Motorcycle Monthly - - Knowledge -

Lay­out: Two cylin­ders op­posed in a V for­ma­tion. Ben­e­fits: Low and mid-range torque, nar­row, cost ef­fec­tive to build.

V-twin mo­tors started to spring up ev­ery­where at the turn of the 20th cen­tury, with Bri­tish firm Prin­ceps be­ing claimed to have pro­duced the world’s first V-twin pow­ered mo­tor­cy­cle in 1902. Just a year later, a whole host of other man­u­fac­tur­ers were able to boast a V in their line-up, in­clud­ing Eclipse, Glenn Cur­tis and NSU.

Be­ing both lon­gi­tu­di­nal and trans­versely mounted, V-twins can also be quite dif­fer­ent ow­ing to their an­gle of V, with 90˚ types be­ing com­mended for their abil­ity to achieve per­fect pri­mary bal­ance, while nar­rower an­gled twins have more even fir­ing in­ter­vals. Per­haps the nar­row­est en­gine ever built was the Match­less Sil­ver Ar­row at just 18˚, while Zun­dapp went to the other ex­treme with the KS750 and its 170˚ V.

A lot of Amer­i­can brands, such as In­dian and Har­ley, have utilised the V ow­ing to its de­liv­ery of big torque. In Italy, V-twins have played a key role with Moto Guzzi and Du­cati (with a 90º de­sign, also known as an L-twin) both achiev­ing world ti­tles on V-twin bikes.

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