The Flying Rider bicycle design enables the rider to leverage the pedals by pushing up against the padded back bar. Theoretical calculations based on reduction of vertical pelvic motion indicated that the resulting motive power efficiency improvement could yield an 8 to 10 percent increase in torque at the crank. The only way to prove that empirically is to conduct comparative testing.
As the accompanying chart of the averages of all tests shows, Flying Rider exhibited a 22.7% improvement over the Specialized for short, 30-second bursts of power. For longer durations of 5 and 20 minutes the Specialized did better than Flying Rider. These results indicate that Flying Rider's suspension harness interfered with rider performance.
The Phase 1 testing protocol was specified by a professional bicycle racing coach. Tests were supervised by Schwartz. For the first round of power testing, a conventional road bike of as close a configuration to Flying Rider was selected: a Specialized Allez with a Shimano 105 group set. The rear wheel hub strain gage communicated via Bluetooth with the Garmin Edge 500 mounted on the stem. The rear wheel and Garmin 500 were shared by the two bikes. A training roller stand supported the bike under test and provided resistance.
Three test riders each standing about 5' -10" in height and between 160 and 175 pounds in weight participated. None of the riders were competitive cyclists and each had limited riding experience. The riders were paid $25 for each test session, which lasted about one hour. The testing period spanned 6 weeks due to the requirement that at least 3 days separate test sessions for each rider.
Copyright 2015 D.M. Schwartz. All rights reserved.