Ducati Patent Application
Ducati Motor Holdings recently filed a very interesting United States Patent Application. The filing is entitled "Simplified Motorcycle". The inventors of the new concept include a team from Bologna, Italy; Fausto Castellani, Filippo Preziosi Stefano Strappazzon, Lorenzo Uliani as well as Alan Jenkins from Buckingham, England.
Included in the patent filing are a series of diagrams showing a motorcycle without the conventional Ducati trellis frame. Instead Ducati is illustrating a modular frame that connects the frame to the front-end on one side and the swingarm directly to the engine on the other.Ducati claims the following in the US Patent Application:1. A motorcycle comprising a propelling group or engine, a saddle support, a support for the rear wheel, and a front directional group comprising a handlebar integral to a steering headstock functionally associated to a supporting organ of the vehicle front wheel, wherein such front group is connected to a box-like body incorporating the function of filtering box, constrained to the engine and apt to support the latter by connecting it, there through, to said front directional group, said support for the rear wheel and said saddle support being constrained to the engine, the vehicle being not equipped with additional members apt to constrain said engine to such front directional group.2. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body is a single piece.3. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body has a plurality of portions which can be removably connected there between.4. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein such box-like body comprises a perimetric wall delimiting an inner department, openings being provided in a portion of such wall to send air to the engine.5. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body is fastened to the head of the engine.6. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body comprises a front portion having a seat or through hole apt to contain, in fixed axial position, the steering headstock.7. The motorcycle according to claim 6, wherein at opposite ends of such seat members are provided, fastened to the box-like body and containing organs of mechanical decoupling fitted around said steering headstock, said members allowing the related rotation of the headstock in said seat even if they keep it in fixed axial position.8. The motorcycle according to claim 6, characterized in that wherein said front portion of the box-like body interposes between two spaced-apart plates of the supporting organ of the front wheel, said organ comprising, apart from such plates and said steering headstock, a fork constrained to the wheel and a handlebar.9. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein a tank of the vehicle overlaps, at least partially, on the box-like body.10. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body is made of composite material.11. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body is made of metal, preferably in light metal such as aluminum or alloys thereof.12. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body is made of composite material comprising carbon fiber.13. The motorcycle according to claim 1, wherein said box-like body is made of aluminum or alloys thereof.
Ducati appears to be investigating using the engine as a fully stressed member. Possibly to further reduce weigh, while still increase rigidity. From the diagrams it appears that the concept makes a whole lot of sense. If the concept is similar to the hand-built Britten V1000 that gained popularity back in mid-90s, the idea is already proven. John Britten’s race winning bike utilized a fully stressed engine with ducted under-seat radiator. The V1000 top chassis, girder & swingarm were all constructed in carbon/Kevlar composites.Certainly Ducati’s patent application is much different and very interesting. As well, one has to assume that Ducati is going through this effort to someday bring this motorcycle to production for the consumer market. We may first see this technology in MotoGP in the GP11, GP12 or GP13 under the talent of Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden. Or we may first see this in a new production Ducati Superbike. Stay tuned for further Ducati updates here at Ultimate Motorcycling.