The carbon frame for the Tornado was born through the collaboration between Andrea Pretzler, GERG’s composite expert and Adrian Morton BENELLI’s designer.
The collaboration united the resources and experience of GERG who are renowned for there long term collaboration with high-profile companies such as BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Toyota with the innovative Benelli motorcycle company.
Following numerous telephone calls and meetings the idea to develop a part which would envelop styling, the necessity to tunnel air to the Tornado’s rear mounted radiator, whilst providing a structural frame for the motorcycle came about.
Andrea Pretzler had previously developed a conventional carbon frame for a motorcycle, but the requirements for the Benelli’s Tornado offered new challenges, both aesthetically (to interpret the ideas of Benelli’s designer) as well as retaining the same cross sectional air-passage to the radiator, and structural integrity.
Following a brief styling sketch programme in GERG, work commenced on a three-dimensional model using Catia software. With the restraints of the existing Tornado package a set of objectives were laid down;
– Weight reduction over existing frame
– Narrower plan profile over existing frame/bodywork
– Simplification of three separate elements currently employed on the Tornado (Bodywork, Air tube to radiator, and bodywork) into one single carbon fibre component
– Objective to be eventually developed into a commercial limited production version.
The initial concept retained all the same hard-points as the original frame. Around these points the three dimensional surfaces were developed. This process required many iterations in order to meet all technical requirements, with the emphasis placed on new styling opportunities. afterall no ohter frame has to address such criteria; so why should it look conventional.
Upon arriving at a final solution ‘on-screen’, mathematical surface data was converted directly into tool-path’s in order to machine the various mould parts.
In total the mould was constructed from 9 parts, to create one seamless carbon components using carbon fibre kindly sponsored by SEAL, al Italian based carbon fibre manufacturer. All the machined surfaces would require finishing by hand in order to achieve a quality surface finish on the carbon part.
Upon completion the ‘lay-up’ of the complicated part could commence.
After 3 days and many thousands of specially cut profiles the mould was laid up and placed in the autoclave under vacuum in order to remove air and permit the pre-pregnated profiles to become one. Upon removal from the mould, machining of all the mounting points, and hand finishing of the surface could be carried out.
The final result is a unique carbon-fibre sculpture that breaks tradition, whilst being stiffer, lighter, narrower, and conceptually simpler.
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