Report: BMW Is Working On Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Frames

Illustration for article titled Report: BMW Is Working On Carbon Fiber Motorcycle Frames

Sounds like BMW has just patented designs for two carbon fiber motorcycle frames, along with plans for efficient assembly. Apparently one would fit sport bikes specifically, while the other could be worked into a more diverse range of body styles.


Motorcycle News says the performance-oriented beam frame will be made of “eight lengths of ‘pultruded’ carbon fiber” which they explain involves making long tubes of the stuff that are put into place while “partially cured” so they’re more malleable during assembly. I suppose that might give designers more flexibility in shaping the frame.

It’s reported that the “more adaptable” frame will be a trellis design made of small sections of hollow tubes, connected together at junctions.


We haven’t been able to find the patent ourselves in American, British, or German government searches but Motorcycle News included this image that does indeed seem to illustrate a carbon-framed BMW sport bike. We’ve reached out to them and BMW to try and track down more specifics.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem surprising that somebody’s experimenting with carbon fiber in this application. Especially since BMW’s already successfully put carbon frames/“passenger cells” on their i3 and i8 electric cars, and not to mention the fact that this material is getting popular in high-performance bicycles.

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I don’t know about this.,

A huge part of riding a motorcycle fast is getting feel, ESPECIALLY at the front end. Ducati dabbled in CF on their MotoGP bike, and while there are various theories (too soon, wasn’t developed enough, Ducati Corse sucked and was just succeeding on the back of Stoner’s raw talent), ultimately it was a failure.

I don’t think aluminum frames are that heavy either. And while I’m sure using the engine as a stressed member adds weight to the block, the new Panigale for example replaced the frame with a little monocoque to attach the fork/headstock, and it lopped a good ~20lb off. The old trellis frame was only ~22lbs. It’s a lot more obvious when you see it:


So I think there’s still a lot of life left in good old aluminum frames.