BaoPham Design’s Aerodynamic Bicycle: Glancing into the Future

Earlier last year, BaoPham Design took to Instagram to reveal their 3D modeled aerodynamic bicycle design. Many of us were left in awe and brimming with questions, and understandably so. This bike will blow your mind. 

The concept design looks straight out of the science fiction movies. The Z frame, hubless design, and thin tires give it a distinctively unique look. But is it really practical or just way too ideal? Can we expect to see such e-bikes in our lifetime? 

In this article, we will be discussing the basics of aerodynamic cycling and what makes this concept from BaoPham Design unlike any other (or so to say).

You can also watch this Youtube video from Everything Explained for a more in-depth analysis of the design.

Aerodynamics and What it Has to do with Cycling

Aerodynamics essentially deals with the motion of air and the air resistance a moving object experiences, in this case, cyclists. Even on a calm day, air resistance is a cycling drag. Quite literally. As the cyclist’s speed increases, so do the air resistance. Greater air resistance leads to greater exertion of muscle power.

Even on a flat city road, the aerodynamic drag is the most significant challenge for a cyclist’s speed. In some cases, it accounts for 70 – 90 percent of the total resistance a cyclist may feel while pedaling. The only exception is climbing uphill. In that case, the effort necessary to pedal a bike against gravity outweighs wind resistance.

Let’s quickly revise our physics concepts to understand the difference between drag and air resistance. There are essentially two different types of drag, pressure, and friction. 

Pressure Drag

Pressure drag is due to the air particles hitting the cyclist and the bicycle as they pedal forwards. This causes the particles to compress. The difference in air pressure between the particles in front of the cyclist and behind causes a drag. 

Friction Drag

Friction drag is due to the friction against the surface of an object. The greater the surface area, the greater the friction. This is why we often see cyclists in fitted clothes; this reduces the overall cycling drag they experience

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    It’s safe to say that air resistance and cycling have had quite a turbulent past. Scientists and cyclists have since been working hard to experiment with ways to streamline bicycles. The aerodynamic bicycle makes up for the human body’s inability to efficiently cut through the air and can significantly reduce drag. 

    A Quick Overview of the Efforts to Reduce Air Resistance

    Bike designers and frame builders have been working hard to create a better, more aerodynamically efficient bike design. In some recent designs, the manufacturers have focused on shifting away from the regular round tubes to tear or oval tubes. However, this requires a delicate balancing act between maintaining a decent strength to weight ratio and improving aerodynamics. Perhaps the biggest improvement – in terms of impact – has come in the form of Disc wheels. Disc wheels, while heavier than the standard spoked wheels, produce relatively less wind drag as they spin. 

    Still, the biggest impediment to a dramatic improvement in this regard comes from the human body. Although some bicyclists use different body positioning to reduce their frontal area, there’s no way to streamline the body. It helps reduce the resistance they must overcome to move forward and increase their speed and efficiency. Moreover, small details like more suitable clothing can also make a huge impact on reducing skin friction.

    BaoPham Design’s Concept: The Design

    aerodynamic bike

    Right off the bat, we see a ‘Z’ shaped frame made up entirely of carbon fiber and titanium. This futuristic e-bike also comprises paper-thin metallic handlebars and pedals, centerless wheels, rotors, and a suspension. We can also see tires that are much smoother than those on a mountain bike

    What this Aerodynamic Bicycle Comprises of:

    Centerless Wheels 

    The idea behind a centerless wheel is that the force primarily focuses on the circumference of the wheel rather than the center. This reduces rotational inertia, which is a pretty common problem in heavier wheels. 

    Build

    The BaoPham design’s conceptual aero bike boasts an aerodynamic build. It will be constructed entirely from aluminum, carbon fiber, or platinum. Because of this, this e-bike will cut through the extra pressure a biker may face from air-skin friction and air pressure. Thus, this aerodynamic build will give a much speedier ride and a sleeker look than the regular bikes we see today. 

    Rotors

    There are two rotors on this aerodynamic bicycle. One is situated in the front, inside the cylindrical joint, and the other at the back. The front rotor will be activated once the pedals are pushed, generating electricity that will be transferred to the rear wheel. 

    Suspension

    The suspension is an essential part of a bicycle. It insulates the cyclist and bicycle from the roughness of the terrain. But, the first thing you notice when you see this bike picture is that it has no suspension. Initially, this raised some eyebrows as suspension adds to the capabilities of the bike to handle the weight. Later on, the designer allayed these concerns with an explanation of the location of the suspension. Although not part of the design currently, the suspension on this aerodynamic bicycle will lie somewhere between the wheels and the bicycle’s body frame. More details on the suspension will hopefully be revealed in the future. 

