When the wheel is spun and then hung freely from the rope, it stays vertical!



Teachable Topics:

  • Angular momentum
  • Precession
  • Torque


Angular momentum is composed of how fast an object spins (or rotates) and what is the direction of the axis of rotation.  That direction is given b the "right-hand rule".  If you curl the fingers of your right hand in the direction of rotation, then your right thumb will point in the same direction as the vector for the angular momentum.

When the vertically-oriented bicycle wheel is spun, its angular momentum is in the horizontal plane.  Once spun, the wheel will stay vertical until gravity (Acting as an external torque) pulls the wheel into the horizontal plane.  


  • Bicycle Wheel gyroscope


  1. Holding the wheel by the axle, start spinning it.
  2. When you have it spinning at a fast speed, hold onto the rope/chain, and let the wheel hang off of it.

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