What is a swingarm: A brief comparison of single-sided and double-sided swing arms

What is meant by a swingarm? The swingarm is a mechanical part of a two-wheeler, which connects the rear wheel to its frame.

It is usually made of steel on conventional bikes, But when it comes to expensive bikes, swingarms are also made of aluminum or carbon fiber.

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Why swingarm in two-wheelers

It is one of the most important mechanical parts in two-wheelers, which connects the rear wheel to its frame.

One end of the swingarm is pivoted to the frame of the vehicle So that a swinging movement (Up and down) is possible here, the other end is connected to the rear wheel axle.

The primary function of the swingarm is to connect the rear wheel to the frame of the bike and support the rear wheel. Second, help to make the rear suspension system more efficient.

Usually, one end of the rear suspension is connected to the frame and the other end to the swingarm. This improves the performance of the rear suspension system as the swingarm has a vertical movement.

This helps to make the ride through rough surfaces more comfortable.

The swingarm is a mechanical part that greatly influences the handling and stability of a motorcycle, So it has to be very strong and stiff.

During acceleration, more weight shifts to the rear wheel of the motorcycle, The swingarm must be capable of managing that weight in such situations.

A swingarm should also be able to control the stresses created during the turning and braking of the vehicle.

Forces acting on a swingarm

There are three types of forces acting on a swingarm, 

The first one is the vertical forces, due to the up and down movement of the rear wheel. A swingarm must be able to withstand the impact of this vertical movement.

The next one is lateral forces, which means the movement of the swingarm to the right or left.

When a motorcycle takes an extreme turn, a force acts on the swingarm in the opposite direction of the turn.

This type of movement is less likely in a good swingarm, So the vehicle gets good control and stability when taking a turn.

The next one is the twisting force or torsional force, which causes the swingarm to twist.

So a swingarm must have good torsional stiffness, Also the swingarm should not become bent or broken due to these types of forces.

Types of swingarms used in motorcycles

There are two types of swingarms used in motorcycles, 

  • Single-sided swing arms
  • Double-sided swing arms

Double-sided swing arms

Double-sided swingarms are a type of swingarm commonly used on conventional bikes, Here the rear wheel is arranged in such a way that it comes in the middle of the swingarm.

This means that both ends of the rear wheel axle can be connected to both sides of the swingarm. 

We can see different types of double-sided swingarms according to their shape,

  • Box type: Box-shaped
  • Tubular type: Shaped like a tube 
  • Banana type: Shaped like a curve

In terms of its advantages, it is relatively inexpensive compared to a single-sided swingarm because it is easy to build. Therefore, double-sided swingarms are commonly used on most bikes.

Moreover, it provides all the advantages of a swingarm as described above.

If we examine the shortcomings we can see nothing more, 

But one visible drawback compared to the single-sided is the difficulty that arises when removing the wheel.

Because the wheel sprocket is mounted on the wheel so the alignment and chain tension must be taken into account when removing the wheel.

Single-sided swingarms 

It is usually used on expensive bikes.

Here also the one end is connected to the frame and the other end to the rear wheel, But here the part that connects to the tire holds only one side of the tire, This is why it is called a single-sided swingarm.

Also, on bikes that use such a swingarm, the wheel sprocket is mounted separately instead of on the wheel. So there is no need to think about chain adjustment or alignment in situations where the wheel has to be removed, this is a major advantage of a single-sided swingarm compared to a double-sided one.

The casing of the transmission system itself is often used as a single-sided swingarm on shaft-driven bikes, but this may not be the case with all shaft-driven bikes.

In the case of scooters, the casing of the CVT transmission used in it acts as a single-sided Swingarm.

Looking at the advantages of a single-sided swingarm, it has a very attractive look and the other advantage is that there will be no difficulties when removing the wheel as mentioned above.

Looking at its disadvantages, it is very expensive, So we can only see such a swingarm on very expensive bikes.

Apart from this, no other disadvantages can be seen in such swingarms.

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