You must have read our article about common motorcycle engine types. If not, click here to read it. In this article, we are going to explore some one-off or offbeat motorcycle engines.

Here is a list of some Offbeat Motorcycle Engines:

  1. V8 engine
  2. Square Four Engine
  3. Oval-Piston V4 Engine
  4. V5 engine
  5. Wankel/Rotary  engine

1. V8 engine :

v8 engine

V8 is a common engine configuration found in high capacity cars, trucks, and SUV’s. The V8 engine is like a V-Twin or a V4, but with a total of eight-cylinder (four cylinders on both sides of the V). Because of their big size and weight, these engines are rarely used in motorcycles. One such example is BossHoss motorcycles.

2. Square Four Engine :

Square four engine

Designed by the legendary Edward Turner, square-four engines can most easily be described as a pair of parallel-twins that are joined together. This engine was made famous by the 500cc Ariel Square Four. These engines lacked in raw power but they were super smooth in power delivery.

3. Oval-Piston V4 Engine :

V4 Engine

Over Piston V4 engine was introduced by Honda on its NR500 GP racer in 1979. The idea behind the oval-piston was to achieve the benefits of a V8 while still running four-cylinder engine. This was accomplished by essentially creating a V4 with two connecting rods mated to each piston. It also used two spark plugs, eight valves, and twin fuel-injectors for each cylinder.

The NR500 did not work out much but it led to development of other great engines.

4. V5 engine :

v5 engine

Imagine a V4 with an extra cylinder added to the equation and that, in a nutshell, is a V5 engine. V5 engines are powerful and well-balanced, however are expensive to produce and maintain. As a consequence, these engines are pretty seldom used by bike makers, outside of a few noteworthy GP racers from around the turn of the millennium.

Few car makers like Audi, Mercedes, VW, Volvo also used V5 engines successfully.

5. Wankel/Rotary engine :

Wankel/Rotary engine

The Wankel rotary engine is a fascinating idea for an engine. This type of engine replaces the reciprocating “up-and-down” moving pieces found in traditional engines and uses spinning/rotating internals. Rotary engines have been used on everything from aircraft to automobiles, and of course, a few production motorcycles such as the Suzuki RE5 and a couple Norton bikes like Norton F1, the Norton RCW588. Wankel racer.

Mazda's RX-7 and RX-8 were the most famous road-going cars built with rotary engines. Look at this animation showing how a wenkel / rotary engine works.

Send us your opinion about what other types of engines you would like to see in production motorcycles.


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