Novel Linkage Design for a High Performance Mountain Bike


The project is the design and manufacturing of a downhill mountain bike with a novel rear suspension linkage. The bike is to be constructed of carbon fiber tubing and aluminum lugs. The point of the project is to apply all my learned mechanical engineering knowledge to design both the suspension and the structure of the bike frame. 


The suspension is designed around the application of a specific phenomenon between a Stephenson type 1 linkage and a 4-bar linkage (both planar linkages). Basically, it allows the bike to have two completely different suspension designs within one frame (one 6bar and one 4bar that is determined by the removal or addition of a part of the linkage).


Additionally, the suspension design is generated from a novel linkage synthesis algorithm that I have written. The algorithm is based on a multi-objective optimization problem which allows synthesis of linkages based on a desired input axle path and desired leverage ratio. This is significant because existing methods of linkage synthesis only take in set of input points that the linkage must travel through(often less than 10 points) and the results from this method are hard to take to real world application(because the input crank angle is not constrained (will rotate 360) and the linkage path may hit all points but might be inaccurate between the points). 


This project is relevant to the field of mechanical engineering because the study of planar linkages is an active area of research - contributing to areas of interest such as protein folding. This project is also relevant because of its study of combined loading of dissimilar material adhered tubular joints, which is not intricately explored in existing literature.



Eli Page, Project Lead, 2025 


Grant Project