In the past, racing motorcycles were equipped with cast wheels made of various alloys, usually aluminum. Now, extremely light and strong forged magnesium wheels, used by all MotoGP teams, represent one of the most important elements in this contest of ultimate speed. The most advanced production technology, originally developed for the Grand Prix, has allowed these forged magnesium wheels to become widely available for road use. Only a few manufacturers in the world are able to forge magnesium components accurately and flawlessly, while attaining the highest possible mechanical properties and maintaining the highest level of performance and safety for the racer. Clearly defined market requirements have assisted Lightest Components to channel its efforts toward developing a competition MotoGP wheel with the ideal strength-to-weight ratio, which was established through rigorous experimentation on the testing bench and on the race track. Engineers have established empirically that two optimized magnesium alloys (density 1.8 kg/dm3) are best suited for production of motorcycle wheels with the required characteristics. For comparison, nearly all facilities producing wheels for mass market models utilize aluminum alloys with a density of 2.7 kg/dm3. Forged magnesium wheels are more than 45% lighter than standard cast aluminum wheels, and this helps to reduce the moment of inertia by 35%.
The processes for manufacturing a wheel forging and its subsequent machining and coating are important because they serve to ensure the highest mechanical properties of the finished part (for example, steel undergoes “quenching”). Through partnership with SMW, Lightest Components utilizes the Russian forging technology that was originally developed by the Soviet Defense Ministry for production of civil and military aircraft, a process furthered by 21st century engineering advances. SMW deploys the proprietary process of net-shape hot forging into a three-dimensional closed mold or die to produce top-of-the-line forged wheels and blanks. For example, Valentino Rossi and his teammates at Yamaha MotoGP have won the World Championship for 3 years straight, while riding on SMW forged magnesium wheels, designed by the legendary Roberto Marchesini, and finished by MFR in Italy. Lightest Components Ltd. engineers developed innovative prototypes of high-class motorcycle wheels that showed a clear improvement in characteristics during numerous tests. Our engineers are ready to modify the designs to meet a customer’s individual requirements.