- BMW has patented moveable wings for the S 1000 RR.
- The moveable wings remain horizontal even when the bike is leaned over, reducing destabilizing forces and increasing cornering performance.
- BMW’s use of innovative aerodynamics, including moveable wings and side ducts, shows their focus on performance and competing in superbike racing.
A little while back, we told you BMW had a bewildering use for aerodynamic wings. It focused on making them more useful for road riding via integrated LED lights. Now, the Bavarian giant has another aerodynamic innovation, but with a focus on track riding. The news comes from the company’s latest patent filings. Here’s what you need to know.
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BMW Patents Moveable Winglets For S 1000 RR
Aerodynamics is a key focus area of the current-generation S 1000 RR. The sport bike has received a dedicated set of wings that protrude from the bodywork to promise 20 pounds of downforce. This helps reduce wheelie, keep the front end planted, and increase contact patch during corner entry. The focus now, however, is on improving mid-corner grip.
To do that, the company has come up with a set of moveable wings that remain parallel to the ground even when leaned over. The two wings are attached to actuators via hinges, which keep them completely horizontal regardless of the lean angle. The actuators work in tandem with the inertial measurement unit. Think of it like a gimbal for wings.
What’s the benefit? As mentioned above, more mid-corner grip. You see, fixed winglets work flawlessly in a straight line. But when leaned, they create a force component that destabilizes the motorcycle. So with wings that remain horizontal in the corners, BMW wants to negate the destabilizing force component. If this becomes a reality, the new tech would help BMW put on a better show in the World Superbike championship (WSBK). No manufacturer uses moveable wings as of now, even though they’re technically allowed if the bikemaker homologates them on the production-spec motorcycle.
The WSBK rules read:
“For active or dynamic aerodynamic parts ONLY the standard homologated mechanism may be used. The range of movement must be the same as that used by the homologated road machine in normal use—not the mechanical maximum.”
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Like the moveable wings, BMW has also patented side ducts for the fairings. In a straight line, these cancel each other out, but when leaned over, the ducts help push the tire toward the ground. Thus, the cornering grip increases. Such aero is gaining popularity on MotoGP prototype bikes (Ducati, KTM, Aprilia all use them), but no manufacturer has them in WSBK. So if BMW includes them on the M 1000 RR, it could become the first company to have them in superbike racing.
You should take all this with a pinch of salt, though. Patent filings never tell the complete picture, and they sure as hell don’t ‘confirm’ anything. But this is proof aerodynamics are a key area of focus for the Bavarian giant. Let’s wait and watch what becomes a reality.
Do you think so much focus on aerodynamics is a good thing? Or would you prefer simpler bikes? Tell us in the comments.
Source – Cycle World