Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

11 International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports


International Society of Biomechanics in Sport

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Last page number:



Until recently, most of the human-powered vehicles (HPV) were designed focusing solely on its aerodynamics characteristic. In many of these HPV designs, the rider seating position was arbitrarily chosen without consideration of its effect on the rider's comfort and cycling effectiveness. Also, there is no guarantee that the seating position is related to maximum power output. Too (1991) used an experimental approach to determine that the rider will produce the maximum anaerobic power when the seat tube angle of a bicycle is at 75° whereas Hull and Gonzalez (1990) used an engineering approach to optimize the cycling biomechanics. However several factors. including aerodynamic effects, were not considered in both studies. The objective of this study was, therefore, to find the optimal rider's seating position in HPV for either aerobic or anaerobic performance. The method is based on modeling a mechanism equivalent to the hip, knee, and ankle joints. All physical constraints on the motion of these three joints as well as the HPV design constraints are mathematically described. Nonlinear programming techniques were used to reach an optimal solution for either aerobic or anaerobic designs. To test the validity of the model, it was compared to the experimental results of the anaerobic cycling power test presented by Too (1991).


Aerodynamics; Biomechanics; Cycling; Human engineering; Human powered vehicles – Seats


Biomechanical Engineering | Biomechanics | Kinesiology




Presented at 11th International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports, held June 23 - 26, 1993, Amherst, Massachusetts