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View Poll Results: What is the best air-cooled motorcycle engine? (4 stroke)
Harley Davidson Big Twin family (detail favorite generation in comments, please) 2 13.33%
Harley Davidson Sportster 1 6.67%
Triumph 650/750 Bonneville Type Twin 1 6.67%
Norton Commando 750/850 0 0%
Ducati L-Twin 5 33.33%
Honda 750/4 and variations 2 13.33%
BMW Flat Twin 0 0%
Suzuki GS-1000 2 13.33%
Kawasaki Z1 900 and 1000 2 13.33%
Vincent Black Shadow 0 0%
Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #1
Z-Rod
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Default What is the best air-cooled MC engine ever?

So, I while ago one of the Brit bike mags had an article: "The 10 Greatest Motorcycle Motors of All Time." (I think it was BIKE magazine that ran it.)

Anyway their list included the Yamaha R-1 motor, the Honda VFR, the Fireblade motor. Most were more families of motors rather than a particular year.

So, I decided that a variation on this would make a good topic for the MC.com community to discuss (er, flame) away at for the weekend.

My variation is "air cooled". Of course that *always* brings out the GSX-R boys and the question of whether the early air/oil cooled gixers are just variations on air-cooled, or a different engine. Well I'll stick the GS in the poll, pick that and put GSX-R in the comments field.

What criteria should you use? All. That is whatever combination of power, personality, smoothness, reliability, sound, weight, reputation, and good looks you think makes it best. This isn't a 'most horsepower' question.

I'll do my best to pick out 10 that I think will be high up in the standings, but feel free to post something else if I screw it up.

Last edited by Z-Rod : 10-23-2009 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:28 PM   #2
mscuddy
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Kawasaki hands down. From the 550 to the mighty 1100cc cop bike, even if not maintained all that well, fast and hard to kill. Transmissions and clutches last forever, valve adjustment intervals of sixteen thousand miles are liveable. Put a Kerker on it, re-jet the carbs, some Uni pod air filters, and you've got one snappy motorcycle. I personally rode a 1981 KZ750 with the Weisco 880cc kit, big valves, carbs, Barnett clutch and Koni shocks on the back, for 10 years. It never broke, and embarassed some so-called super bikes at every chance.

Only thing that wore out were the brake pads, sprockets/chain and rear tire (a clutch or two also).

My neighbor still rides it. Goes whooshing by the house on a daily basis.
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:53 AM   #3
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GS1000: Roller bearing bottom end. Lasts forever.
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:29 AM   #4
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I'm real happy with the TC96 in my current bike. Flawless fuel injection, linier response from idle to redline, torque from 3 rpm on up, zero maintenance other then oil & filters and spark plugs now and then, a reusuable air cleaner element and easy access to it.....easy 100k+ service life and brick like reliability, mid 40's mpg smooth as silk and a nice exhaust note....a text book example of continuing refinement of an existing design. Pretty tough combo to beat.


My second choice would be an ironhead Sportster with cams and drag pipes....pure audio sex on wheels..
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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The KZ hands down!
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Old 10-24-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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Best ever for what? The Ducati 1100 L-engine is sure gonna suck in an off-road bike.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:35 PM   #7
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For a road bike. Sorry I should have spec'd this, but I felt it was implied by the fact all the bikes in the survey were multi-cylinder road bike engines. Perhaps I'll put a dirt bike poll up next ...
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
Best ever for what? The Ducati 1100 L-engine is sure gonna suck in an off-road bike.
Check this out:

Terra Mostro - Mixed Terrain, Touring Machine
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pplassm View Post
Yes, but it's the 700 engine and it weighs 400 pounds. So, it'll be better than GSes and such, but it's still a lot of weight for off road. Call it a decent cow trailer. I'd have to ride one since I ignore all BS by marketeers.
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Old 10-25-2009, 06:27 AM   #10
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"That is whatever combination of power, personality, smoothness, reliability, sound, weight, reputation, and good looks you think makes it best."

I'm in with Sarnali, the Ironhead Sporty was the best.
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