The frame is the backbone of the superbike, connecting all components together. Besides that, the frame should also have a certain stiffness to certain loads, as the stiffness of the bike plays a big role in how the bike handles.
There are several types of frames. Nowadays, an aluminium twin spar design is often used. This is a design in which the engine is used structurally to get a higher stiffness, and two aluminium spars extend forwards to the head pipe, to which the front fork is connected. This design, however, is not suitable for our bike. Our bike does not have a large engine, but an electric motor. This is why we decided to design a frame made of tubes. The material used is 4130 steel, also known as chromoly. This material is often used in applications like roll cages. It has a high strength and can be welded, which makes it a good choice for our frame.
This year, we want to have easier access to the battery. This requires a big redesign of the frame, since the previous frames had tubes along the sides of the battery pack. The challenge is to redesign the frame in such a way that it still reaches the required stiffnesses, has enough room for the battery and does not hinder access to the battery.
Designing the frame is an iterative process. Many concepts are made, and on each concept simulations are ran to see what can be improved upon. This eventually leads to the general shape of the frame.
– Jeroen Koopman