An engine is something from where a motorbike gets its character, which is why it’s often called as its soul. Engines today are available in lots of varieties, especially in the racing realm. Some of them are considered extraordinary probably because they’re either groundbreaking or deliver enough power to the wheels to move the earth laid down under them. In this post, we’ve outlined a rundown of inline-4 engines and why they’re becoming the engine of choice for motorbikes.
In motorbike history, the inline-4 engines were being fitted very early. Though some early motorbikes were developed using “boxer” twin, there were bikes being manufactured in the US and Europe with inline-4 engines right at the beginning of 20th century. The company that is credited with the first production of an operable inline-4 engine was FN Herstal (a Belgian arms manufacturer) that had been manufacturing motorbikes since 1901. They came up with the first inline-4 in 1905. It looks more like a stretched bicycle with its engine hanging from the frame’s bottom tube with the cylinders going up by the side of the bottom tube. The initial FN Fours were started by pedalling them until the engine could start and were single speed. The bike had a 2-speed gearbox by 1908, which was soon followed by a 3-speed one. Soon, the FN Four gained its fame amongst motorbikers for its high capacity, and it became the fastest motorbike in the world by 1911.
How Japanese technology is more straightforward and offers higher value.
Today, Japan has become one of the giants in the motorcycle market worldwide, thanks to being home to 4 of the most prominent motorcycle companies of the world namely Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki. After dominating the market for decades, now Japan’s motorbike manufacturers are revving up to produce road-ready bikes based on AI (artificial intelligence) and robotic systems, promising a new beginning in two-wheeled transportation. The recent revealing by Honda Motor Co. – the concept bike equipped with Riding Assist self-balancing is designed to stay upright at very minimum speeds and to follow the rider at almost a walking pace. It’ll lower the risk of low-speed falls from the rider’s handling or vehicle wobbling. Another one in the “Big 4”, the Yamaha Motor Co. has taken motorcycle tech to a different level, with the development program to create a robotic rider with the ability to steer a bike similar to a professional racer. With implementations of such advanced technologies, it can be said that the Japanese technology is focusing on more safer and efficient motorbikes to be seen on the road in the future.
The motorbike industry is cranking out lots of less expensive, smaller bikes these days and some great deals are available in plenty on many coolest and newest models. Here’re some of the latest machines that not only pack lots of value but are great to ride too.
2018 BMW R Nine T Pure: These retro-styled roadsters are surely the most adorable bikes in the BMW line. With a base price of $11,995 these are quite affordable to everyday riders compared to expensive BMW models. What’s missing in this mirror of sheer 70’s and 80’s BMW is big brakes, the Ohlins suspension and some brightwork.
2018 Kawasaki Z650: It’s a sportbike in disguise because it comes with a same parallel twin engine and a chassis of Ninja 650. This 400-pound machine provides strong midrange thrust, which is quite helpful for both downtown and backroad commute. With a base price of $7,000, this bike could be ideal for riders of smaller stature as the seat height is as low as 30.9-inch.
2018 Harley-Davidson Street Bob: Harley developed this lighter, all-new chassis with better lean angles. As a result, this motorbike offers the custom Softail look reminiscent of the old Softail coupled with Dyna’s sportier ride. The base price of the Street Bob is $14,500, making it the least expensive way to get a Softail.
The extremely popular, fast-revving, smooth inline-4 is the universal engine architecture that powers majority of the sports bikes. Since its inception in the late 1960s, the design became tremendously popular among the Japanese motorbike manufacturers because of its excellent performance, ease of production and reliability. Today, almost any Japanese sportbike is powered by the inline-4 engine as well as the massive majority of road racing bikes in any superbike or supersport class. Motorbike riders love this engine because of its cranked out big horsepower, particularly at high RPMs, smooth power delivery, the simplicity of engine architecture and fast-revving strength.
Although big engines will continue to be the reserve of more high-performance or opulent variants, affordable motorbikes for the rest of the riders don’t have to put an end to inline-4 engines. Even if you’re to insist on downsizing engines, reducing a cylinder seems to take things to another level that can give a strong torque or slug for a quick pick-up. On the other hand, with inline-4s, you won’t find that warbling soundtrack or enthusiastic personality that comes with a three-cylinder unit. Because some of the loveliest engines comprise of an odd number of cylinders, there’s no actual reason for motorbike manufacturers to move from the inline-4, considering the ease of pairing it with any number of drivetrain combinations and fitting it into any layout. There’s relatively little engineering advantages or power gains to be experienced by going through the hazards of adding another cylinder, and it would also become difficult to market an engine with one less cylinder too. In the meanwhile, the above mentioned “rightsizing” trend will experience bike manufacturers resorting to their engines with more advanced technologies like triple injection, electric turbochargers or cylinder cut-off to attain the optimal efficiency at every engine load, instead of developing the displacement of the upcoming engines.
Finally, it can be concluded that in the foreseeable future, the inline-4 engine is here to stay, which makes them more unique and affable in the future world of racing.