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What is SWINGARM? What does SWINGARM mean? SWINGARM meaning, definition & explanation

What is SWINGARM? What does SWINGARM mean? SWINGARM meaning – SWINGARM definition – SWINGARM explanation – How to pronounce SWINGARM?

Source: article, adapted under license.

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A swingarm, or “swinging arm” (UK), originally known as a swing fork or pivoted fork, is the main component of the rear suspension of most modern motorcycles and ATVs. It is used to hold the rear axle firmly, while pivoting vertically, to allow the suspension to absorb bumps in the road.

Originally motorcycles had no rear suspension, as their frames were little more than stronger versions of the classic diamond frame of a bicycle. Many types of suspension were tried, including Indian’s leaf spring suspended swingarm, and Matchless’s cantilevered coiled-spring swingarm. Immediately prior to and after World War II, the plunger suspension, in which the axle moved up and down two vertical posts, became commonplace. In the latter, the movement in each direction was against coiled springs.

Some manufacturers, such as Greeves, used swingarm designs for the front forks, which were more robust than telescopic forks. In particular, sidecar motocross outfits frequently use swing arm front forks. The swingarm has also been used for the front suspension of scooters. In this case it aids in simplifying maintenance. In motorcycles with shaft drive, such as the Yamaha XJ650 Maxim, the shaft housing forms the left side swingarm.

Swingarms have come in several forms:

Swinging fork – the original version consisting of a pair of parallel pipes holding the rear axle at one end and pivoting at the other. A pair of shock absorbers are mounted just before the rear axle and attached to the frame, below the seat rail.

Cantilever – An extension of the swinging fork where a triangulated frame transfers swingarm movement to compress shock absorber/s generally mounted in front of the swingarm. The HRD-Vincent Motorcycle is a famous early form of this type of swingarm, though Matchless used it earlier, and Yamaha subsequently. The Harley-Davidson Softail is another form of this swingarm, though working in reverse, with the shock absorbers being extended rather than compressed.

Parallelogram Suspension was first introduced commercially in 1985 on the Magni “Le Mans”. Magni called the system Parallelogrammo. Various parallelogram systems have been developed by other manufacturers.

Whereas a chain-driven bike would “squat” at the rear under acceleration, a shaft drive machine would do the opposite, causing the seat (and rider) to rise upwards, a phenomenon known as “shaft-jacking”. This anti-intuitive sensation can be disconcerting to riders, and parallelogram suspensions seek to neutralize such unwelcome torque reactions.

Paralever is BMW’s version of the system. It allows the driveshaft to pivot along the same axis as the sprung rear frame due to the addition of a second link between the rear drive and transmission. The Paralever was introduced in 1988 R80GS and R100GS motorcycles to combat shaft-jacking.

Moto Guzzi has introduced a variant of the system, it named the Compact Reactive Drive Shaft system (patented and named Ca.R.C.). The main difference is that the driveshaft is free to float into its structure, providing much softer feedback from transmission. Additionally, the upper arm of the Ca.R.C. is not part of the structure but just a guide to close the geometry of the suspension (it means that, unlike the BMW version, the suspension will work also with a broken upper arm).

Drag racing motorcycles (called dragbikes) will often use longer swingarms to keep their center of gravity as forward as possible, which reduces the tendency to wheelie at the start.

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