False Neutral #22: V Four Variety

FN-Podcast-22

This week, it’s all about the machines. After catching up on some of our project bikes, we get technical, discussing V-4 motors. From pre-war British bikes to Grand Prix Hondas, we explore what makes V-fours so attractive from an engineering point of view, why they don’t always work so well aesthetically, and why we don’t see more of them on the market. We also discuss related issues regarding engine balance, vibration, and blueprinting.


False Neutral – V Four Variety

Flase-neutral-jump-header

Except where noted in the captions, images are standard press kit/website photos used courtesy of the respective manufacturers.

2016 Honda VFR1200X
2016 Honda VFR1200X
01
Yamaha RZ500
1935 Matchless Silver Hawk
1935 Matchless Silver Hawk
1936 Puch P800
1936 Puch P800
1936 AJS air-cooled V4
1936 AJS air-cooled V4
1957 Ariel Square-4 1000
1957 Ariel Square-4 1000
1964 Ducati Apollo
1964 Ducati Apollo
FN22-09
Jawa 350 V-4 race engine
FN22-10
CZ Type 860
Motus MST
Motus MST
1983 Honda V65 Magna (VF1100C)
1983 Honda V65 Magna (VF1100C)
Honda's NR-series oval-piston bikes
Honda’s NR-series factory racers, with NR750 street bike at lower left
NR engine configuration
NR engine configuration
2016 Honda RC213V-S
2016 Honda RC213V-S Grand Prix Replica
Honda MVX250F V-3 engine configuration
Honda MVX250F V-3 engine configuration
Ducati Supermoto engine showing balance rod (courtesy ducati.wikia.com)
Ducati Supermoto engine showing balance rod (Courtesy ducati.wikia.com)
1985-86 Honda NS400R
1985-86 Honda NS400R two-stroke V-3

10 Comments

  1. Great, insightful comments at the start of this podcast. Rest assured we appreciate your style and wouldn’t change a thing! Keep up the stellar work on this podcast. Your work is appreciated by this audience, which I’m sure is chock full of intelligent motorcyclists!

  2. Random comments from a V4 fan:
    – the current VMax V4 makes 174RWHP!!!! Why can’t they put that motor into an actual rideable chassis?
    – NR750 (RC40) was an engineering exercise that proved the breathing capacity of a V8 could be gotten in a V4-sized package. The HP and torque curves were nicely flat and the motor redlined at 14,000RPM, which was stupendous back then. It was so aerodynamically efficient that it would run 170mph with just 130HP, and was by all accounts an incredible handler
    – one of the most fun cruisers you can ride is the ’88 Honda Magna V45. It’s very smooth and just a lovely bike to ride (as long as you don’t push it around corners – it drags everything if you think about a lean)
    – the VFR1200X is one of the worst examples of the lost Honda we’ve seen in the past decade – horrible tank range, crud suspension, neutered power, hazy mission

      1. The one I posted has been sitting since the early 1970s when its builder destroyed the transmission during a wheelie. It now belongs to a friend of mine, the guy who originally pulled my racing 96 out of a farmer’s field. He’s offered me first dibs if he ever decides to sell it….

      1. When I heard you guys say that, I was all “no way that’s true”. My buddy had an RZ500, and while I loved riding it, I felt pretty superior about my faster and weirder two-crankshaft Suzuki RG500. I had no idea the RZ500 was a similar setup. Now I miss that era of smokers more than ever…

        1. Twin cranks is pretty much the only way you can do a 2-stroke V-4, because otherwise you have a common crankcase volume, which would make your intake/transfer pressures go all wonky.

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