The Moto Student competition is a challenge for university teams from Spain, Europe and the rest of the world to design and develop a racing motorcycle prototype with a small cylinder (125 cubic centimeters and 2 strokes). This test is a challenge for the students because within a period of three semesters they must test and demonstrate their creation and innovation capacity by completing a project under the same conditions required by industry, that is, working as a team, within a limited budget, with some minimum technical requirements and a closed calendar, as well as being touch with the most up to date technologies, sponsors and companies in the sector.
The UC3M team recently presented a prototype in its initial construction phase. "This development phase to get it underway is going to be the most complicated but also the most rewarding because we have lots of ideas to test out on the motorcycle before presenting it for competition", remarked Technical Director, José G. Pérez Alonso, who did his doctoral degree at the MAQLAB research group at the UC3M Department of Mechanical Engineering. The final competition, with its corresponding evaluation, will be held at the Ciudad del Motor (Motor City) in Aragón during the first part of next October, coinciding with the Campeonato de España de Velocidad (Spanish Speed Championship). The prize, which is for the top industrial project, is 6,000 Euros and a "stage" for the team members in industry companies or in the companies taking part in the competition.
Just as in any engineering project, the first step for the design of the prototype was observing actual models to understand the form and functioning of a racing motorcycle. Once the concepts were clear and the line of work well-defined, brainstorming sessions began and the initial sketches were made. The second step consisted in creating a virtual prototype model with which to work out possible faults in its prior construction. For that purpose, material supplied by the competition organization was modeled by the students through 3D software design. After that, once all of the parts were assembled, they began the first dynamic virtual simulations and when they were able to have this virtual model totally ready, the actual prototype construction began. Soon its first sessions on the track will take place at the Circuito (Circuit) of Cartagena, where the team will evaluate the invention through a data collection system of its design.
The objective of the teams taking part in this competition, sponsored by the Moto Engineering Foundation, is that the manufacturing cost for the 500 motorcycle units designed totals 4,500 Euros, although the value of the prototype is higher. This must include the engine, rims and tires, the brake system for wheels, the front fender, and the back muffler. The rest of the components are optional, except for the chassis, and the swing arm which they design "The main challenge has been to start from scratch, choosing an innovative design, without the constrictions of a traditional approach, with the goal of being able to unify the technical solutions which we think can offer us a competitive edge, and which on the other hand, allow us to learn the most possible", stated Pérez. And as result, in a nutshell, you have a different and original motorcycle.
This industrial engineer leads a very capable group of students with a great deal of interest in making this adventure work. Yolanda Colás Escandón is one of them, and she is very excited to be able to wrap up her studies with this kind of work. "It has been a great challenge, and I have learned many things, not only from the motorcycling point of view, but also from the engineering perspective", said Colás, who is one of the coordinators of the project, which is under the direction of the Full Professor Juan Carlos Garcia Para, in charge of the MAQLAB project. "This project is now consolidated and it is producing very interesting concrete results. In addition, we are nearing completion of a spin-off at the UC3M Science Park (Leganes Tecnológico) to launch this development, which will be called LGNTech Design".
In 2007, within the MAQLAB, a research group was created which focused on motorbikes, called MotoMAQLAB UC3M, which has presented diverse projects on two wheeled vehicles. At this moment, they have a virtual model totally created by the group which allows them to simulate and study diverse aspects of the functioning and manageability of motorbikes with the aim of proposing improvements which increase the safety of these vehicles. Among their projects is work on a new line of research regarding electric motorbikes, whose first prototype will soon be on the track. In addition, the students have created an association centered on the work of the research group to boost participation in the projects that they are carrying out.