Will this appear on the next-gen RSV4 superbike?
The Piaggio Group wants you to be safer, and faster, with the power of aerodynamics. Patents show Piaggio continues to work on its active aero systems, playing with technology that appears to be the future of performance motorcycling.
The patent is full of techno-gibberish and legalspeak, but basically, you’ve got a design for a winglet that mounts on the front fairing. The winglet, or winglets, are controlled by the rider, or an automated safety system, to provide downforce or lift. The winglet’s function is meant to stabilize the motorcycle under cornering, or through bumpy pavement.
Winglets are becoming a common feature on superbikes, but they’re usually fixed in place. This means their aerodynamic advantage isn’t always optimal; active aeros, such as the ones outlined in this patent, change to match riding conditions.
Piaggio may be a small company compared to giants like the Big Four, but it’s one of the leaders in advanced safety systems. Its subsidiary Aprilia is continually pushing the limits with its RSV4 line of superbikes. Its RS660 prototype took EICMA by storm in November, 2018, when it hinted we'd see active aeros for mass market customers. Sadly, even though the RS660 is in production for 2020, we still have to wait for active aeros. Aprilia says the technology will be included on the next-gen RSV4 superbike, and this patent seems to back up that statement.
Piaggio isn’t the only company working on active aeros. Internet sleuths uncovered similar patents from Honda a while back, and no doubt BMW, KTM, Kawasaki, Ducati, and others are also figuring out how to include these systems on future superbikes. We’ll probably see it in the racing world first, although MotoGP’s bosses are restricting aerodynamic development these days, to keep costs down. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t done much for motorcycle development either, with R&D centers shut down for weeks due to social distancing measures. No doubt active aeros are the way of the future, but the usual motorcycle industry money woes combined with coronavirus concerns will likely set this tech back a while longer.