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It’s amazing how flimsy the best builder’s work can become under the right circumstances. The video above contains some examples of components you’d think of as extremely rigid, like the carbon fiber bodywork of a MotoGP race bike, turning into a floppy mess at speed. Components are designed to be just as strong as necessary with very low safety margins, and some of the flexion you can see in these clips is enough to make one nervous about the engineer’s grasp of mathematics.

Weirdly, the bending and oscillating throughout the video, along with the worrisome deflection in some of the tires and, my favorite, gouts of flame from a Bathurst racer’s exhaust at the video’s end, are all normal operating conditions. It’s remarkable that what you see here is not failures, breakages, or crashes, but just days in the lives of highly-stressed machinery.

Video spotted on and hosted on YouTube.

Slow-Motion Motorsports Compilation [YouTube]

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4 Responses to It's Just Cool: Slow-Motion Motorsports

  1. If that worries you, don’t ever sit over the wing on an airliner…

  2. bajajoaquin says:

    I haven’t checked out the website yet (Youtube blocked at work), but if that picture is from there, then it’s not MotoGP. That’s a production-based racer, probably in the Isle of Man or one of the Irish road-racing series races (i.e. real roads, huge cojones).

  3. Bweetza says:

    bajajoaquin: You are correct. That is John McGuinness on HM Plant’s Honda during this years Isle of Man. Not MotoGP. However, the video is a mashup of all things moto related… F1, SCCA, Isle of Man, MotoGP, etc. Awesome vid.

  4. Chris says:

    A lot of bike chassis are now engineered to be part of the suspension, and that flexing is very much intentional. It is quite possible for a chassis to be *too* stiff, especially on a motorcycle, because it then cannot put the power down effectively. I’d recommend a reading of Kevin Cameron’s excellent articles for Cycle World (there have been a handful in the last three or four years) for anyone who’s interested.

    cl

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