Determining the ideal mountain bike rear suspension

Shields, Matthew W., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia
Lewis, David, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Brown, John, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia

Due to its recent surge in popularity as a competitive sport, mountain biking is rapidly becoming a showcase for new technologies. Among these new technologies are suspension systems. The push for control at speeds first saw the development of front suspensions which provided shock absorption in the front via a linear piston setup. In the latest quest for speed, manufacturers now are attempting to suspend the rear wheel as well, a much more difficult task considering that the rear wheel is not attached to a linear fork and is connected to the drivetrain. This most recent development has produced countless philosophies and designs and has been a source of ongoing debate and controversy. No one company can claim, with scientific evidence, that its design is superior. I propose that if a few suspension characteristics valued by all competitive bikers are used as criteria, I can scientifically determine which suspension configuration is ideal.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
mountain bikes
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