The radial engine is a reciprocating type internal combustion engine configuration in which the cylinders "radiate" outward from a central crankcase like the spokes of a wheel. The radial configuration was commonly used for aircraft engines at turn of previous century.

If you want to know how the radial engines work, have a look at this video:

Radial engines have been used not only in aeroplaces but also in tanks, combat cars, self propelled howitzers so it was quite natural progression that someone would come up with an idea of using these engines in Motorcycles.

Megola

Megola

Megola

The Megola was a German motorcycle produced between 1921 and 1925. a rotary engine mounted within the front wheel. The engine contained five cylinders with side-mounted valves, each of which displaced 128 cubic centimetres with a bore/stroke of 52 by 60 millimetres providing total displacement of 640 cc.  The cylinders rotated around the front axle at six times the wheel speed; thus while the cylinders were at maximum of 3600 rpm the front wheel was turning at 600 rpm, or roughly 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) 

Here is a short video:

Verdel 1912 Radial Engine Motorcycle

Verdel 1912 Radial Engine Motorcycle

Verdel 1912 Radial Engine Motorcycle

Verdel 1912 Radial Engine Motorcycle

Verdel 1912 Radial Engine Motorcycle

The 1912 Verdel was powered by a 750cc Overhead Valve 5 Cylinder Radial Engine manufactured by Verdel and the motorcycle was built by Packard, both companies located in United Kingdom.

Although it is believed that none of the original Verdel Radial Engine motorcycles exist today, there are a few working replicas.

Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace

The Killinger & Freund motorcycle was designed and built by five Munich designers around 1938 and presented at the 1938 automobile exhibition. The project ran under the names "Dove of Peace" and "End Sieg".

With front-wheel drive in the front wheel and streamlined fairings, the motorcycle weighed only 135 kg. Three two-stroke engines were arranged in a star shape in the front wheel; the displacement was 600 cm³, the weight - with two-speed gearbox and clutch - 50 kg. (Content courtesy: https://berglaufpur.de/berglauf/Motorrad_FriedenstaubeFreundKillinger.htm)

Given this history, it is not surprising that someone came up with a modern radial engine to power motorcycles. Rotec Aerosport is one such company and they has been manufacturing a range of quality aircraft products since 1999. These engines are mounted crossway, inline or horizontal. Rotec have 2 radial engines on offer –

And there are few custom motorcycle builders who have used these engines in their motorcycles.

JRL Cycles Kosmic Krome

JRL Cycles Kosmic Krome

JRL Cycles Kosmic Krome

JRL Cycles Kosmic Krome

JRL Cycles Kosmic Krome

Frank Ohle Red Baron Chopper

Frank Ohle Red Baron Chopper

Frank Ohle Red Baron Chopper

Frank Ohle Red Baron Chopper

Frank Ohle Red Baron Chopper

Scott Hamann Blackjack Chopper

Scott Hamann Blackjack Chopper

Scott Hamann Blackjack Chopper

Scott Hamann Blackjack Chopper

Scott Hamann Blackjack Chopper

Jesse James Radial Hell Chopper

Jesse James Radial Hell Chopper

Jesse James Radial Hell Chopper

Jesse James Radial Hell Chopper

Jesse James Radial Hell Chopper

Ollie Staffeld Lucky Seven Chopper

Ollie Staffeld Lucky Seven Chopper

Ollie Staffeld Lucky Seven Chopper

Ollie Staffeld Lucky Seven Chopper

Ollie Staffeld Lucky Seven Chopper

Paul Yang’s Harley based Iron Gatsby

Paul Yang’s Harley based Iron Gatsby

Paul Yang’s Harley based Iron Gatsby

Paul Yang’s Harley based Iron Gatsby

Paul Yang’s Harley based Iron Gatsby

Know some more weird contraptions? Let us know.


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