Project Overview  |  Proof of Concept  |  Final Design  |  Fabrication  |  Testing and Results  |  Meet the Team  |  Acknowledgements

Project Overview

The Bike Buddy is a revolutionary way to transport a bicycle to a friend, colleague, or just about anyone! This product allows for a single rider to easily and comfortably ride a bicycle while also bringing a second one along for a friend. As a team, Tow-Tally Spoked has decided that this design must meet several design criteria that will set it apart from the competition and give it the edge that it needs to be competitive in the bicycle transportation market. Some of the more crucial criteria include; the capability to tow a secondary bicycle with a primary bicycle, being attachable to 85% of current mass production bicycles, and the ability to be attached/detached from both the lead and trailing bicycles in under 5 minutes with minimal tools.

The Bike Buddy will be competing in the bicycle accessories market, which is a vast and diverse industry. Many products produced for this market are intended to serve one purpose for their eventual end user. A product that would be in direct competition with the Bike Buddy is a child’s bicycle that has been modified to attach behind an adult’s bicycle for easy towing. The team has put together multiple designs that are structurally sound and theoretically inexpensive, in order to enter this niche market in this industry. The designs created by the team members are intended to be universal and serve the stated purposes. The buying patterns within the biking accessories marketplace vary in each niche market. Some bike owners are happy with a cheap bike and will never use or need accessories for them; while other owners have multiple bikes and are willing to spend money to modify them for specific uses. The target market for our product is the group of people who commonly use bike accessories and could benefit from being able to tow a second bicycle.


Proof of Concept

The Bike Buddy is designed to be a fully functioning towing attachment for bringing along a secondary bicycle. With the current design, this goal has been accomplished. The Bike Buddy that Team 29 has designed is capable of being used in various positions to accommodate the use of all different sizes of bikes and is designed to be compatible with a wide range of different frames through its use of its unique tightening clamps. Due to the universality of the product, it will appeal to a larger range of bicycle minded consumers when it finally does hit the market.


Final design

The bike buddy is a product that will allow easy transportation of an extra bike by a single rider. The final design is intended to be both compact and lightweight. It allows for quick attachment and detachment from either bike yet is designed to be sturdy enough to support the weight of two riders using both bicycles simultaneously. When not in use, the device can be stored in such a way that it is not a hindrance to the rider’s operation of the bike or can be removed and stored elsewhere. The product is designed to be universally adaptable enough to fit most standard bikes. This will allow friends, families, and couples to bring along an extra bike for their riding buddy. Outlined below in Table 1 are the exact PRS specifications that Team 29 has decided to be the exact stipulations that this design needs to meet.

Table 1: Design Specifications for the successful implementation of the Bike Buddy

PDS Category Requirement
1 Qualitative Must be capable of towing a secondary bicycle with a primary bicycle
2 Quantitative Attachable to 85% of current mass production bicycles
3 Qualitative Stable enough to ride with minimal training/new technique
4 Qualitative Capable of being attached/detached from both the lead and trailing bicycles in under 5 minutes with minimal tools
5 Quantitative Capable of fitting within a 3’x0.5’x1’ box
6 Quantitative Allow for no more than a 50% increase in stopping distance
7 Quantitative Capable of holding a minimum of 50 pounds vertically
8 Quantitative Restraining forces keeping the trailing bike attached to the lead bike must be able to sustain a force of at least 150 pounds
9 Qualitative Instructions and warning labels will be included with the product


Our final and most current design has undergone several renditions before arriving where it is now. With the assistance of feedback from our sponsor on some preliminary prototyping, we were able to refine the design to meet the criteria that were laid out in our product design specifications. The current design includes a single 200kg clamp that will attach the Bike Buddy to the seat post of the lead bicycle. This clamp will be welded onto an 18” long circular tubing that makes up the main frame of the Bike Buddy. This main piece will have several drilled out holes along the entire length to allow for a telescoping adjustment of the inner circular tubing. This inner tubing will be welded to the first hinge point which will provide the trailing bicycle with the ability to have some vertical movement. On the other end of this hinge will be an additional 16” long circular tube attached to one final hinge. This final hinge will then mount to our handlebar mounting system that will use two 75 kg clamps to secure the device to the trailing bicycle. The design is intended to be constructed entirely of 6062 aluminum, which we determined through an in depth FEA analysis would be sufficient to provide the required amount of strength for the product. The final design can be seen below as a Solidworks assembly.



