For a lot of people, motorcycle aero is a rather touchy subject. Similar in essence to folks who are dissed for putting massive wings on the backs of their Honda Civics, motorcycles with crazy aero can’t really reap any of the promised benefits out on the public road.

And so, for a lot of superbike-riding road-going motorcyclists, the fancy aero found on their bikes is more of an aesthetic feature—a status symbol that catches the eye and says, “Look at me, I can go super fast!”

Nevertheless, the aero we find on modern-day motorcycles is extremely interesting, simply because of the science that lies beneath it. Take, for example, this crazy motorcycle design that’s just been patented by White Motorcycle Concepts. It’s probably the wildest setup we’ve ever seen, and it makes extensive use of venturi ducts in its design.

What exactly does a venturi do? Let’s nerd out a bit, shall we? In essence, a venturi is a tube with a narrow section, wherein a fluid—in this case, air when the motorcycle is in motion—flows faster through the narrow section.

The Bernoulli effect states that pressure there is lower than in the main part of the pipe, resulting in extra downforce. In a two-wheeled application like this, it theoretically means better high-speed stability.

A venturi duct extends all the way from the front to the back of the motorcycle

A venturi duct extends all the way from the front to the back of the motorcycle. 

Indeed, the theory of the Bernoulli principle is mirrored in White Motorcycle Concept’s patent filing, as it claims that the purpose of the venturi duct is to reduce the bike’s frontal area in a bid to reduce drag. The patent says that the drag force on a moving object is proportional to the frontal area of the object. So yes, a smaller frontal area—thanks to a gaping hole in the middle—ultimately results in less drag.

We see the venturi effect applied in motorsports quite a lot, particularly in the otherworldly aero setups we see in Formula 1, as well as the increasingly outlandish-looking wings and spoilers that adorn today’s MotoGP bikes.

From a design standpoint, the bike looks absolutely bonkers, and like something we’d only see in a science fiction movie. But it seems that its form is a result of its function. According to the patent drawings, the venturi duct extends continuously from the front of the bike all the way to the rear of the bike. As such, it’s an unrestricted open passageway for air.

Said duct also serves as an intake at the front of the bike and could also have a hand in cooling the bike’s engine. At the back, meanwhile, there’s an outlet allowing all the air to exit.

The bike is built on two sub-structures that can be customized and personalized according to specific needs and preferences. The base frame structure houses the mechanical components such as the engine and suspension. Meanwhile, the upper body section, which is only partly structural, can be formed as a monocoque structure for enhanced aero. Judging from the patent drawings, it seems that the venturi duct is housed in the upper structure.

The bike makes use of two sub-structures

The bike makes use of two sub-structures

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All this is cool and all, but again, like most high-performance aerodynamics systems on both cars and bikes, the benefits can only be reaped at extremely high speeds. To make things even worse, White’s patent depicts a motorcycle that looks extremely uncomfortable to ride, sporting ergonomics reminiscent of highly specialized drag bikes.

In a closed and controlled environment, there’s little doubt that this thing could be a proof of concept of some kind of innovative high-speed stability feature. But out on the open road, its bulky bodywork, uncomfortable ergonomics, and limited mobility might actually be detrimental.

What do you think of White’s newest concept motorcycle? Is it actually functional, or is it bordering on being complex just for the sake of being complex? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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