In a conventional motorcycle engine, the crankshaft (which converts the linear motion of the pistons into a rotational motion) moves in the same direction as the wheels. Motorcycles have used this configuration since the beginning because it’s simple, lightweight and efficient. But all those objects rotating in the same direction have a large inertial mass, which can make it difficult to turn and give a bike the tendency to wheelie under extreme acceleration. A counter-rotating crankshaft spins in the opposite direction to the wheels. This means the gyroscopic forces of the crank and wheels cancel each other out to a certain extent, negating the typical turning and wheelie effects. The counter-rotating crank first hit the big time in 1980s, when it featured in Honda’s NSR500 but it’s back under the spotlight after Ducati used the technology in the all-new Panigale V4. As with most technology there are drawbacks. An extra gear is required in the gearbox, to turn the backwards motion of the crank into forwards motion at the wheels. This adds weight, complexity and expense to the finished product, as well as stealing a bit of engine power.