Carbon-fibre construction offers interesting new possibilities for motorcycle chassis design, but a recently-unearthed BMW patent shows the German manufacturer taking things to a whole new level. BMW is working on a design that uses carbon-fibre construction to provide most of the rear suspension function.
British publications BikeSocial and Visordown ran the patent drawings, claiming they show a swingarm made of carbon-fibre material. The carbon-fibre is laid so that it only flexes in one direction; Visordown compares it to a leaf spring, which is designed to have vertical movement, but no side-to-side movement. The swingarm would connect to a carbon-fibre frame, but this is likely designed to eliminate as much deformation as possible. The swingarm itself, though, is designed to replace a conventional rear suspension system.
BMW’s design still requires a rear shock, but mostly for fine-tuning purpose. This would seem especially important for the damping function.
BMW’s been messing around with carbon-fibre motorcycle frames for years, previously building the track-only HP4 Race as a testament to its ability. Does that mean we’ll see a carbon-fibre swingarm on an upcoming superbike? Don’t get your hopes up. A patent application is no guarantee of production, even if the problems and questions can be ironed out. No doubt BMW’s finest boffins are slaving away on this question at this very moment!