The fabrication of the initial prototype for the Bike Buddy consisted of manufacturing the shaft components, hinge components and attachment components. Hinge components due to their tight tolerances and irregular shapes were machined using the University’s CNC mill. The mill was able to cut the external radii of the hinge without eliminating the flat surfaces that would be used to connect the components to the shafts.  Shaft assemblies were cut to length from the stock aluminum tubing that was purchased from the supplier. Holes for length adjustment were drilled at measured intervals using the digital positioning system on the University’s manual lathe. Attachment components were drilled similarly to the shafts however they were drilled with the appropriate holes to attach the truss clamps that had been selected for the project.

Once all components had been properly machined, welding was used fuse the hinges to the shafts and attachment components. Tac welds were performed on the corners to hold the pieces in place while a TIG weld was performed fully around the meeting surfaces of the components. After all welding had been completed the hinge bearings were press fit into the hinge components leaving the pieces ready for final assembly.


Testing and Results

Like the testing procedure that our team used for testing our POC, our team decided to use the same methods and record the results for our prototype. The four testing standards that we felt were most important were; rider-less test, lay down test, solo rider test, and dual rider test. The table below outlines the results that we obtained from our testing procedure with a simple pass or fail for each category.

Table 1: Bike Buddy Prototype Testing Results

Rider-less Lay Down Solo Rider Dual Rider
Pass Pass Pass Fail


The team started testing by having both bikes free from riders. By firmly twisting and pulling on the individual bikes in a variety of different directions, the team was able to obtain a general sense of whether the clamps would be able to withstand the torsional and radial forces that would be applied during the operation of the device. Second, the team completely laid down the trailing bicycle while still attached to the lead bicycle. This verified the integrity of the clamps that secure the leading and trailing bicycles and provided a benchmark for what the design will be capable of handling during normal operation. Next, the team performed a solo ride with the Bike Buddy to verify that the device was capable of being operated by a single rider without the assistance of another person. This solo ride also tested the placement of the hinges on the prototype, provided experimental data on the clamp strength, and indicated if the device was capable of being used by someone with minimal experience. Up until this point, the Bike Buddy had performed all our tests flawlessly. It was during the solo rider test that we started to have trouble due to the instability of the trailing bicycle, as can be seen in the attached video. We still gave the overall test a pass because although it was not pretty, it did still complete the test successfully. Unfortunately, we felt at this point that it was not safe to continue with the dual rider test due to the instability experienced during the solo rider test. Therefore, the dual rider test received a failing grade. We attribute our instability during this test to inconsistencies during the manufacturing process. Due to a lack of proper tooling and a time constraint, we were forced to improvise our hinge bearings for bolts that were not quite the proper size. This allowed for excessive slop in the hinges which allowed the trailing bicycle to experience oscillations during use. We intend to fully fix this issue with one final prototype.

Overall, this product is designed in a somewhat niche market and it is going to be a unique desire for people who are especially active in the biking community and use bicycles as their main form of transportation. But, for people who are interested, this product does make it easier to transport one bike with another bike when compared to other methods like holding the other bicycle with one hand. At innovation day, we had a positive response from attendees about the usefulness of the device and we feel that in a global market, this would be a desirable product.



Meet the Team


Ryen Blair:  


Ryen Blair was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and is a Senior Mechanical Engineering student at UNR, planning to graduate in the spring of 2018. He is looking to get a job in the manufacturing field after Graduation. Ryen has faced many engineering challenges throughout his college career. None were more challenging than being project manager of the 2017 UNR Concrete Canoe team. The Concrete Canoe team helped fully develop Ryen’s skills, such as working with a team and presenting concise and informative presentations about an engineering project. When the canoe broke a month before competition Ryen had to design a solution that could be implemented quickly and last through the competition. In the end Ryen and the Concrete Canoe team got third place out of fifteen participants.

