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Design and optimisation of a motorcycle chassis with the use of composite materials

Till today the motorcycle racing industry has not shown consistent progress with regards to structural development like that of the chassis. Our project is an entirely innovative concept and is not available on the market and on any racing circuit.

In the field of racing motorcycles the need of lightness and stiffness for the chassis structural components has been continuously increasing in the recent years, being the expected performances strongly related to their specific stiffness, that is the stiffness to mass ratio: the optimization of the components can be considered, therefore, the main designer’s task. A possible solution to satisfy the requirements of the chassis structural components is the use of advanced composite materials, because of their high stiffness and strength-to weight ratios. Composite materials are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties and which remain separate and distinct on a macroscopic level within the finished structure. In our case the materials used are Carbon/Arimid fibres and Epoxy resins. A unique opportunity has arisen since La Dorna (the Spanish federation that organizes the world championship motorcycle racing Moto Gp.) has modified technical rules for the 250cc class, substituting it with a new one where a common to all Honda 600cc, four cylinder, four stroke engine has to be used. Other than the engine and total motorbike weight all the other parts do not have to be standard and can be constructed by various designers using any material and latest technologies. With the implementation of these new rules, the new class(Moto Gp) will not count on the participation of the usual official teams (Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati ,Aprillia, etc..as these are not interested in producing bikes using their largest competitors engines. This has triggered a hunt by the teams that have signed up to find the best company capable of producing the best bike. In fact as the engine is common to all teams the technical difference is made by the best mix of frame, swinging arm, forks, tires, suspension etc… The Rimini (Italy) based Bimota is one of these companies that has been contacted by some of the best team managers (Fausto Gresini Italy and Sito Pons Spain) because they are surly capable of producing this bike thus proposing a highly innovative project where the parts will be made from composite materials because they are the best solution to obtain lightness, rigidity and strength. As there are no other companies or manufactures who have a flexible production process capable of producing these parts in composite materials, we have been contacted to develop these components due to our technical department vast experience and high technology level in producing similar chassis for the bicycle industry in composite materials. Internationally, racing motorcycle technology has still been focused on frames made of welded light alloy sheets. These have been a widely adopted solution to match the requirements of high stiffness to mass ratios but can be superseded by a composite structure due to a wide range of combinations of resins and material lay ups. Due to the lack of technical information readily available on composite motorcycle chassis these prototypes must be produced in progressive steps and relative laboratory and track testing must be carried out till the required target is achieved. As it is a very ambitious project and the results are uncertain we are interested in collaboration with Bimota, through which, other than know-how, we will obtain a greater exposure as they will make this collaboration public, enabling us to expand further our research and development department.
Acronym: 
Moto2comp
Project ID: 
5 875
Start date: 
15-02-2010
Project Duration: 
12months
Project costs: 
270 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Design of Vehicles
Market Area: 
Motor Vehicles, Transportation Equipment and Parts

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