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Motorcycle aerodynamics – what is it made of?

Aerodynamics is a branch of mechanics that studies the effect of gases on bodies moving in a continuous gas medium. For a motorcycle, this is more than important because, like an airplane, the motorcycle fights air resistance. Basically, in the motorcycle industry, the goal of aerodynamics is to model the shape and geometry of a motorcycle that will reduce air resistance as much as possible.

A powerful engine is far from a good motorcycle. It so happens that a less powerful engine wins a race, but with perfect aerodynamics.

Aerodynamic drag

As you rush to meet the dream and the sunset, the headwind presses on you and the motorcycle. Before the stream of air dissipates to the sides around you, flowing around like water, it hits the center point of the motorcycle. Therefore, on sports models, a pointed nose is so important, from which plastic and an expanding windshield diverge. Moreover, cunning engineers make an air intake in this place, as in the place of the greatest concentration of the air flow.

When a motorcycle does not have smooth lines that extend from a pointed top, its resistance to air increases. A similar situation occurs if the windshield is not at an acute angle, but at a right angle. The larger the plane into which the air can hit, the more the motorcycle resists the headwind. And yes, the aerodynamics also help stabilize the bike. Air currents increase the stability of the motorcycle, but can throw it off balance if the impact point is not correct. The reason why crosswinds are so dangerous.

In aerodynamics, there is an algorithm for building a motorcycle. The air pressure depends on the speed of the motorcycle. The higher the speed, the more pressure the wind will exert.

Improved aerodynamics

Typically, aerodynamics are most influenced by:

  • Motorcycle geometry
  • Windshield and fairing shape
  • Radiator
  • Driver / passengers

The geometry of a motorcycle is a general metric. What does your motorcycle look like in general and is it capable of minimally resisting oncoming wind currents in terms of its characteristics? Are there any bulging parts that will impede successful acceleration and create unnecessary turbulence? Have you ever wondered how the desire to create a model that is beautiful for the city interferes with the real development of engineers in improving aerodynamics?

Windshield and Fairing Shape – The windshield and fairing redirect air currents away from the center of the motorcycle, as well as create wind for the pilot. A windshield that is too small will accelerate driver fatigue, as the driver has to bend down strongly and the neck muscles will become stiff. Don’t forget about the vacuum effect, which is the opposite of aerodynamic drag. When you decide to put a huge glass, the air flow will begin to act on you.

Takeaway: the windshield and fairing should be proportional to your motorcycle, because only with good performance you will not suffer from unnecessary fatigue, and the aerodynamics will remain in a better position.

The radiator is the most stubborn part of a motorcycle, which, with its large area, greatly impairs aerodynamic performance and interferes with the diffusion of air flows. The designers tried to move the radiator under the seat, but such innovations did not go into civil engineering. Now the radiator meets the incoming wind currents and is unable to smoothly transfer them to the body, unless it is hidden under the plastic of the motorcycle.

Driver and passengers – which variable affects aerodynamics and which is extremely difficult to calculate? The driver is able to improve the aerodynamics of the motorcycle by ducking into the pocket of the windshield while riding. The lower the pilot bends down to the motorcycle, the better the aerodynamics become. Beginners often neglect this rule due to fear and unfamiliarity, but as the speed increases, it is necessary to crouch down on the motorcycle.

Ideally, the fully equipped pilot should fit behind the windshield and fairing. Passengers should also reduce wind resistance by using the driver’s back.

The choice of equipment for a motorcyclist is made with a discount on aerodynamics. It happens that the pilot himself elegantly fits into the landing behind the windshield, but with a full parade of new equipment, his dimensions greatly increase and begin to add wind resistance. Consider this when choosing new equipment.

If you are trying to find out which bike will do better aerodynamics, have someone take a picture of you on the selected models in their standard fit. It is better that you are in your everyday outfit. The angle must be chosen in a plane and always from the same position. Evaluate which bike you take up less space on? For comparison, you can even roughly draw an area of ​​a motorcycle with a driver on paper (for example, trace a photo through tracing paper, this can even be done from a computer monitor). The bike that takes up less space with your riding position has better aerodynamics.

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