I modeled bicycle dynamics in MATLAB Simulink (SimMechanics a.k.a. Simscape Multibody) as part of a group. Through this project, I developed a strong appreciation of systematic approach when it comes to modelling dynamics problems. I used:
- MotionGenesis software and its associated books – written by Paul Mitiguy
- MATLAB tool called SimMechanics
- Inventor to sketch, and generate 3D drawings for SimMechanics
- Hand calculations
I suggest the above-mentioned books for anyone thinking of modelling dynamics of mechanical systems. One should be prepared for painstaking work to achieve an accurate models.
Always start from the basics, I made a lot of hand-drawings and fully defined my variables before committing to using the software. The software has a stiff learning curve, but quite useful. At some point in your model, you will no longer be able to keep track of the math by hand; that is where MotionGenesis comes in – it enables you to solve complicated dynamics problems analytically.
On the other hand, once you go through the SimMechanics route, you will not have to deal with a lot of the math, but it is still critical to solve or partially solve the problem analytically for validation reasons.