Wind testing

Posted: 19 Sep 2013

A wind tunnel is an extremely effective approach to aerodynamic testing and can be invaluable to motorcycle manufacturers as well as racers…

Harley-Davidson wind tunnel

For a motorcycle manufacturer of 110 years, the designers at Harley-Davidson certainly aren’t using century-old techniques to develop their new bikes. The new wave of Project RUSHMORE machinery features a re-styled fairing, which was developed using the virtual science of CFD (computational fluid dynamics), before prototype bikes even made it to the wind tunnel.

The manufacturer claims that the new Batwing fairing, which equalises airflow and contributes to a significant 20% reduction in head buffeting, is the result of more than 3,000 test sessions in the wind tunnel – as well as the analysis of real-world data obtained from real riders. But it’s the objective aerodynamic testing that can be of most value. For racers too...

Wind tunnel testing

Former double World Champion motorcycle racer James Toseland knows only too well the importance of aerodynamics on the race track and he, along with British MotoStar competitor Joe Francis, recently participated in a wind tunnel experiment to test the impacts of racing on the body.

Over the years, motorcycle technology has developed and racers have had to adapt their fitness in order to withstand the demands of higher G-forces on their bodies. Wind tunnel testing was a good way to visualise the speed and stresses of this.

Wind tunnel testing

This type of testing is also playing a large role in James’ imminent land speed record attempt – as so far this is the closest the technicians have been to ‘practical’ testing. Read James’ thoughts on his record attempt here.

or !

Latest Features
  • The roads aren’t all straight, riding in cities is easy, the locals are friendly and many more reasons to ride in the USA
    Nine myths busted about riding in America
  • We pick up his journey by sharing photos, comment and stories taken from his own blog as well as those which he shares with us on the occasions he’s got phone service.
    Nick Sanders World Ride – Moments #2
  • Front End Chatter podcast
    Front End Chatter - episode 108
  • Is the infrastructure ready for electric motorcycles? Are they really viable? A feasibility study asks whether bikes will ever have the range or charge time
    Are electric motorcycles really viable?