Future engineers build hydraulic bikes

Nov. 22, 2006
The Chainless Challenge, sponsored by Parker Hannifin, Cleveland, challenges engineering students to design, build, and test hydraulic bicycles as a means of exploring alternative energy solutions.

Murray State University's chainless recumbent bike garnered prizes for manufacturability and workmanship.


The team from Cal Poly earned top honors and $12,000 in Parker Hannifin's Chainless Challenge with this lightweight prototype.


The Chainless Challenge, sponsored by Parker Hannifin, Cleveland, challenges engineering students to design, build, and test hydraulic bicycles as a means of exploring alternative energy solutions. "The familiar and efficient design of the ordinary bicycle presents a platform on which something new and valuable might be created. Combining the bicycle and hydraulic power offers fertile ground for innovative thinking," says Craig Maxwell, Parker's vice president of Innovation and Technology.

Bicycle entries had to meet criteria for reliability, manufacturability, cost effectiveness, and complete a 4-mile circuit that features a 400-ft change in elevation as proof of concept. Teams of students from Cleveland State University, University of Akron, Purdue, University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), Calif. Polytechnic University (San Luis Obispo), Western Mich. University, and Murray State University (Kentucky) spent 12 months preparing for the event.

The teams vied for $25,000 in prizes. Cal Poly collected a total of $12,000 for finishing first in both the circuit and sprint matches; Cleveland State, $2,500 for Ingenuity and Novelty; Western Michigan, $2,500 for Reliability and Safety; and Murray State took home $2,500 for Manufacturability and Workmanship.

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