The two-wheel template
Bicycles come in many shapes but have a commonality of layout that suggests a common ancestor. John Kemp Starley, inventor of the first commercially successful ‘safety bicycle’ is responsible for that. Working in Coventry, Starley set out to make bicycles that were easier (and safer) to ride than the Penny Farthing. Initially, he developed tricycles – but his 1885 Rover Safety Bicycle sealed his fame: the chain-driven, rear-wheel drive machine with wheels of equal size is the template for the bicycles that followed.
McLaren Applied Technologies’ footnote in the development of the bicycle comes through partnership with high-performance manufacturer Specialized. The Specialized S-Works+ McLaren Venge project saw Applied Technologies use data-driven design to create a frame approximately 20 per cent lighter, with no loss in stiffness, than the standard S-Works Venge. Using human performance and vehicle dynamics modelling combined with data collection technologies, Applied Technologies supported Specialized’s ‘Rider First’ engineering principles to produce the McLaren Tarmac in 2014. Together they have now created a third bike platform, the S-Works Roubaix and Ruby, released in September 2016.