We just published a long story for our A&R Pro readers about the new rev limits in the WorldSBK Championship, and how the Ducati Panigale V4 R is ringing out to 16,500 RPM in the production racing class.
One of the ways that Borgo Panigale was able to bring such a high rev limit to its Desmosedici Stradale engine was through the use of lightweight titanium connecting rods. The red bikes are not alone on this, as the big go-fast change for the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR is also titanium con rods, courtesy of Pankl.
Pound for pound stronger than steel, titanium has been helping raise the roof on rev limits for quite some time now…and maybe it is time to give another element on the periodic table a chance. Like say…carbon?
Carbon fiber connecting rods are now a thing, though it is not quite what you think. Experiments with carbon fiber engine internals have been tried before, and those experiments have not gone well.
Lamborghini has been playing around with forged carbon designs for connecting rods, with talk about releasing the technology in the next year or two.
Before that can happen though, there are some hurdles to overcome. This is because the heat often breaks down the composite material, which leads to catastrophic failure, which is no bueno.
But, a company called AWA Composites has a new take on the idea, and they have made new advancements in polymer matrix composite technology, which have yielded long-lasting high-performance connecting rods that tip the scales at half the weight of their aluminum brethren.
Designed for use in Top Fuel dragsters, the concept should travel well into the two-wheeled space, though the price tag would so far probably only be justified in the most well-funded MotoGP team efforts.
AWA Composites says that it will build its carbon fiber connecting rods to the specification of the customer, with availability starting in Q1 2019. What a great time to be alive.