    Withstanding the Weight of a Cyclist 

     The designer confirmed that the material being used can withstand a person’s weight and doesn’t bend ‘too’ easily. Whether it is carbon fiber, titanium, or aluminum, the designer has claimed that the bike will be sturdy enough to handle the weight of the rider. 

    However, carbon fiber tends to become brittle and shatter under pressure over time. The same issues plague aluminum and titanium frames. Titanium frames, in particular, tend to fail at points of stress. But, of course, it depends on the build quality as well. 

    Price Point 

    How much can such a practical e-bike cost? We don’t know anything about the price point yet. However, it’s easy to make a guess on the basis of the material of the e-bike. We know the bike can be made of Carbon Fiber, Aluminum, or Titanium. 

    Titanium is generally more expensive than other metals, primarily because it is commonly found as alloys. This makes processing Titanium a lot more difficult. Moreover, titanium is extremely hard, making it difficult to work with. With high manufacturing costs, we can only imagine what this means for customers like ourselves. 

    If they go the aluminum or carbon fiber route instead, they can reduce the price. But, in that case, the manufacturers will compromise the durability of the bike, which is critical considering the Z shape design.

    Too Good to be True? 

    Aesthetics aside, we can’t help but think, is BaoPham’s aero bike idealistic? Having gone through the dynamics of the aerodynamic e-bike, we still have any doubts. For instance, below are some of the problems we see with this design: 

    1. Un-adjustable SaddleThe un-adjustable saddle means that it doesn’t cater to varying heights. So, if someone’s taller or shorter than the particular height, they’ll probably be uncomfortable throughout their journey.
    2. Metal handlebarThe handlebar is completely metal. Due to this, it becomes very unergonomic. If you exert the pressure during rides, you will probably end up hurting yourself. Besides, there’s also the problem of sweating. Sweaty hands will increase the probability of a slip-up.
    3. DampingToday’s most advanced e-bikes come with a modern damping mechanism such as EDS (Electronic Damping System). Unfortunately, we don’t see any place for a damping system in this design. It will be very difficult to take this bike on off-road excursions without any damping type.
    4. BatterySeriously, where will the manufacturers place the battery with this bike design? Even if somehow, they are able to find a place for the battery, it will be too small to offer any practical value when using the bike for a complete round trip. Unless, of course, the battery manufacturers can make a more efficient yet compact and practical e-bike battery.
    5. Z ShapeThe ‘Z’ shaped frame appears to be flimsy in comparison with other modern aerodynamic bicycles, which have a diamond-shaped frame. They’re composed of two triangles that add to the bike’s sturdiness. Z shape, on the other hand, doesn’t include anything to provide the necessary support.

    Final Thoughts

    The quest for the fastest road bike is on. Many aspects of this aerodynamic e-bike are still not set in stone. Moreover, BaoPham Design is yet to share more details about the concept with the general public. Only the future will tell whether any e-bike manufacturer will be able to put this design into practice and create the fastest bicycles. 

    Still, BaoPham Design’s concept looks incredibly promising for the future. A sleek body that does away with all the bulky components of yesterday and features bare essentials with enhanced functionality is sure to draw a lot of attention. While we don’t know when this concept will be put into concrete reality, it’s not hard to see a future with these aerodynamic and fastest road bikes weaving through the busy city traffic.

    And we are certainly eager to witness the spectacle.

    What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Is BaoPham Design’s aerodynamic e-bike design practical? 

    While the design looks more idealistic than practical, no one knows the future. With the advancements in technology, anything is possible. A few centuries ago, no one would have thought about video calling or flying through space, but these things are a reality today. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed to see this design put into practice one day. 

    How can it hold the weight of a person? 

    BaoPham Design answered this question in detail. As per their explanation, the pedals of this e-bike will activate the rotor inside the cylindrical joint. It will then generate electricity transmitted back to the rear wheels. The design also conceptualizes another motor at the back to turn the wheels. 

    Where is the chain on BaoPham Design’s aerodynamic e-bike? 

    Well, there’s no chain on this aerodynamic e-bike. BaoPham Designs has conceptualized this e-bike in a chainless design to improve the biking experience. Without chains, the rides will be safer, grease-free, and much more comfortable for everyone.   

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