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Losing weight isn't just a perennial goal of human beings, it's the holy grail of motorcycle design, at least in terms of performance. If you want a motorcycle to accelerate quicker, stop faster, get better mileage or perform better in almost any area, just reduce the weight. Plastics have long been used for many reasons in vehicle design and weight reduction is certainly among them, so think about it, after removing the rider, where is the majority of the remaining weight in a motorcycle? It's the engine.

An interesting article in the New York Times talks about plastic auto engines, and they visit with Matti Holtzberg, an engineer and president of Polimotor (short for polymer motor) Research, who designed, built and even raced, plastic engines in the 1980s. He transformed a stock engine from a Ford Pinto, 88 hp and 415 pounds into a 300 hp, 152 pound engine.

... [he] used plastic for the block, piston skirts, connecting rods, oil pan and most of the cylinder head. Bore surfaces, piston crowns and combustion-chamber liners were iron or aluminum. The crankshaft and camshaft were standard metal components.

He raced a Lola in the IMSA Camel Lights series and had only one failure, a connecting rod from an outside supplier. Even with the success, interest from automakers was low, standard production and manufacturing techniques were working fine, why change?

Fast forward to 2009 and some companies are showing interest. Although iron engines in those days were heavy to start, plastic engines could even reduce the weight of today's aluminum engines by 30 percent. Technology has definitely advanced in the last 25 years so it seems natural to at least give it a try. Think about that sort of weight reduction on a motorcycle. In a car, the engine is a much smaller part of overall weight, on a motorcycle, it's the single heaviest piece.

Though other Polimotor engines were designed, no motorcycle applications were tried, from what I could find.

Polimotor attracted a lot of interest back in the 1980s, with articles in many publications but faded from the limelight. Now that there is a glimmer of interest, it's unlikely a motorcycle company would be in the position to take a chance on the technology just for its own use, but it might be the perfect place to test the technology for durability before using it in large scale application in the auto world. If it happened to work out, wouldn't it be neat if we got the benefit of some really lightweight powerplants in the process?
Nick: JirkaPraha, 9.11.2009 11:16:47
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New American company Solar Roadways plan road with surface from robustly solar cell. The idea is realisable and American ministry of defence has provided 100 000 dollars on its research. Builder of...
Cars
29.12.2009 15:02:52 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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Losing weight isn't just a perennial goal of human beings, it's the holy grail of motorcycle design, at least in terms of performance. If you want a motorcycle to accelerate quicker, stop faster, get...
Cars
9.11.2009 11:16:47 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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New amphibian car was constructed in America. Its call Python and it has engine from Corvette. It weighs 1725 kg and it can ride on land and move in water. In water copes velocity 97 km/h, on dry...
Cars
14.10.2009 08:53:48 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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Ferrari announced some time ago that they are going to show their concept of hybrid car. They plan to put the car on market in 2014 – 2015. It will be pretty awkward if one of the biggest rivals,...
Cars
28.8.2009 09:18:09 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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Zipcar has joined Apple to make getting a car as easy as using your phone. The pioneering car-share company has developed an iPhone app you can use to choose, reserve and locate a car on the go - a...
Cars
12.6.2009 13:28:47 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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President Obama will announce tough new nationwide rules for automobile emissions and mileage standards on Tuesday, embracing standards that California has sought to enact for years over the...
Cars
27.5.2009 10:05:22 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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Transport for London plans to begin a six-month trial of a new technology that will artificially limit the top speeds of taxis, buses and government fleet vehicles. Called Intelligent Speed...
Cars
19.5.2009 08:56:08 | Nick: JirkaPraha
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With technology advancing at the pace it is today, we’ve to believe that by the end of the century we won’t be driving our cars around the city. Rather, we will just be sitting on the then historic...
Cars
18.5.2009 14:34:32 | Nick: JirkaPraha



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