BMW patent – active aerodynamics

In motor sports and also on current Superbikes, winglets are now used to improve the aerodynamics of the motorcycles. Mostly they are installed on the side of the front to generate more downforce on the front wheel and to counteract wheelie tilt.

Like other manufacturers, BMW is working on the next step, an aerodynamic design that can be adapted to the respective needs depending on the riding situation.


Each wing can be controlled separately

BMW’s patent application shows an active winglet system with movable aerodynamic surfaces that can be independently controlled to change downforce as needed. The ECU should take into account the throttle position, braking force, speed, acceleration and bank angle in order to generate maximum traction, as much or as little drag as possible.

This could give the motorcycle better traction when accelerating, support cornering, stabilize high speeds, or even shorten braking by adding drag.


Mounting on the damping components

The drawings of the patent application are only very schematic. However, it is important to note where the aerodynamic components are mounted. They were not integrated into the fairing, as is the case with current Superbikes, but attached to the fork and swingarm.

But this idea is basically not new. Already Formula 1 cars from the 60s were equipped accordingly. This was later forbidden by the regulations of motorsports, so you don’t see this nowadays.

The assembly at the damping elements brings however some advantages. So the downforce can be used without the pressure on the spring elements. This would mean that the suspension would not have to be stiffened accordingly and the chassis would be able to react more flexibly to bumps even at high speeds.


Movable wings

However, the BMW patent not only shows wings that can be adjusted in their inclination, it should also be possible to move them forward or backward. Since the winglets are mounted far down, they could be folded up so as not to obstruct the freedom of leaning.


Whether the winglets will be installed in a production motorcycle in such a way remains speculation. However, since the WorldSBK regulations now allow winglets as long as they are also present on the production motorcycle, movable winglets would be very conceivable in the future. But probably they will be limited to the homologation models for racing. 


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