AUT University engineering students attempt vintage motorbike redesign
AUT engineering students are putting their ingenuity to the test to get an ‘obsolete’ motorcycle engine to perform as a modern racing machine.
Paul Hanes, New Zealand’s leading expert on Indian motorcycles (featured in the film The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins) wants to race one of his bikes at the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Hanes, who was a technical consultant on the movie, turned to AUT University mechanical engineering lecturer Dave White for advice. Always on the lookout for ways to excite, inspire and test his students, Dave suggested turning the challenge into a project for third year mechanical engineering students.
The goal – to double the engine power and top speed
The students are overhauling a standard 1929 Indian Chief the original touring bike. With an engine configured much like a lawnmower motor, the Indian Chief is more suited to cruising at a maximum 80kph than tearing up the tarmac. The challenge of doubling the engine power and increasing top speed while staying within the confines of the original vintage design tests everything the students have learned about mechanical engineering to date.
They are applying theories and topics such as heat transfer, stresses, materials, dynamics and kinematics to the demanding task as well as using cutting edge technology including computer simulation and high speed cameras. The project is split into sub-categories and students have been assigned to work on different aspects of the redesign.
Students take on different parts of design challenge
The project has been split into various tasks and assigned to students.
- Combustion Chamber Design – Ashish Bajaj and Kirk Teesdale
- Valve Actuation System Design – Greg Prendergast
- Cylinder Head Design – Samuel Wium
- Exhaust System Design – Christopher Kane
- Intake System Design – James Turner
- Valve Train Design and Simulation – Cameron Wynniatt and Brendon Midgley
- Crankcase Breather Characterisation and Simulation – Samantha Jack and Rameez Khan