Saturday, January 12, 2013

Andrea Forni: “A sportsbike is still the best for me…”

When he was younger, Andrea Forni rode around Europe on bikes like the Ducati Pantah and F1. And his love for sportsbikes hasn't diminished with age...

For their February 2013 issue, Fast Bikes magazine spoke to Ducati’s technical director, Andrea Forni, who has some interesting things to say about how he thinks motorcycle technology will evolve in the near future, and about his own love for fast bikes. Here are some excerpts from what Forni said:

On active suspension

“The semi-active suspension on the new Multistrada is only a step towards what we are doing for the future. Technology never stops. Suspension one day will be fully active. For sure, to change the spring-rate and the preload is the next step. It is not so complicated with software, but much more energy and force is required to actually change the spring preload and spring rate, and probably the way we use current actuators is to make them faster, or stronger, or something like this, to change the principal of adjusting stiffness. This is under investigation and something we will see in the future for sure. Eventually, all our models will have something like this.” [Forni also adds that both Ohlins and Marzocchi have semi-active/active suspension systems under development, as do most other major suspension manufacturers…]

On letting the rider stay in control

“We don’t want to give the ECU too much control. We are already at the point where the ECU can determine everything for suspension, but a rider wants to personalize his bike, he wants to have a bike that is compliant to his feeling. So even though the algorithim and ECU try to do its best setting in every situation, the rider does not always like what the ECU is doing. That’s why we leave the possibility to personalize the overall behaviour of the algorithm. The ECU can do everything but this is not what the rider wants. Customers still want to have a feeling that is good for themselves.”

On future ABS development

ABS systems will have a big step forward in the future, it will be refined. For motorcycles, it works when the bike is basically vertical. In the future, there will be an ABS system that also operates in the middle of the corner, at full lean. Also, there will be the refinement of feeling. It can be refined further, for unforeseen circumstances, like if a bike hit some gravel while trying to stop, for example.”

On his own love for sportsbikes

“When I was younger, I had to buy a motorcycle, and with my money I could only afford one – I always chose the sport bike, because it is first of all fun. A sportsbike is still the best for me. I understand it is uncomfortable and it has some limits. But when I was younger, I overcame those limits by putting sidebags on my Ducati Pantah or Ducati F1, and travelling Europe on those bikes. If today I have to make the same choice again, even if now I am old, I will always choose the same, a sportsbike.”

Source: Fast Bikes

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