Motorcycle Racing News BMW Superbike: Superglue Swingarm

BMW Superbike: Superglue Swingarm

World SBK News

When it comes to technology there are virtually limitless possibilities at how to extract performance from a motorcycle. And nothing forces engineers to explore these possibilities like racing.

World Superbike, being a production-based road race series, serves as a developmental platform for manufacturers to carry out research that ultimately leads to faster, lighter, more powerful motorcycles that find their way to the consumer.

An example of this pursuit of performance-oriented technology is exhibited in just one of BMW’s latest developments for their WSBK race team. The team bikes piloted by Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus showed up at the recent US round at Miller Motorsports Park sporting very trick swingarms.

Both riders had been experiencing a mysterious, slightly unstable feel mid-corner, which was ultimately traced to the swingarm. The rigidity of the massive aluminum swingarm was having an adverse effect when leaned over.

Engineers figured out that while rigidity was needed to absorb the incredible forces of energy transmitted through a motorcycle at race speeds, the bike could benefit from some minute flex in side-to-side forces, such as those exerted on a machine when leaned over at severe angles.

The solution? A two-piece swingarm was fabricated out of two massive blocks of aluminum, stacked together to create a top and bottom.

This allowed the race team’s BMW S1000RR to retain its necessary rigidity to handle the forces exerted on the chassis while also allowing for a slight percentage of side-to-side flex to absorb forces transmitted through the bike when leaned over.

The real magic is in the fact that the two pieces of the swingarm are not welded or riveted together in any way, but are actually held together with an adhesive. Even BMW team manager Berti Houser shakes his head, saying, "I don’t know how they do it, but it is glued, it is adhesive."

Consider the number of parts on a racing motorcycle, the attention to detail, the man hours devoted to each and every item, all with a single goal of creating the most efficient and dependable pieces to make up the whole.

Eventually, a good portion of these tireless World SBK labors find their way to our beloved sportbikes, making us the beneficiaries of all that hard work. All just so we can go play.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

Harley-Davidson Tremont Shoes Review: Urban Motorcycle Footwear

In the on-going debate over how much protection is enough, the correct answer for each of us comes from within. Some riders would never...

2021 Langen Two Stroke First Look: Street-Legal V-Twin!

If you thought we’d never see another street-legal two-stroke sportbike, you’re not alone. There hasn’t been a full-size two-stroke motorcycle for the street in...

2021 Indian Springfield Lineup First Look (5 Fast Facts)

There are two motorcycles in the 2021 Indian Springfield lineup, with the standard Springfield focused on longer-distance touring, and the Springfield Dark Horse pulling...

2021 BMW R 18 Review (19 Fast Facts on the First Edition)

Over a year after its concept debut, the 2021 BMW R 18 has made its way to production. Much has been written about its...

2021 Honda CRF450R Review (12 First Ride Fast Facts from Glen Helen)

The 2021 Honda CRF450R is all-new for 2021. The entirely new chassis, bodywork, exhaust, and hydraulic clutch highlight the changes to the CRF450R. Add to...

Arai Spoiler EX2 for the Corsair-X Helmet First Look

The Arai Corsair-X is the Japanese company’s flagship helmet and intended for riders of the highest performance motorcycle. MotoGP racers Maverick Viñales of Monster...