Thursday, February 15, 2007

Off-Highway: Three-Wheeler Cuts Sharp Corners

Off-Highway: Three-Wheeler Cuts Sharp Corners


Off-Highway: Three-Wheeler Cuts Sharp Corners Solidworks Corporation
3D modeling software helps a motorcycle enthusiast create his dream design.
By Len Vermillion, Editor in Chief, Product Design

Geir Brudeli’s passion for motorcycles runs deep. He likes the freedom of the ride and the lean around the corners. The Norwegian inventor likes motorcycles so much he wanted to make his own, one that softens the ride and makes it faster and safer.


That’s why Brudeli started his own company; Brudeli Tech, and set out combine his love of motorcycles with his engineering creativity. He also sought to combine concepts, making his new bike a bridge between motorcycles, small cars and four-wheel off-road vehicles.

The result is unique, and it delivers a design that provides the freedom of a motorcycle with the control of a four-wheel vehicle. Only this design doesn’t have four wheels; it has three. The three wheels are what you’d expect, either. Brudeli’s new bike, the 625L, which is scheduled to be street legal this year, has two motorcycle tires — in the front. Each tire is slanted in parallel 45-degree angles to the ground when the bike is stopped. The construction allows the rider to lean into corners as if on a motorcycle.

The purpose of three wheels is to allow the rider to cut corners at high speeds without spinning out of control or rolling over.

Zooming Up with CAD

Getting the design of the new bike together was no easy task for a new inventor and a small team of helpers. Brudeli also worked with Hareide Designmill, a Scandinavian design firm, to develop the frame and refine the vehicle’s aesthetics. Brudeli sought the help of SolidWorks Corp. and its 3D CAD software. The software allowed Brudeli to accelerate product development, reduce his costs, refine component design and, ultimately, make his dream come true.

“SolidWorks software began to contribute almost immediately,” Brudeli says. “First of all, some of us here who don’t have much CAD experience were able to learn and use it with minimal practice and instruction so we could quickly create better designs. Second, this type of project demands component-level accuracy. SolidWorks allows us to fix part interferences and ensure components such as the unique wheel mounts, meet design specifications, saving both time and money.”

Brudeli Tech uses SolidWorks eDrawings e-mail-enabled design communication tool to shave models and component sketches with partners, designers and suppliers to discuss both technical and aesthetic aspects of the bike. Recipients of the e-mails can zoom, rotate and otherwise manipulate a solid model as it they were holding it in their hands.

Brudeli also cites SolidWorks software’s open architecture as a contributing benefit. He says that it enabled his team to use the models for their computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing processes. “CNC machining with 3D reduces up-front costs and streamlines manufacturing so we can get prototypes on the road for testing quickly,” he says.

“Tackling the unconventional is most every entrepreneur’s mission, and a coup for engineers that actually succeed in building something truly unique,” says Simon Booker, marketing manager at SolidWorks Europe. “The Brudeli vehicle is a show stopper. Its distinctive design is an example of how SolidWorks allows creative engineers like Brudeli to explore [new] concepts.”


Unique Components

While Brudeli’s bike is not the first tilting three-wheeler, it’s unique in that it features several feature as a small car and has slanted tires. The Piaggio MP3 started the tilting three wheelers trend.

Many of the features of the 625L come from Brudeli’s own background. He received a degree in mechanical engineering and product development and began working on transmission and gearbox solutions for small cars. Always interested in motorcycles, he formed his own company and started the work on the 625L in. The end result is based on a KTM 625 SMC motorcycle.

Another unique feature of 625L is its footboards that stay parallel to the ground even when leaned over, which gives the rider more control over the vehicle.

In the end, Brudeli has his dream bike ready for the street. Motorcycle enthusiasts now have a safer ride while continuing to take sharp corners at high speeds with all the freedom they’ve ever enjoyed.

More information on SolidWorks is available by calling 800-693-9000 or at www.solidworks.com. More information on the 625L is available at www.brudelitech.com.


Solidworks Corporation, 300 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742

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