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Motorcycle Air Cool Engine vs Oil Cool Engine

Suvro Sen
November 18, 2012

The battle between the air cool engine vs oil cool engine has been around for a long time.Is air the best coolant or oil? Air cooled engines cool faster while oil cooled engines perform better. Now the debate is of one long and endless row of arguments and counter arguments.But mostly it depends on the manufacturer who decides what type of  bike models or what type of engines are used.

For Us fans, the question mostly depends on what the makers have done with the bikes we like. An air cooled engine is just a simple engine that uses the bikes speed on to its advantage, flowing air to cool the engines. On the other hand the oil cooled engines use a circumventing system of oil distribution on the engine to keep it cool and working in perfect shape.

For arguments sake now we will discuss the possibilities of the comparison of a air cooled engine and an oil cooled engine.

A bike engine while running creates horse power to turn the engine shaft that in turn spins the chain that draws the bike. Now as any mechanical device while running it creates both sound and heat energy that is essentially a by product of the machinaries running thorough out the bike.

Now in Bangladesh we mostly find indian bikes that are near the mark of 100 to 150 cc. The main component of these bikes are their engines which are cheap and need to be of easy maintenance.

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Air cooled Engines

Air cooled engine bikes are built for releasing the heat that is generated while driving in to the air directly.They do not have a special system of coolant or any special material that acts as an absorber that absorbes the heat in such a way that will take the heat and cool the engine,work as a conductor for the heat. The air cooled bikes have fins that create dragnets that gather more air and dissipate the heat as the bike moves faster. Air cooled engines are easier to manufacture and also pretty easy to maintain are pretty optimal for low capacity bikes where price is a concern as well as where high performance is not an important requirement.

pulser motorcycle in bangladesh
Bajaj Pulser 150

The Problem

Air cooled engines are made for easy maintenance. Thus they cannot take long road journeys and stall easily when running in a long road with a high rpm. The Hotter it gets the more fatigued the metal is and the bike looses its durability. This type of method is a very primitive method and the engine gets heated up pretty easily if it’s is continuously on higher rpm. The performance decreases if the engine becomes hot and running a hot engine may result engine seize as well.
Some Fine air cooled engines include

1. KAWASAKI H1 1969 500 498 cc and 53bhp.
2. Suzuki Gs 1000 Family.

Now On the other hand is the oil cooled engines. The heavy duty king of the roads.That allow the roads to be roamed freely for very very long distances. The Oil cooled engines use a coolant(Oil) to be circumvented thorough the system to carry the heat to a point,generally a cooler(Radiator) where the heat is dispersed and the engine is cooled. Oil Cooling is mostly used in high pressure drill bits,heavy diesel engines and high performance sports bikes.

Oil Cooled Engines

Oil cooled engines are beasts of the road. They endure a lot of pressure and heat from the engines pistons and still put out most of its optimum power. Liquid cooled engines transfer the heat to the rad at the front of the bike, making a long ride or a traffic grid lock more tolerable for the rider. But the main factor that we all ignore is that the engine uses a combination of air and liquid (oil) to control the temperature of the engine. So correctly these types of cooling systems should be called Hybrid Cooling or Air-Oil Cooling Systems. As Oil has a higher boiling point it can be uses to cool the engine more efficiently. And as oil is already used in a bike as a lubricant eg Castrol Evo,Or any other bikes oils,a coolant can be used in a double purpose,that is both as a coolant and a lubricant.

yamaha motorcycle in bangladesh
Yamaha YZF R15 V.2

The Problem

First of all, oil Cooled engines are mostly expensive and have a high maintenance cost.Though this may not be a problem to many the others follow. There is something called fuel to speed ratio that the air cooled engines maintain to a strict notion but the oil cooled engines fail at an alarming rate. Smooth Riding may cost the performance and practicality of the bike. In the scenario of Bangladesh,oil cooled bikes are both rare and unpractical.

So finally to say about the matter of the debate is that the types of engine cooling systems are really different from each other as a black current is differed to a grape. Meaning that there is only the difference in species but they serve the same purpose.

Now if you ask me i would take any of them only from air cool engine vs oil cool engine if they provide value for money and thus need to do what they are paid to do,That is cool the engines. But after all this is a debate and the rest is up to the bikers and the bike fans..

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