- One wheel fits many different motorcycles
- “Out-of-autoclave” curing process
- Winner of the JEC Innovation Award, Category: Sports & Leisure
While motorcycle wheels are traditionally created for a specific motorcycle, the Blackstone Tek (BST) generic wheels allows for one wheel to fit many different motorcycles. This interchangeability is achieved using a brake adaptor and sprocket carrier which can be changed depending on the motorcycle. In addition to the generic nature of the wheel, many of the aluminium parts previously used in the assembly of carbon fiber wheels were replaced with carbon fiber.
“Out-of-autoclave” curing process
The amount of aluminium in the wheel assembly is reduced by 32%, allowing for a lighter and optimized structure. In addition, several manufacturing improvements were achieved, including the development of an “out-of-autoclave” curing process for the pre-impregnated material used to create the wheel. This process includes an oven curing of the wheel using a purpose-built, internal and external pressure device which can be removed and reused on subsequent wheels.
Lower weight, lower rotational inertia, and high stiffness
Carbon fiber motorcycle wheels offer benefits such as lower weight, lower rotational inertia, and high stiffness. These benefits allow for the motorcycle to achieve greater fuel efficiency, greater acceleration, better braking distances, as well as better cornering. The nature of the components included in the wheel assembly also reduces the wheel’s susceptibility to corrosion. These effects all contribute to the overall improved performance and safety of the motorcycle. In addition, the aesthetics of the wheel is an undeniable benefit.
Generic rear wheel sales are forecast at 1,000 wheels a year
BST wheels are currently marketed throughout the world, with approximately 1,500 units sold yearly. With the inclusion of the generic wheel, sales is expected to increase due to the ability of distributors to stock a single wheel which can fit a large range of motorcycles, allowing them to stock wheels without a direct demand. In addition, end users will also be able to retain the wheels following the selling/upgrading of the motorcycle, making the wheels a justified investment. Generic rear wheel sales is forecast at 1,000 wheels a year. The “out-of-autoclave” curing process is expected to drive down the cost of the wheel by reducing production costs. This is due to the minimization of consumable bagging materials, as well as a reduced production time. In addition, due to the ability to control the curing process, the scrap rate drops substantially.