab work and research which will help set them apart when it comes to university and apprenticeship applications.”

SSEH is based at Silverstone Park which sits within the Buckinghamshire Enterprise Zone, a partnership between the public and private sectors delivering significant commercial development for the wider benefit of the local and regional economies.

It brings together representatives of the local authorities in Buckinghamshire, businesses, and other public sector agencies. SSEH received an initial £2m of investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund when launched back in 2019.

Richard Harrington, Chief Executive of the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a fantastic capability that will create a valuable new connection between students and industry.

“It is exactly the kind of facility that Buck LEP imagined in the Industrial Strategy to enhance innovation and learning opportunities and I am sure the business, economic and social benefits provided by this investment represent excellent value for money for both Buckinghamshire and the UK as a whole.”

For further information on our Cycling Test Lab, or any of the other R&D services on offer at Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub, please contact us on 01327 222830 or via email info@silverstonesportshub.co.uk