Aerodynamic benefit for a cyclist by a following motorcycle


Aerodynamic benefit for a cyclist by a following motorcycle


In recent years, many accidents have occurred between cyclists and in-race motorcycles, even yielding fatal injuries. The accidents and the potential aerodynamics issues have impelled the present authors to perform dedicated wind-tunnel measurements and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to assess cyclist drag reduction when followed by one, two or three motorcycles. The 3D steady-state Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes simulations with the standard kε model are validated by the wind-tunnel tests. The cyclist drag reduction goes up to 8.7% for a single trailing motorcycle and to 13.9% for three trailing motorcycles at a distance of 0.25 m behind the cyclist. This distance is not uncommon in elite races, as evidenced by the many recent accidents. The effect by a single following motorcycle at realistic short distances d=0.25 m (8.7%), d=0.5 m (6.4%) and d=1 m (3.8%) is larger than that by a following car at realistic short distance d=5 m (1.4%). Therefore it could be argued that in-race motorcycles are not only more dangerous but also aerodynamically more influential. This study reinforces the necessity for the International Cycling Union to change the rules concerning in-race motorcycles, not only to avoid accidents but also to avoid unwanted aerodynamic benefits.



  • Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  • Wind tunnel;
  • Aerodynamic cyclist drag;
  • Cycling aerodynamics;
  • Following motor;
  • Motorbike;
  • Numerical simulation

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