Bicycle-Wheel Gyro

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In this activity, a spinning bicycle wheel resists efforts to tilt it and point the axle in a new direction. Learners use the bicycle wheel like a giant gyroscope to explore angular momentum and torque. Learners can participate in the assembly of the Bicycle Wheel Gyro or use a preassembled unit to explore these concepts and go for an unexpected spin!

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • A Bicycle wheel (Cheap or free from a thrift shop, a bike store, or your friends.)
  • 2 Handles (Plastic handles from a hardware store work perfectly and are cheap. Get the kind of handle that is designed to screw onto a file.)
  • A Low friction rotating stool or platform (Typing or computer chairs often work well.)
  • Eyebolt (optional)
  • Drill (optional)
  • Chain or rope suspended from a large stand or a ceiling (optional)
  • Spoke guards (optional)
  • Adult help


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Rotation Motion
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • California Department of Education
  • NEC Foundation of America