Suspension innovation and collaboration between BMW and ZF |  MCNews

Suspension innovation and collaboration between BMW and ZF | MCNews

BMW Motorrad Motorsport & ZF chassis


Thanks to the partnership of BMW Motorrad Motorsport and ZF in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC), they are working together to develop new spring damper elements for the BMW M 1000 RR #37 BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in 2022.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

A telescopic front fork made of carbon is the focus of this partnership, with ZF previously developing customized racing clutches and dampers for various BMW racing cars in action in Formula 1, DTM, the Nürburgring 24 Hours or Formula BMW. Since this season, ZF is now also the technology partner of BMW Motorrad Motorsport.

ZF carbon fiber forks
ZF carbon fiber forks

The new telescopic front fork for the #37 BMW M 1000 RR made of carbon fiber composites was jointly developed by BMW Motorrad Motorsport, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and ZF. It is the first time the manufacturer has used a carbon fork in endurance racing.

The outer tube is made entirely of carbon fiber, while the hybrid inner tube is made of metal carbon fiber composite. There’s also a topologically optimized metal fork leg that’s glued to the hybrid tube.

new telescopic front fork for the #37 BMW M 1000 RR made of carbon fiber composites

One big advantage of using carbon fiber is obvious, its light weight. This is a factor for efficiency and success especially in endurance racing. In addition, the stiffness can be systematically changed, which has an impact on the handling of the motorcycle.

Marc Bongers – Director of BMW Motorrad Motorsport

“Using this material and this technology allows us to push the threshold at which the body vibrates. One of the main goals during development was the design of homogeneous bending loads. The goal is to make throttle response for the rider extremely smooth, even under the most extreme stress. And the feedback from the riders confirmed that the goal was achieved.”

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

The development of new components for motorsport is always a challenge from a technical point of view.

Henner Fröderking – ZF engineer

“A large number of functions are crammed into a very small space and the requirements are obviously very different from production. This means that you really have to distance yourself from the solutions used in mass production. ZF has extensive experience with motorcycle chassis in serial production. Now we had the task of finding detailed solutions that are tailor-made for motorsport.”

A motorcycle fork must withstand extreme stress, is an important component for tuning a motorcycle – and must be designed so that, for example, quick spring changes and quick maintenance take only a few minutes. Another challenge for engineer Fröderking and his colleagues in this project is the use of carbon fibers.

Carbon fiber forks from ZF
Henner Fröderking

“You have to treat this material very differently than metal. This starts with the first element calculation design, during which you calculate the stiffness. Here, too, the layer structure needs to be directly integrated. This is followed by a validation process that shows whether the theoretically calculated stiffness has been achieved in reality. Everything also needs to be overloaded because security is the number one priority. This shows if the calculations were correct. And then the performance of the component must also meet expectations.”

Marc Bongers

“The handling of the motorcycle is determined by everything that happens between the contact points of the front and rear tires. The fork is a key part of the overall package here, as it is important to how the rider feels when braking and cornering. However, this total package also includes, for example, the chassis and the swingarm. Then there are the practical requirements of the component when fine-tuning. We gave our input with all these different factors and ZF implemented it with their technologies – and tailored the fork exactly to our extensive requirements.”

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

“The whole development process went so well despite the restrictions related to the coronavirus, which means we were able to launch the new fork for the first time in Almeria in December 2021 and the results with a product as innovative as this have been so positive. right from the start we made every effort to implement the fork as quickly as possible. Both sides put a lot of energy into further fine-tuning.”

And after the successful roll-out of the fork, another component followed: ZF and BMW Motorrad Motorsport also joined forces to develop a spring-loaded monoshock, which was tested for the first time in January.

The aim was to use both components at the FIM EWC season opener at Le Mans in April. ZF has now focused on securing the supply of parts for racing use.

#37 BMW M 1000 RR of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

At the same time, an intensive phase of pre-season testing began for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR), Jérémy Guarnoni (FRA) and Kenny Foray (FRA). If you want to use a component from the first race, it means that you also have to drive it in every test. This is because this kind of fork requires about 4,000 kilometers to ensure its safety and durability.

Marc Bongers

“We did that and from the first race of the season at Le Mans we competed with the new fork and spring monoshock. And in the second race in Spa, we took the first 24-hour victory for BMW Motorrad, which proves that this cooperation is bearing fruit.”

The BMW M 1000 RR #37’s next outing with ZF spring shock elements will be this weekend at the 8 Hours of Suzuka (JPN), the third round of the 2022 FIM EWC.

#Suspension #innovation #collaboration #BMW #MCNews

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