Students win Innovation Trophy with patent-pending bike

A group of engineering undergraduate students are enjoying a wildly successful ride with (and sometimes on) a patent-pending tricycle they designed and built this year in UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science’s newly remodeled and expanded Makerspace.

On April 6, eight of them traveled to Michigan State University to compete with their narrow-track (18”-wide), tilting, recumbent trike in the American Society of Mechanical Engineering’s (ASME) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, where they won the Innovation Trophy, placed 7thin the men’s drag race, and placed 15thoverall, out of 50 teams.

Students who attended the competition were: Elliot Adam, Kevin Broda, Bradley Carstens, Anthony Pierson, Alissa Shortreed, Tyson Slade, Phillip Van Asten and Tim Wegehaupt.

On April 5, the group was featured in a story on WUWM– “UWM Students Are Trying to Build a Better Recumbent Bike.”  

Andrew Dressel, PhD, director of the college’s Bicycle & Motorcycle Engineering Research Lab and faculty advisor to the students, consulted with the group on their design. In explaining the vehicle’s defining feature, he says, “The tilting is implemented with two swing arms and a bell crank, which enables varying the lateral stability of the vehicle continuously from as unstable as a bicycle to as stable as tricycle.”

A rider can switch between riding it like a bicycle (stability during turns comes from leaning into the turn) and a tricycle (it is inherently stable when moving slowly or stopped).

On April 8, a paper on the trike that was written and submitted by Shortreed, Pierson and Dressel — “A narrow-track tilting tricycle with variable stability that the user can control manually” — was accepted for oral presentation at the 2019 Bicycle and Motorcycle Dynamics Symposium, to be held in Padova, Italy in September.

Dressel started the Bicycle & Motorcycle Engineering Research Lab in 2017 to capitalize on interest raised at the 2016 Bicycle and Motorcycle Dynamics Symposium he helped organize at UWM. The lab has been funded in part by the Office for Undergraduate Research, through their Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program.