Kyle Castle:


Kyle was born in Reno, but has lived in numerous cities across the country. Currently, he is an intern for Wood Rodgers, a civil engineering firm in Reno. Kyle is a senior in the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is on track to graduate with a 3.0 GPA in May of 2018 and move on to pursue a career with Wood Rodgers. Currently, Kyle is the president of the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter on campus and has been working to create more outreach projects and professional development events for the chapter. During his time with ASCE, Kyle has organized 10 different major events. The largest event, Dream Big, brought over 750 Washoe County students to the University for a series of tours and activities over the course of 3 days. Putting on the event was a major challenge requiring a wide range of communication skills. These experiences have helped Kyle to develop his leadership and team skills by demanding exceptional coordination between various students, university staff, and professionals in the engineering fields. Outside of a professional setting, Kyle enjoys tinkering with all kinds of things from cars to computers. He applies techniques acquired from engineering to find solutions to various issues when repairing parts on his car. He proudly completed a full engine rebuild on his 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution. The engine continues to run today, over 30,000 miles later.

Mike Hall:


Michael Hall is originally from the small town of Powell Wyoming. He currently has two associate’s degrees, one in Engineering and the second in General Studies. His most challenging engineering project has been his capstone project for his associates in engineering. During his everyday job he has to employ the use of differential equations. Even while he is at work he is constantly looking for ways to better improve efficiency in the many tasks he is assigned daily. One way that he has done this is to design new procedures that allow for a normally very complicated task to be done with ease. His goals right now are to pass this last year of school and do well in any internships that he participates in during that timeframe. He also is looking forward to finally starting employment in the manufacturing industry. His goal in this is to help improve the overall efficiency of the manufacturing processes used around the world.

Jace Hargrove:


Jace Hargrove was born in Reno, NV and has lived in the Reno/Tahoe area all his life. He always had an interest in building things and knew from a young age he wanted to be an engineer. He attended the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno and specialized in Engineering while their before moving on to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at UNR. He is expected to graduate in the spring of 2018 and move on to pursue a career in R&D. He has been a member of many extracurricular organizations while at UNR including both the residential and fraternal judicial boards; the ASME student chapter, serving as the secretary during his senior year; the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity, being a founding member of the campus chapter;  and the Theta Tau engineering fraternity.  He considers his greatest Engineering accomplishment to date to be his participation as an original member of the NASA Moonbuggy Competition team at AACT. While a member of this team he worked to develop his skills in machining and welding, winning gold in the SkillsUSA state machining competition in 2011, and his skills in 3D design when completing virtual parts for the buggy. As part of the team he worked on the project for 3 years and was able to travel to Huntsville, AL in the second year where the team placed 6th in the world and won the featherweight award.

Brian Turner:


Brian Turner is from a small town outside of Sacramento, California. Brian Turner is a mechanical engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the President of ASME Reno student section and the vice-President of AIAA Reno student section. The most challenging engineering project that he has been involved in was creating autonomous search and rescue drones. Some of the many engineering skills that he has developed or improved on while in attendance at the University of Nevada, Reno have been critical thinking and research. He is proud of the volunteer work that he has done outside of school. A time when Brian has used his analytical techniques for defining a problem and designing a solution would be when he worked for EM Research and was tasked with figuring out why a problem was occurring and how to fix it. Brian’s goals are to graduate and find a job within industry though he does hope to come back to school in order to pursue additional other degrees.











We would like to acknowledge the hard work of every team member over the course of the 2017-2018 school year. Without their hours of hard work and dedication, this product would not have made it this far into the development phase. We would also like to thank our sponsor, Seena Drapala, for continually pushing us to produce a better product and test our designs to improve not only ourselves, but also our final product.