Tag Archives: winglet

Are motorbike winglets just a gimmick?

Winglets have been used on MotoGP bikes for a few years now to improved high-speed handling, but are they just a gimmick on street-registered motorcycles?

It’s not just MotoGP bikes that have them, but also Ducati’s Panigale V4, Aprilia’s RSV4 and their upcoming RS660 (pictured).

These all have fixed winglets, but not it seems there is a move to active winglets that automatically deploy at certain speeds like the rear spoilers on some exotic cars that deploy at certain speeds.

Last year Honda applied for a patent for an active aero system that features winglets with servo motors that deploy the winglet at certain speeds to increase downforce.

Honda patents active aero directActive winglets patent

Last month Honda also applied for a patent for an active rear spoiler.

Piaggio gimmick?

Now Piaggio has applied for a patent for active fairing winglets activated by the rider.

The filing drawing features a Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled leaning scooter!

Now surely that’s got to be a gimmick.

GimmickWinglets on a Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled scooter

Or at least it is designed in a vain attempt to disguise their intent to use it on Aprilia MotoGP bikes or production sportsbikes.

After all, the idea is to improve handling at high — and surely illegal — speeds.

However, motorsport technician Jeromy Moore says aerodynamics can have an effect “at any speed depending on the design”.

“You will already feel the drag effect on your body at 60km/h when upright so you can imagine using some of that energy to produce downforce is possible,” he says.

“It’s a small effect at lower speeds but can be quite powerful.

“By having it active you could have a very aggressive winglet that flakes off at higher speed so you can get a benefit at lower speeds.”

So maybe it’s not a gimmick after all, although we don’t see Piaggio using it on a scooter!

But we’re not sure the extra weight of the servo motors and cabling would cancel out the added efficiency of the winglets.

And then there’s the extra expense …

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda patents direct injection, active aero

Honda has been busy this past year filing several interesting patents including the most recent for active aero and direct injection, possibly in the Africa Twin (above).

Active aero is like those cars that deploy a rear spoiler at certain speeds, only this deploys MotoGP-style winglets.

Ugly Ducati MotoGP bike direct
Ducati winglets

Direct injection is widely used in diesel engines to improve efficiency and decrease emissions. Basically it squirts the fuel at high pressure directly into the combustion chamber.

These new patents join the following over the past year:

Not all of these may make it into production, but these latest two patents seem more commonsense.

Active aeroHonda patents active aero direct

The patent drawings for Honda’s active aero system seem to show a new sportsbike with an inline-four engine.

It features winglets with servo motors that deploy at certain speeds to increase downforce.

Several MotoGP bikes, Ducati’s V4, Aprilia’s RSV4 and their upcoming RS660 all have fixed winglets.

Aprilia RS 660 concept is half a Tuono
Aprilia RS 660

Honda’s active aero idea to have winglets attached to servo motors to deploy them at high speed makes a lot of sense as the winglets are only effective at high speed anyway.

Although we wonder whether the extra weight of the servo motors and cabling will cancel out the added efficiency of the winglets.

Direct injection

Next year’s Africa Twin is expected to be a CRF1100L with increased engine capacity from 998cc to 1084cc with a double overhead cams instead of single.

Power is expected to increase from 70kW to 75kW.

But now it appears it will also get direct injection as their patent drawings show.

To meet tougher Euro5 emissions targets and not lose power, manufacturers are making bigger engines.

Just look at other adventure bikes from Ducati, KTM and BMW which have increased engine capacity.

Direct injection makes a lot of sense because it avoids unburnt fuel being wasted.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com