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fork wishbones

Introduced in 1999, the Yamaha YZF-R6 was the world’s first 600cc production four-stroke motorcycle producing over 100hp in stock form. Since then, Yamaha has incorporated a number of upgrades to improve speed and engine performance. The R6 engine has also been used in the nationwide Formula Student race series, where university students design and build single seat racing cars that are then raced at the iconic Silverstone circuit.

Aymen Alshawi is a 22-year-old with a masters in mechanical engineering, now working as an inspection engineer for ExxonMobil. He previously participated in Formula Student, and wrote his degree dissertation on suspension systems for racing cars. From that, he designed a version of a virtual differential based on the slip angles of tyres. Alshawi became interested in motorcycle racing and researched how others had developed significant modifications for their motorcycles, including British inventor Norman Hossack, whose ‘funny front-end’ design was a significant deviation of the traditional front fork and suspension system.

In May 2015, Alshawi purchased a 12-year-old Yamaha R6 track-bike and embarked on an ambitious project to design and build a new front-end for it. His plan was to use a double wishbone that would move in a vertical plane, allowing the wheelbase and geometry to remain constant for better feedback and grip. Alshawi did not let the fact that he only had a licence for 125cc bikes deter him.

Aided by the university’s computer and engineering programs, including CAD, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and front end design software, Alshawi worked evenings designing and performing test simulations. Parts were then created in thermoplastic to ensure they fitted together, before milling took place.  A number of bearings were needed for both the fork wishbones and the bell crank pivots, but the traditional metal bearings in the rod end introduced unwanted axial play. He contacted igus and purchased plastic plain bearings from the iglidur series, as they are more resistant to edge type loads and axial play.

In all, three iglidur J type flange bearings were used. “In addition to lowering axial play, the other reasons I chose these bearings were for their light weight, being simpler to use and they came at a lower cost than the metal bearings used in the previous version,” said Alshawi.

The igus iglidur J plastic bearings combine high wear resistance and excellent coefficients of friction. They boast extreme dimensional stability, even in moisture-exposed applications.  In addition, they are 100 per cent self-lubricating, maintenance-free, corrosion-free and wear-resistant in dusty and dirty environments.

Alshawi has ridden the motorcycle at speeds of 140mph on a test track, but the project is still in progress. The suspension system was mostly finished in December 2016, and he has an estimated date for final completion by the summer of 2017.

Igus

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Energy chains are the umbilical cord of modern machines. They minimise downtime and protect, support and extend the service life of cables and hoses. The broad range incorporates more than 30,000 innovative, low-cost products. From the smallest ‘micro’ chain to the largest chain in the world, the E4.350, Igus energy chains are capable of long and short travel distances at high speeds in all axes.

Igus also has its own cable series, Chainflex, specially designed with energy chains in mind. They are highly flexible cables, offering a long service life and very small bending radii. A wide range is available, from small signal cables to large power cables, high-speed data cables and glass fibre-optic cables.

The company’s energy chains and Chainlflex cables can be delivered as a fully harnessed and pre-assembled Readychain system, cutting purchasing, warehousing and installation costs.

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