Pedalling Efficiency Rig redefines cycling performance testing

New rig joins roster of bike testing tools at SSEH


Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub (SSEH), located in central England, last week introduced its latest technological advancement in the field of cycling performance testing and optimisation, the Pedalling Efficiency Rig (PER). In partnership with Beckhoff UK, a leading provider of industrial automation and control solutions, and Pressure Design, an innovator in hydraulic engineering systems, SSEH has created a ground-breaking mechanical test rig that sets a new standard in cycling efficiency assessment.

The Pedalling Efficiency Rig represents a significant leap forward in the world of cycling performance testing and optimisation. By serving as a highly precise bicycle dynamometer, the PER enables the measurement of rider input power and the comparison with output power at the roller surface within a controlled environment. This unparalleled accuracy allows for a comprehensive assessment of the mechanical losses of a bicycle and, consequently, its efficiency. Unlike other methods currently in use, the PER assesses the dynamic system, shedding light on how various components interact to transmit rider power into forward motion.

One of the standout features of the PER is its exceptional precision in measuring rider input power at the pedals. By isolating left and right-hand inputs and capturing force vectors throughout the crank rotation, the rig can evaluate the pedalling technique’s influence on power transmission and efficiency. This capability is crucial for cyclists and coaches looking to refine their pedalling mechanics to unlock higher performance levels.

Furthermore, the PER goes beyond isolated component testing and focuses on the bicycle as a complete system. It accounts for rolling resistance, component stiffness, chain friction, and more, ensuring that the interplay between these factors is thoroughly understood. This comprehensive analysis provides valuable data that can guide equipment manufacturers in designing more efficient and responsive bicycles.

Facilitating the PER’s operation is Beckhoff’s cutting-edge TwinCAT automation software, developed by Pressure Design, which provides real-time control and data feedback. Data from sensors placed strategically throughout the rig is displayed using TwinCAT HMI Scope embedded within the Beckhoff HMI software, offering highly accurate real-time data visualisation for performance adjustments.

“The main objectives were to ensure a seamless recording and presentation of real-time data to the cyclist in a user-friendly manner, while also upholding and prioritising the safety of the cyclist while they’re using the PER,” said Beth Ragdale, product manager at Beckhoff UK. “The project’s central focus wasn’t merely data collection however; it was about presenting this data to the cyclist in a way that empowers them to make informed, instantaneous adjustments, elevating their performance to new heights.”

SSEH Managing Director Rob Lewis expressed his excitement about the project, stating, “The rig will open up new opportunities for teams and manufacturers to investigate the efficiency of the bicycle in a way that has not been possible before, encouraging future development and innovation within the sport.”

SSEH, Pressure Design and Beckhoff UK’s collaboration underscores their commitment to setting a new standard in the quest for optimal cycling performance and safety. Moreover, SSEH’s forward-thinking approach includes plans for future upgrades, further enhancing the PER’s versatility and effectiveness.


Find out more about Beckhoff UK’s range of automation technologies on the company website.