What Is a Swingarm on a Motorcycle?


There are several types of motorcycle swingarms. Listed here are some common types. They include Single-sided, L-shaped, Composite, and Aluminum swingarms. If you’re a motorcycle owner or planning to purchase one, it helps to understand what each type does. Choosing the right type for your bike is essential for your safety and enjoyment on the road. The following sections will explain more about the swingarm and its various parts.

Single-sided swingarms

When comparing single-sided and double-sided swingarms, there are many benefits of single-sided motorcycles. The swingarm is easier to remove and service, which is especially beneficial during endurance events. Changing a tyre is also easier with a single-sided swingarm, which saves time and money. The downsides of single-sided swingarms are that they are less rigid, and the single-sided swingarm may not provide the same advantages as a double-sided one.

Single-sided swingarms were first introduced in the late 1940s, but didn’t make their appearance until the 1980s. BMW began incorporating the single-sided swingarm design into its motorcycles in the 1980s, and it is now a standard feature on the majority of their motorcycles. Single-sided swingarms make it easier to remove the rear wheel, making wheel alignment easier. One benefit is the reduced weight of the bike. Moreover, a single-sided swingarm allows for easy wheel removal and chain adjustment.

L-shaped swingarms

There are several kinds of L-shaped swingarms on motorcycles, including the fork type and one-sided versions. Fork type swingarms can be found on bikes without forks or knobs, while those with forks have knobs on projections on the bottom of the swingarm. Depending on the bike model, the type of swingarm may vary. If you have an L-shaped swingarm, you should consider installing the following accessories.

Swingarm length is one of the most important components of any motorcycle. The length of the swingarm is directly proportional to the motorcycle’s wheelbase, which affects handling and comfort. Extendable swingarms, on the other hand, are designed primarily for sportbike drag racing. They help extend the motorcycle’s footprint and reduce the chance of wheelies. The swingarm is made of aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, or titanium, depending on the manufacturer and model.

Composite swingarms

To evaluate the use of composites in demanding applications, the conventional steel motorcycle swingarm was redesigned with the help of fiber-reinforced composite materials. This material proved to be a significant weight saver, with a 50 percent weight reduction. The swingarm is an integral structural member of the motorcycle, absorbing road-induced and acceleration loads. Therefore, it is a stiffness-critical component that needs to be light without compromising strength.

Using a multi-objective design approach, engineers have to ensure that the final solution meets all the requirements. The objective is to reduce the weight, maintain the required torsional stiffness, and meet other design objectives. For this, Genetic Algorithms (GAs) are used, as they deal with large numbers of discrete variables. In Nexus, the NSGA-II algorithm has been selected to satisfy this requirement. The optimisation process involves 60 design variables and 18 constraint functions.

Aluminum swingarms

The traditional motorcycle swingarm is made from steel tubing and sheet metal structures that share the same cross section over the entire length. In addition, the stresses induced by the swingarm vary over its length. Aluminum alloy swingarms offer advantages over conventional motorcycle swingarms in terms of weight and material layout. These features are achieved through a series of design iterations. Yamaha was one of the first manufacturers to use vacuum die casting to create their motorcycle swingarms. Before that, swingarms were made from extruded metal bars.

To design an aluminum swingarm for a motorcycle, the concept-based approach is utilized. This approach uses topology optimization techniques to meet the structural and styling targets. This approach can be considered more profitable compared to the conventional experience-based design process, which focuses on meeting a single design objective. In addition, the process reduces the number of design iterations. Depending on your needs, you may opt for a cast swingarm.

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