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Preferred engine configuration.


Border raider.
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
England Scotish border
I imagine most us will have used a variety of engine configurations in motorcycles, but of them all and taking everything into account, the type of bike, for what and where you use it and any factors like economy or maintenance. etc.
What do you prefer ?.
In my case i do a lot of trials so singles feature a lot in my world and i have and still do have singles for road use too.
And as much as i love the Triple engines and have had many over the years, and i must admit the triple soundtrack both two stroke and fourstroke did draw me to chosing the triple. Equaly i like the merits of the twins and fours, But all things taken into account, i feel i must chose the single.
I do like the slimness and simplicity the single ticks all the boxes for me in a motorcycle powerplant .
For the street I like a 90° v-twin. Naturally balanced with lots of low end torque.
Dual sport a 4-stroke single.
For dirt a 2-stroke single.
I've owned many singles, quite a few 180° (and one 360°) parallel twins, 7 inline transverse fours, 2 horizontally opposed fours, two 90° V-fours and 2 inline transverse sixes and have loved them all for their purposes. I currently own 3 180° parallel twins and one inline transverse 4 cylinder. I'll probably only keep 3 bikes total after I get around to the full patina '69 CB350 project (engine overhaul, catching up minor maintenance). Once it's done I'll probably sell it, I just got it cheap ($400) and it's all original. I loved my XL250 back in the day, so much fun to ride. If I could have one of them back it would be the CBX, probably the coolest and most fun engine I've ever owned.
Number 1, thumpers.
Number 2, 2 stroke singles.
Number 3, V twins.
Number 4, parallel twins.

To put it another way, the fewer cylinders, the better.
Actually numbers three and four are so close as to be almost on the same level. And the parallel twin needs to be a true parallel, too: none of this separate crank throws business.
1. Transverse V-twin...nothing like it and shaft drive is a nice bonus
2. Triumph Triples...one of the nicest sounds on earth
3. Thumpers...simplicity personified and as endearing as a faithful dog
Thumpers are wonderful. Dirt or street, but not the best on a highway bike. Sumo's wouldn't exist without them IMO.

Not a fan of smokers. Grew up on 'em, don't want one now.

270° parallel twins and triples for the street. Not a fan of a sprawled out V twin cooking the seat when parallel twins are so light and compact.
I have 2 boxers which I love, one airhead one oilhead. I have plated 2 thumpers which I love and a scooter single which has been a lemon its whole life. And now I have a Triumph triple which really needs a new pipe to unleash the sound. No interest in Japanese bikes, nothing out there in 4's that interests me much.
Take a wild guess... ;-)

I recently realized that in 30+ years I have never owned a bike with more than two cylinders.

I've RIDDEN bikes with more, but never owned one.

I've had one 4 cyl, back in the early 80's, in Bright red (stock photo)


Then I found out about the Stumpjumpers Desert 100 in WA and went to a Thumper. Never looked back
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