Ride model analysis - the development of motorcycle suspension damping to optimise vehicle grip through vehicle dynamics fundamental model formulations

  • Michael Apicella

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


    This document demonstrates the use of simulation and Analysis software such as Mathworks Matlab and Microsoft Excel to gain a greater understanding of suspension characteristics. It focuses on the modelling aspect of a motorcycle vehicle model, and the developments made to the model due to progressive results. The purpose of this project is to create a parametric vehicle model capable of analysing the damping characteristics in relation to tyre grip due to actions on the vehicle, for example, road inputs and operator inputs. This project met its requirements through the use of Mathworks Matlab Simulink and an extensive study of relevant research through the created vehicle model within Microsoft Excel. The research analysed two types of road inputs and two types of operator inputs. The method used, analysed the grip results of each action on the vehicle separately and optimised the damping using Microsoft Excels Solver tool to find the best results. The project then progressed to combine the inputs acting on the vehicle to simulate real life application and validated results such as braking, with real data obtained through external data logging. Through multiple Microsoft Excel simulations this research determines specific damping adjustments for front and rear suspension in order to maintain tyre grip whilst braking at different pressures and banking at different angles. The project concludes that for the given vehicle parameters that a damper delay rate of 3ms can increase the average tyre grip by an average of 13.5%. The main conclusions drawn from the project are that in order to maintain maximum tyre grip (regardless to weather it is front or rear tyre grip) the damping has to be adjusted dependent on the scenario. The nature of this document is not solely useful to motorcycles as the model formulation is directly relevant to the car industry because the same approach can be used, and the document supplies the foundation knowledge for creating 7 and 14 Degree of Freedom models to analyse a four wheeled vehicle.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorDamian Harty (Supervisor) & Gary Wood (Supervisor)

    Cite this