Suppression of burst oscillations in racing motorcycles

Simos A. Evangelou, David J.N. Limebeer, Maria Tomas-Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Burst oscillations occurring at high speed, and under firm acceleration, can be suppressed with a mechanical steering compensator. Burst instabilities in the subject racing motorcycle are the result of interactions between the wobble and weave modes under firm-acceleration at high speed. Under accelerating conditions, the wobble-mode frequency (of the subject motorcycle) decreases, while the weave mode frequency increases so that destabilizing interactions can occur. The design analysis is based on a time-separation principle, which assumes that bursting occurs on time scales over which speed variations can be neglected. Even under braking and acceleration conditions linear time-invariant models corresponding to constant-speed operation can be utilized in the design process. The influences of braking and acceleration are modeled using d'Alembert-type inertial forces that are applied at the mass centers of each of the model's constituent bodies. The resulting steering compensator is a simple mechanical network that comprises a conventional steering damper in series with a linear spring. In control theoretic terms, this network is a mechanical lag compensator. A robust control framework was used to optimize the compensator design because it is necessary to address the inevitable uncertainties in the motorcycle model, as well as the nonlinearities that influence the machine's local behavior as the vehicle ranges over its operating envelope.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011003
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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