BMW Motorrad is a leader in the use of carbon fiber in vehicles. The high-end HP race bike, designed for track use, features a carbon fiber chassis with a frame that weighs only 7.8 kgs. It now appears that the company is planning to use carbon fiber in a mass-produced motorcycle. With BMW’s experience with carbon fiber in the i8 and i3 cars, the company is ahead of the curve in the use of the advanced materials in production vehicles.
Borrowing from a design element used in race cars, BMW’s patent on the new motorcycle features a swingarm that will be integrated into the main chassis. Carbon fiber will be used in the part, allowing for rigidity in one direction and flexibility in another, which is crucial to absorbing bumps while maintaining stability. Racing cars have relied on the flexibility and strength of carbon fiber in their suspension designs for years, reducing weight and enhancing aerodynamics, leading to better lap times.
A conventional spring and damper will still be used, allowing for suspension adjustability.
A lot remains to be seen, but the design and plans in the patent make this development from BMW Motorrad worth watching.
Composites Manufacturing Magazine has been covering BMW’s use of carbon fiber and composite materials for years.
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