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Confounding configurations

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Guest BoBOKik

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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