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What causes wheels to break?

In this video a pedicab driver has succumbed to the taunts of his clients and decided to attempt some stunts on his tricycle. It's ok to have a little fun but do not let it get out of hand. If you forward to the 1 minute mark of this video you'll see him attempt a "drift" on his trike. In other words he tried to skid sideways.

What happens? His wheel folds on itself. Nobody got hurt but his tricycle is not useable anymore and will need some repairs. His clients just laughed and walked away.

When a bicycle (two-wheels) makes a turn you lean into it. This still keeps pretty much a vertical set of forces on the wheel. In contrast when a trike or quadracycle makes a turn you cannot really "lean into it" so there is much more sideways force on the wheel (known as axial force). Standard bicycle wheels and even motorcycle wheels are not built to withstand this sideways force of intense turns and will fold over. This is why the engineers of the Quattrocyle in the Netherlands made their own wheels to better withstand turns at high speed.

This video was discovered reading Ken Cameron's cycling site. He writes about pedicab driving and runs a pedicab business in Austin Texas. His site is called Austin Pedicab News

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