Popular motorcycle engine configuration

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V-Twins

By far the most popular motorcycle engine configuration in North America, the V-Twin is most commonly found in cruiser models. As the name suggests, the two-cylinders sit side-by-side in a V-shape or formation. Well-balanced and sporting an uneven firing order, V-Twins are praised for their ample low-end power and their iconic “Potato-Potato-Potato” exhaust note. In addition to their V-shape, V-Twins also usually have their intake positioned in between the cylinders as where most inline-engines have the intakes positioned behind the cylinders for paper writing service.

L-Twins & Transverse V-Twins (A.K.A. Italian V-Twins)

While they’re often referred to as “L-Twins”, Ducati’s engines (with the exception of its new V4) are all of this engine type, with the name denoting the cylinder’s L-like shape (opposed to the V-shape).  Moto Guzzi also uses V-Twins, however unlike most cruisers where the engine is mounted longitudinally with the cylnders front to back, Guzzi mounts its engines transversally (from side to side).

Flat-Twins

Also known as a “Boxer Twin”, flat-twins are what they sound like; twin-cylinder engines with the cylinders positioned horizontally (or flat) and the pistons located on opposite sides of the crank. These engines produce a lot of power throughout their entire rev-range and are incredibly well balanced. They also offer a very low center-of-gravity, however their immense width, they greatly limit lean-angle. On the street this isn’t typically a problem, and there’s a reason BMW has been using this engine configuration practically since its inception. Those who ride them swear by them.

Inline-Threes

Like a parallel-twin, with an extra cylinder, inline-three engines lack high-end power and crazy fast top-speeds, however they are ridiculously torquey at low and medium RPM, making for truly fantastic road-goers. These wheelie machines are found in a number of hooligan machines such as Triumph’s Street Triple and Yamaha’s FZ-09, and are probably our personal write my paper favorite engine configuration.