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  1. #1
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    High School Essay

    I have to write a 4000 word essay on a topic of my choice for the IB Diploma. I am a keen mountain biker and want to write about something related to mountain biking. I've come up with a few ideas like investigating which wheel size rolls the best (taking into account friction and rotational mass) and how handle bar width affects rider position based on their arm length/ shoulder width. However these are very physics based and I would like to do something more related to Design and Technology as the essay has to be based in one subject and physics is a lot harder. I was thinking something regarding materials on a mountain bike but am not sure what to do. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    What's an IB diploma?
    Do the math.

  3. #3
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    International Baccalaureate Diploma

    Write the more difficult essay, whatever that is. This is your time to learn how to present a cogent, critical essay, something sorely missing in most educations these days. Don't write something that is based on boat loads of online information and can be easily extrapolated from outside sources. Be creative in your project. The best ideas for something like this are projects with which you are deeply passionate.

    After all, if you are in an IB high school program, this suggests that you have an ambition to go to an elite college or university. Those schools are super competitive and you will need to know how to present an outstanding essay in all sorts of course work frequently.

  4. #4
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    There's not much about mountain bike design that isn't ultimately physics. Wheel rollability vs. diameter could get quite nasty, physics-wise, as you'll have to mainly take into account how the wheel climbs over bumps, kinetic energy, inertia of the bike and rider, rotational inertia of the wheel, compliance in the tyre etc.
    Bar width, coupled with stem length, would be an interesting one. Oldskool narrow bars are generally coupled with long stems so the arms perform a bit of a sweeping motion when turning the bars. Wider bars are better matched to shorter stems, so there'll be less of a sweeping motion there. The geometry of the frame also affects the steering characteristics so the bars and stem can't be viewed in isolation.

    hwcooper, if you'd prefer to shy away from physics then how about a bit of history? You could do an essay on the evolution of mountain bike design over the past 30 years or so. Alternatively, how about looking into how it's possible to earn a living from mountain biking these days (think sponsored pro riders, vloggers etc.) and compare that to the situation in the early days.
    Hose me down till the water runs clear.

  5. #5
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    I always thought "failed ideas" was an interesting topic.

    Bikes haven't changed a whole lot (in a lot of ways) in a very long time despite 1000's of attempts to improve upon it. There's a reason for that. Actually, it would probably take about 4000 words to explain that.

    -F
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  6. #6
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    You can write about the interaction between the riders and the Design and Technology.
    What make some riders so passionate about a specific types of Design/Technology, what does it mean to them or to an individual, what about it that gives the riders the thrill or sense of euphoria when riding. Just look at the discussion about frame materials, hardtail vs full-suspension, rigid, wheel size, wheelbase, clipless vs platform, tube angles, etc. and you get the idea. If all else fail, you can always write about chain-lube but that's a slippery slope to go about.

  7. #7
    One ring to mash them all
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    How about something focused on frame material? Not steel vs. aluminum, but pick one and write about the evolution of use of that material and its variants into modern frame design?

    OP, congrats on the IB program by the way. My daughter got her diploma in 2016. Hard work but very rewarding.
    Beware the old man in a profession where men die young.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grassington View Post

    hwcooper, if you'd prefer to shy away from physics then how about a bit of history? You could do an essay on the evolution of mountain bike design over the past 30 years or so. Alternatively, how about looking into how it's possible to earn a living from mountain biking these days (think sponsored pro riders, vloggers etc.) and compare that to the situation in the early days.
    These sound a lot more interesting imo. From clunkers to olympic sport in a relatively short amount of time. You might even find a few sources around here (not me but I'm thinking of another member). Consider your audience (your teacher), unless he/she is a mountain biker, wheel size roll and handlebar width isn't going to be very interesting. I wouldn't be very interested in 4000 words on these topics either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
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    ^^^+1. Something other the tech...maybe sociology, economics...?
    Do the math.

  10. #10
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    do it on cf frames but see this dudes site first
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