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Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

Just how much contribution does the spinning rear hoop provide to motorcycle stability? The current version of the wiki on motorcycle and bicycle dynamics says that it's not much, however it is referencing two bicycle papers, which are hardly ideal motorbike analogs with respect to rear wheel gyro forces.

It's an open ended question so please answer how you see fit!

Thanks in advance.

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"Life! No one get's out of it alive."
"The trick is to grow up without growing old..."

RE: Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

Bicycle wheels weigh ~ nothing.
Motorcycle wheels have more mass.
I can attest that a Honda 50 has substantial gyroscopic stability at what, for it, is highway speed, even with the engine off.  If I tried it again, I would probably wear a helmet.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

"Bicycle wheels weigh ~ nothing.
Motorcycle wheels have more mass."

...would be my argument too. It would seem to be so obvious that I can't believe two motorcycle related wiki entries have this glaring error... I was hoping to get something more concrete before registering on Wiki and pointing out that error.

Does anybody have a Tony Foale or Cocco chassis tuning book on their shelves they care to quote?


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"Life! No one get's out of it alive."
"The trick is to grow up without growing old..."

RE: Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

Not just the mass, motorcycle average speeds must be at least 3 or 4 times higher and the gyroscopic forces increase to the square of speed.

RE: Rear wheel gyroscopic stability query

I think it takes a much bigger tug of countersteer to get a m'sickle to lean at highway speeds than at 10 mph. I wonder if the wickiests have experienced that, and if so, to what they attribute the phenomenon.

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