Maybe you’ve noticed, but there’s an arms race going on within the superbike spectrum. Bike companies have lost their damn marbles as each strives to deliver more power, better electronic aids, wilder aerodynamics, and whatever else they can think up to make these motorcycles faster around a race track. BMW Motorrad’s latest proposition? Active aerodynamics affixed to your M or S 1000 RR

BMW’s patent proposes taking the traditional static aerodynamic winglets that’ve come to be affixed to superbikes lately and turning them active. The idea is that static winglets are great in helping stabilize motorcycles while pointing straight and reducing wheelies, which in turn gives the rider more grip. But static aero doesn’t help in corners where airflow gets weird, causing all sorts of issues for the rider and those behind them. 

BMW Motorrad S 1000 RR Winglet Patent 1

BMW Motorrad active winglet patent drawing. 

Making these dynamic parts allows BMW’s engineers to reduce those air-funneling issues while channeling it where they want to increase the bike’s overall downforce through the corners, never sacrificing stability throughout a track. What the patent tells us is that BMW’s engineers designed the system so that no matter how the bike leaned, the winglets would always stay parallel to the road’s surface. This then keeps all that precious downforce pointed the right way, and that’s pretty friggin’ cool, even if it’s not for you or me. 

If you haven’t already guessed by now, the proposed tech is to help BMW compete in WSBK, not for us fat sacks of jelly donuts riding our state’s backroads, canyons, or freeways. Yes, it’ll most likely end up on an S 1000 RR soon, but just like all the interesting tech that’s being brought to MotoGP from Aprilia, Ducati, and Honda—active aero is illegal in MotoGP—this type of technology is built for the pros and pros alone. 

BMW Motorrad S 1000 RR Winglet Patent 2

BMW Motorrad active winglet patent drawing. 

What I see in terms of what we’ll get as average consumers is something along the lines of a homologation special. Think Ducati’s Panigale V4 SP2, Honda’s Fireblade SP, BMW’s own M 1000 RR, or WRC’s legendary Group B era where manufacturers were forced to make miniature nuclear bombs that the general public could buy. 

As for how BMW’s system will work, that’s still undisclosed as the patent doesn’t go into much detail other than that the winglets are hinged with actuators. But since lean-angle sensors are standard equipment on nearly every new motorcycle, and those help modern superbikes with traction control, stability control, and even drift modes, my best guess would be that BMW would tie this into those systems. 

However we may see this aerodynamic system applied in the future, it’s gonna be wild. I won’t be able to extract every ounce of capability, but most people outside of those competing at WSBK, Isle of Man, and MotoGP probably won't be able to either. 

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