Are Parallel-Twins Really That Boring? – Question of the Day

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Rudi Schedl

“Oh great. Another boring Parallel-Twin.”

That’s a common refrain we’ve been hearing in greater frequency the last few years, as manufacturer after manufacturer has introduced yet another model with an Inline-Two engine.

I mean, we kind of get it. Parallel-Twins don’t seem to have the same “It” factor as Triples, Inline-Fours or big V-Twins, but is it really fair to call them boring? Almost all of them now come with a 270° crankshaft, simulating the feel of a 90° V-Twin, but they still often come saddled with the dreaded stereotype.

But then you get bikes like the 990 Duke pictured above, and while the orange brand gets a lot of criticism for certain things, one thing you rarely hear about KTM is the word “boring”.

I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective. Parallel-Twins do have a lot of advantages over other configurations. They’re usually less expensive to manufacture, and easier to package with a larger airbox or a lighter frame, which offer their own benefits in terms of performance. Of course, that just highlights how practical they are, and Practical is Boring’s first cousin.

Kawasaki has probably been one of the strongest proponents of Parallel-Twins over the last few decades, producing models from 250cc to 650cc, from Ninja sportbikes to Versys adventure bikes to Vulcan cruisers and the new Eliminator pictured here. Countless new riders cut their teeth on a Ninja, and while a lot of them move onto different bikes, many still look back fondly at their first motorcycle, which so happens to be a “boring old Twin.”

So, for our Question of the Day, let us know: do you think Parallel-Twins really are boring? Or is it just a tired stereotype because they’re becoming so common-place?

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 35 comments
  • Rich Rich on Mar 29, 2024

    Well, I've only had one parallel-twin, 2009 Kawasaki ER-6N (650), but it had the 180 crank, sounded like a sewing machine---boring for sound, but a nice torquey motor. Other than that, I've had 3--inline-4s and 1 V-twin. I like the sound of the inline-4s the best, nothing screams quite like the inline-4! With the overflow of new bikes going to the parallel-twin with the 270 crank, I'll most likely have one of those next. Haven't heard that those are boring, should sound similar to a V-twin. The nice thing about the parallel-twin type engine is it helps the bike achieve a lower weight, so compact and light. It is the future with emission standards, etc. So, might as well start liking them b/c one of these days, there won't be any more 4-cylinders out there. I have heard that the 3-cylinder is the best engine (best of both 4 and 2), but I don't know if that's the case. Having a light bike but at least 100 hp with a minimum of 60 lb-ft torque are my main criteria for my next bike, so most likely will be a compact parallel-twin. Good thing about motorcycles with twins, lots of options for us in new bike lineups.

  • Rich Rich on Mar 29, 2024

    I'm a moto-enthusiast of Naked-Middleweights (650 to 950cc). Within that group, there are 8 Parallel-Twins: KTM 990 Duke, KTM 790 Duke, Aprilia Tuono 660, CFMOTO 800NK, BMW F900R, Suzuki GSX-8S, Yamaha MT-07, Kawasaki Z650.

    There're just 15 total bikes in the segment, others:

    3-Triples (Triumph Street Triple R/RS, Triumph Trident 660, Yamaha MT-09)

    2-V-Twins (Ducati Monster, Suzuki SV650)

    2-Inline-4s (Kawasaki Z900, Honda CB650R)

    So, Parallel-Twins easily dominate the segment, total of 8 out of 15 (over 53%).