Lightweight garage #34 CFRP rims of the Ducati Panigale V4

©soft_kh, Ducati Panigale V4

The Vehicle

The Ducati Panigale V4 is a supersport motorcycle from the Italian manufacturer Ducati. It was unveiled in November 2017 and has been available since 2018. The motorcycle is known for its performance and agility and is one of the fastest and most advanced motorcycles on the market. An important part of the motorcycle are its CFRP (carbon fiber composite) rims from thyssenkrupp in the highest configuration.

The Technology

The CFRP rims from thyssenkrupp are a new product based on the company's many years of experience in carbon fiber composites. They consist of carbon fibers embedded in an epoxy resin matrix. This combination of materials allows higher stiffness and load-bearing capacity combined with lower weight compared with conventional aluminum rims.

The CFRP rims are manufactured using several innovative processes. The world's largest braiding wheel is used to lay down the fibers. The fibers are then embedded in the plastic matrix using a process known as resin transfer molding (RTM). In this process, the carbon fiber matrices are placed in a mold and then impregnated with an epoxy resin solution using pressure. The resin then cures in an autoclave under pressure and heat to produce the rims. These processes enable very high accuracy and precision in the manufacture of the rims and ensure a perfect fit and optimum power transmission to the road.

Another important feature of these rims is their aerodynamic shape. This makes it possible to reduce air resistance and thus increase the top speed of the motorcycle. Braking performance is also improved by the aerodynamic shape, as the airflow around the rims dissipates braking heat more quickly.

©thyssenkrupp carbon components, CFRP wheels from thyssenkrupp

The Lightweighting Effect

A major advantage of the CFRP rims on the Ducati Panigale V4 is their low weight. Compared with conventional aluminum rims, which weigh around 6.6 kg, the CFRP rims weigh only around 4.8 kg. This reduces the unsprung masses and thus increases the agility and maneuverability of the motorcycle. Acceleration and top speed are also increased.

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