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The system is based on the Elo rating system invented by Arpad Elo, a Hungarian physics professor which is most commonly seen in chess and some multiplayer computer games.
Each bike is given a numerical rating. The higher the numerical rating the more popular and successful the bike is.
When a battle is played 2 bikes from the same category are chosen with a weighted bias towards freshly uploaded bikes onto the system.
In the contest between 2 bikes, the winning bike gains a certain amount of points relative to the amount of points belonging to the opponent its beaten. The losing bike then loses that same amount of points calculated from its starting score.
All numbers used in the example are hypothetical.
EG. Bike 1 starts with a ranking of 100, Bike 2 has a ranking of 50, Bike 2 is selected as the victor so it is awarded 20 points bringing bike 2's total to 70, Bike 1 loses that same that number of points bringing its score to 80.
If Bike 1 had a ranking score of 200 therefore making it a more "successful" bike and Bike 2 (still with a ranking of 50) was to win the battle it would be awarded more 50 points as it has a done a better job of beating the bike with a greater ranking score.
Bike 1 may finish with a ranking of 150 and bike 2 would have a ranking of 100.
If Bike 1 was to beat Bike 2 this would be seen as less of an achievement. Bike 1 might only gain 5 points as this was an expected result bringing its score to 205 and Bike 2 would only lose 5 points taking its score to 45 This method might seem unnecessarily complicated, but it is a good way of ensuring freshly uploaded bikes find there deserved position faster than running a cumulative total. If 1 extra point was awarded on to each bike for a win similar to the football league scenario. The bikes that have been on the system since the beginning would almost certainly be at the top of the leader board.
If for some insane reason you actually want to read more on the algorithm Rate my Ride is based on, you can find that here.