MotoGP teams install winglets on their machines to improve aerodynamics and increase downforce. This can help the bike handle better at high speeds and improve overall performance on the track. Additionally, the winglets can also help to reduce wheelies, which can occur when the front wheel loses contact with the ground, by increasing the amount of weight on the front wheel.
Whether or not road-going superbikes should install winglets is a matter of debate. On one hand, winglets can improve the aerodynamics and handling of the bike, which can enhance the riding experience for the rider. Additionally, winglets can also help to reduce wheelies, which can occur when the front wheel loses contact with the ground, by increasing the amount of weight on the front wheel. On the other hand, winglets can make the bike less visually appealing, and also add weight, which can negatively impact the bike’s performance. Ultimately, whether or not to install winglets on a road-going superbike is a decision that must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific needs and preferences of the rider.
Continental brands, Ducati, BMW and Aprillia has winglets on their top superbike models.
Ducati, I’m pretty sure was the first brand to come out with winglets as standard on the Panigale V4 and V4S, followed by BMW (S1000RR and M1000RR) and Aprilia (RSV4 X and RSV4 Trentia)
CBR1000RRR also has in-build triple winglets located on the inner side of its faring
Next is the limited to 100 models worldwide and producing a stunning 230 hp, the XTrenta is Aprilia’s best possible production motorcycle.
Aprilia were the first to implement an inverted-style swingarm on a production motorcycle in 2021, which was fitted following lessons learned in MotoGP. And, the XTrenta has handed Aprilia another production first by having a lower wing fitted to the swingarm’s underside, beating the company who initially developed the technology to the punch in arch nemesis Ducati.
This, combined with winglets that are a close replica of the RS-GP machine Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales ride in MotoGP, has given the XTrenta a claimed aerodynamic load increase of 25 percent, while reducing drag by four percent.
BMW also jump in the Winglet bandwagon with the premium M1000RR starting in 2021. BMW claims the optimized aerodynamics with new winglets. The completely newly developed winglets from BMW 2023 now produce up to 49.8 lbs of downforce depending on speed.
So here’s the question, for bikes without GPWinglets, should you install the GPWinglet and does it benefit you?
All GP Winglets have been developed to increase the load on the front tire and improve the performance of the bike, mid-corner and in the acceleration phase. The downforce of the GP Winglets will help the front tire’s grip to be increased while the bike is more stable during acceleration and at top speed.
We installed the a set of GP Winglet on our Aprilia RS660, the winglet is Made in Taiwan, we found that not only an accessories but it does work as above, on the RS660 downforce is not too high, but it does help to increase the frontal downforce and add extra front grip while reducing wheelies. We have ridden speed over 220km/h the winglet is still secure with the 3M.
GP Winglets are available for all Aprilia RS660/Tuono660 and RSV4/Tuono 2009-2019. The kit includes the wings (left and right), 3M VBH Strong Double sided tape (recommended to fix with 3M fixer primer)
The GP X-winglet, as tested on Road & Track, demonstrated excellent directional change, effective early braking when entering turns, and exceptional flexibility in vehicle control. The front of the vehicle had a damper-like sensation, providing a sense of solidity and stability at high speeds and during cornering. Additionally, the front wheel remained firmly planted even when the rear wheel slide.
Wings: Heat Resistance Resin (lightweight)
Mount: 3M VBH Strong Double sided tape (recommended to fix with 3M fixer primer)
Why use the wings
- The downforcegenerated by the wings varies with the square of the speed. This means that the effect is greater as greater is the speed. However, the load towards ground is already perceptible at relatively low speeds (100kmh).
- Turning: the tendency of the bike to “turn” (and therefore to follow the ideal trajectory) depends even on the grip of the front wheel. The downforce increases the load towards the asphalt and, consequently, the tendency of the front wheel to remain on the ideal line
- Stability: the wings generate a stabilizing action, especially in the fast corners where the front end of the bike does not have a good support. Moreover, in all situations where the bike shakes, the wings generate a contrasting action, keeping the bike steadier.
- Static load: the wings help in riding in all situations where the front tire load is not enough. All the curves in which you enter without using the brakes, are a typical example in which the wings provide more grip and better rideability. A classic example are the curves in rapid sequence, where between one and the other one, you”pinche” the front brake only to recall the motion towards the inner curb.
- Acceleration: In this phase, the bike naturally tends to widen the trajectory. This phenomenon is automatically (and unconsciously) compensated by the rider’s action on the steering wheel. However, in such a phase, the front wheel load is very low and the rider falls into understeer phenomenon. Through the wings it is possible to increase the adhesion of the front tire and reduce the understeer.
- Wheelie: one of the limits in the acceleration phase, especially when coming out of the slow corners, is the wheelie. The wings move forward this limit, allowing (on average) a greater acceleration.
- Setup: having more load on the front wheel (generated by the winglets), you can use a different setup, that favor the rear grip. For example, you can rotate the bike on the rear (to increase traction) without suffering about poor grip on the front (because there will be wings to compensate).