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View Full Version : I have one word for you, Plastics



mika
10-29-2009, 04:14 PM
The KneeSlider ( http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2009/10/28/plastic-engines-we-have-the-technology-is-anyone-interested/) ran this piece about plastic engines; Plastic Engines – We Have the Technology – Is Anyone Interested?. The KneeSlider article is based on a piece from the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/automobiles/25PLASTIC.html?_r=1). I clicked on the feed and expected to read about a new development. Instead it was a piece on the latest developments of a technology that is over twenty years old.

The Kneeslider could find no examples of motorcycle applications tested. I will take them at their word, I have only been able to out search them a couple of times over the years. With a clean slate to consider for motorcycle applications I started to wonder about several things.

What would Eric Buell have done with a plastic V-Rod engine?
What would sport bikes be like?
Vanzen’s excellent thread chassis recipe, introduction ( http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=39894) made me pull out my old copy of Motorcycle Chassis Design by Tony Foale. What would the shift in cg by the weight change do to handling or chassis dynamics in general?
Would you buy a plastic engine motorcycle from a reputable manufacturer?

mcmxcivrs
10-29-2009, 05:59 PM
I remember reading articles on those plastic engines years ago in Road&Track. It was quite interesting then and seemed like there was a lot of potential. Odd that it has never been more seriously considered or developed. I imagine it is a matter of advances in modern metalurgy and the relative cost of using more main stream materials that has been the biggest reason.

The question I can see for motorcycle applications would be the rigidity of the material since many modern motorcycles utilize the engine as a stressed member of the frame, or as in the case of the oilheads, as the major component of the frame. The weight savings of the plastics over lightwieght metals might be negated by the need for a more substantial frame to carry it. The automotive application seems more straight forward since the engine is never a structural component of the framework.