Dear Cranke,

Suzuki was hoping you’d ask. Here’s what they had to say in introducing the all-new GSX-R1000 last week, which uses the same 180-degree, or flat crank, it always has. Our lead photo shows the new GSX-R engine on the left and the outgoing one on the right; note that the baby bump on front of the old engine, where its small balance shaft used to live, is no more on the new engine.

2005-bmw-k12s-t-10-zoom

Nearly all inline Fours use a flat crankshaft like this one (which doesn’t belong to the new GSX-R). Two pistons up + two pistons down = perfect primary balance.

“Suzuki engineers carefully considered using non-conventional, uneven-firing-order crankshaft phasing versus the GSX-R’s traditional even-firing-order crankshaft phasing.

“The theoretical advantages of uneven firing order can apply in MotoGP racing, where engine output exceeds 230 horsepower and the biggest obstacle to turning good lap times is cornering traction and the rider’s ability to feel how well the rear tire is hooked up at any given throttle opening. But there are very real inherent engineering challenges that must be overcome with an uneven firing order. It’s more difficult to produce strong power and torque with an uneven firing order, especially at low rpm and in the midrange. Vibration is increased, requiring much thicker and heavier crankcases and a counterbalancing shaft, and associated mechanical losses contribute to overheating.

Yamaha’s Crossplane crank needs to spin this large balance shaft (part #14 on <a style="color: #3ec5ff;" href="http://www.bikebandit.com" target="_blank">BikeBandit’s</a> fiche) to quell its vibes; Suzuki’s new GSX-R1000 does away with the small balance shaft it used last year, joining other balance-shaft-free inline Fours like the <a href="http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/bmw.html" target="_blank">BMW</a> S1000RR, <a href="http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/honda.html" target="_blank">Honda</a> CBR1000RR and others.

Yamaha’s Crossplane crank needs to spin this large balance shaft (part #14 on BikeBandit’s fiche) to quell its vibes; Suzuki’s new GSX-R1000 does away with the small balance shaft it used last year, joining other balance-shaft-free inline Fours like the BMW S1000RR, Honda CBR1000RR and others.

“The big question Suzuki engineers faced was whether or not, for a production motorcycle, the theoretical advantages of an uneven firing order design outweighed the inherent complications. Including the fact that solving the problem of making strong power with an uneven firing order while controlling vibration, heat and weight gain would make the motorcycle more expensive, significantly increasing the retail price.

“With testing, the engineers found that they could enhance traction and feel with a superb chassis design and effective electronics. And they decided that the even-firing-order, screamer engine sounded better, too.”

Ouch.

There you have it. We love the texture of the R1 big-bang engine and how it sounds, but time will tell if its added complexity eventually might go the way of the five-valve head.


Direct your motorcycle-related questions to AskMoAnything@motorcycle.com, though some say we’re better at non-motorcycle-related ones…

  • Starmag

    “time will tell if its added complexity eventually might go the way of the five-valve head.” Second ouch.

    At least Yamaha dares to be different, I’ll give them that. A little less daring in the styling dept. would be better for me though.

  • DickRuble

    I like the Genesis engine on my bike.. five valves and all.

    • SerSamsquamsh

      What bike is that? TDM? FZ750?

      • DickRuble

        It’s secret.. It’s about as common as a TDM in the US.

        • SerSamsquamsh

          Neato! Of course it had to be something different:)

  • spiff

    I bought into the 5 valve hype (owned 3 of them) and I buy into the crossplane crank. Yanaha is smart to explore options, and standing out of the crowd. The triples are also an example of this.

    • ManfredtheWonderDog

      Love the Yamaha triples. Had a 750 and an 850. Superb motorcycles.

  • Dootin

    Suzuki sells less bikes of the big four right.

  • randy the great

    The sound makes all the headaches worth it.

  • http://facebook.com/ East South

    I never like the v4 sound and even more so the cross plane sound.
    Having come from the 3rd world where twins and thumpers are an every minute occurrence. The low base rumbling sound has become more of an annoyance.

    While the sound of high revving inline4 is a rare occurrence. I appreciate it more.

    And as was shown in the Article cross plane crank takes away Power.

    • Andre Capitao Melo

      I thought I was the only one who didn’t cared about V4 and crossplane sounds. They sound like a garbled mess to me.

      • Tyler

        I4 creamers sound like wind up toys while V4s and crossplane I4s sounds like an actual engine.

        • Visigoth

          Agreed. I LOVE the low rumbling noises my 2016 R1 makes!

  • Auphliam

    Articles like this are proof that we lovers of motorcycles will believe anything they tell us

    The flat crank, inline-4 produces fewer vibes and can therefore run without a balance shaft…just like the BMW S1000RR…the same S1000RR/XR/R that every moto journo dings for hand numbing vibrations

    LOL

    • ‘Mike Smith

      No kidding, it really is terrible, like having a jackhammer zip tied onto the triple tree.

    • SerSamsquamsh

      Are you quite sure you don’t love numb hands? Smooth engines always get ripped for “being without character”- which might be marketing speak for “not annoying”.