Single One cylinder. Eg: BMW F650 + Few moving parts, good mpg. - Low power, vibey.
Parallel twin Two cylinders side by side. Eg: Honda CB500 + Ease of manufacture. - Vibey engine.
Flat twin Two cylinders, flat, facing apart. Eg: BMW Boxer + Ease of maintenance, low center of gravity. - Cylinders stick out, reducing ground clearance.
V-Twin Two cylinders in a 'V' shape. Eg: Ducati 999 + Very narrow, good traction, sound great. - For equal cc, can't make the power of a four-cylinder.
Triple Three cylinders, in a line. Eg: Triumph: Speed Triple + Character of a twin, power of a four (nearly). - Power of a twin, character of a four (nearly).
In-line four Four cylinders in a line. Eg: Yamaha R1 + Lots of cylinders mean plenty of power. - Very few. Some complain of a lack of character.
V-four Like two V-twins side by side. Eg: Honda VFR + Compact and powerful. - Complicated and expensive to build and maintain.
V-five Three cylinders point one way and two another. + Just look at the Honda RC211V. - They haven't made one for the road. Yet.
In-line six Six cylinders in-line. Eg: Honda CBX1000. + Power, smoothness, noise. - Too heavy and complex.
Also see The following oddities have all been used on bikes at some point: tandam twin (KR250), V-six (Laverda endurane racer), V-eight (Morbidelli), and rotary engines (Norton). Honda's NR750 was a V-four with oval pistons.
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