BMW has won an award for its innovative reinforced carbon fibre swingarm – as it’s found a way to mass produce the material at a lower cost. No news on pricing just yet though!
BMW has recently won the 2018 JEC Innovation Award (in the Leisure and Sports category) with its low-cost reinforced carbon fibre swingarm prototype – and we reckon this new product could mark the introduction of a raft of carbon components across its range.
Of course, the BMW group already uses carbon for a limited number of components in its cars and motorcycles – but its use is not widespread, because of the high costs attached due to the difficulty of processing. A perfect example is BMW’s HP4 Race , the first motorcycle in the world to offer a fully carbon frame and fully carbon wheels – which costs an eye-watering £68,000.
But, BMW has found a way to produce carbon fibre differently. Instead of overlapping sheets of carbon, it is reinforcing thermoplastic materials with carbon wire – meaning that the swingarm, or any other component made with this material, can be produced by a high-speed automated system, which can print the piece intended for series production in a few minutes, and as a consequence, keep the price low.
Could this innovative new swingarm pave the way for mass produced carbon fibre bikes?