Sunday, November 25, 2007

How Does A Motorcycle Work?

Easy. A motor-ised-bycycle, or mo'bike to shorten it's name is a motor-on-a-bycycle. Evolution changed it since but here is the breakdown.

Bycyles consist of a wheel with a hinge next to it and a longer end that trails behind. Imagine looking at a bycycle from above. The hinge is the place where the front wheel and handlebars, which are one unit, pivots on a joint and the trailing end. The trailing end consists of the main frame, engine, tank, back wheel, seat, and suchlike, all combined in one single unit.

Now for a quick bit of physics. Law of conservation of momentum. If you push the hinged thingy described above, applied pressure to the handlebars, made it turn, in a short while while it will straighten itself out. That's just how it is made.

What makes it work is the human rider and his invention. Believe me, too little speed (actually increasing engine power applied to the back, trailing wheel) and the bike will not straighten itself out. You also have to control the thousands of little changes that happen to an object in rolling motion in one plane. You inculcate a sense of two-wheel balance and practise it till it is ingrained in your sub-conscious.

Now that you know the principle and the rider, lets look at the ride (bike). 3 main systems:

1. Fuel System consisting of fuel control, regulation and delivery: That means stuff like the tank, hoses, carburettor or fuel injection in case of newer bikes, and the accellerator or throttle and the cable connecting it to the carb/processor/pump.

2. Mechanical System: The internal combustion engine with attached gearbox and sometimes a kickstart. The carb is also connected to the motor. Incidentally, the frame, seat, side panels, front and rear mudguard are not really parts of the mechanical system. They are fixed to each other as rigidly as possible. Both wheels ride on 'suspension' which uses springs on/in tubes and oil/gas containers to handle road bumps and irregularities. The connection between engine and rear wheel is usually a chain riding on two toothed wheel-sprokets. Finally the brakes are also part of the mechanical system.

3. Electrical System: That means generator or dynamo, storage or battery, spark inducing system for the engine to 'fire' and of course, lights.

These three systems have to work together in appropriate harmony for the bike to work properly.

For the evolution of the modern motorcycle, I suggest just start by pouring over photographs of bikes through the ages.

1 comment:

Vandita said...

enjoyed reading this. i know nothing, and will be looking up some more of that conservation of momentum thing. that was really intriguing.