Motorcycle Engine - Single Cylinder VS Double Cylinder Engine

Published On 12-Dec-2017 08:29am , By Saleh

A motorcycle engine is a complex machine that produces power & torque to move the vehicle (Source). Typically the motorcycle engine is internal combustion type engine where the power production activities performed inside a metal cylinder.

Accordingly modern motorcycles are designed with single to multiple cylinder engines. Therefore concentrating on this term here we are with Motorcycle Engine – Single Cylinder VS Double Cylinder Engine. Let’s head in.

Motorcycle Engine

Motorcycle Engine – The Internal Combustion Engine

The motorcycle engine generally is an ignition spark plug ignited internal combustion engine. Of-course there are few more types of motorcycle which are driven by electric motor or in rare case with diesel engines. But internal combustion gasoline engines are standard for modern motorcycles.

An internal combustion engine comes with at least a vacuum space therefore a cylinder where the combustion process runs (Source). Inside the cylinder the compressed air-fuel mixture ignites with electric spark and produces power though the internal explosion. As this process done internally inside the engine cylinder hence such engine called internal combustion engine.

An internal combustion engine can be two-stroke, four stroke type or in rare case it can be six-stroke type also. Moreover these types of engine very commonly may contain single to multiple cylinders. Considering number of cylinders the engine can be mentioned as single cylinder engine, double cylinder engine or other.


Motorcycle Engine – Single Cylinder Engine

A single cylinder motorcycle engine is mostly common in modern motorcycles. This type of engine is very light weighted, cost effective and simple in construction. Resulting single cylinder motorcycle engine is so popular worldwide.

The single cylinder engine is very frequent in entry level motorcycles. Hence in such engines the combustion process done within a single piece of cylinder block. So all the mechanism and activities are centered and directly related with that single cylinder activity and efficiency.

Therefore considering this type of engine construction and activity it has both some advantages and disadvantages. So lets take a look on those in bullet.

Advantages of Single Cylinder Motorcycle Engine

  • Single cylinder engine is comparatively smaller in size & lighter in weight. It takes very few spaces within the frame hence the motorcycle dimension reduces significantly.
  • This type of motorcycle engine construction is comparatively simple and much cost effective.
  • Maintenance of single cylinder motorcycle engine also very easy and simple.
  • Cooling system of single cylinder engine is quite easier then the multiple cylinder engine.
  • Single cylinder engine comparatively responds crisp, sharp and fast according to throttle.
  • Single cylinder engine is more suitable for light weight and low cost motorcycles. Therefore commuter & light weighted sports bikes are made with single cylinder engines.

Disadvantages of Single Cylinder Motorcycle Engine

  • Single cylinder engines are less durable than the double cylinder engine.
  • Construction of single cylinder engine is easier but it needs stronger parts than the double cylinder engine like the heavier crankshaft, connecting rod, piston etc. Those parts literary tackle more stress and pressure of engine stroke through single connecting rod.
  • Single cylinder engine produces vibration. To reduce the vibration and keeping that in control extra parts like balance shaft is needed.
  • This type of engine is less efficient of producing power than the double cylinder engine.
  • The engine braking and other safety feature is very lean in this type of engine.
  • High performance bigger displacement motorcycle cannot be developed by single cylinder engine.


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Motorcycle Engine – Double Cylinder Engine

Coming to the double cylinder engine that also much popular as motorcycle engine. The double cylinder engine has quite large history of making some legendary bikes. The double cylinder engine constructed with the two cylinders that can be in same engine block or in different block.

In double cylinder motorcycle engine both the cylinder performs separate combustion process. But the pistons of both cylinder stay connected with same crankshaft and delivers the power to the same. Hence it’s significantly efficient of producing and delivering the power as there is very less power delivery gap to rotate the crankshaft than the single cylinder engine.

According to performance double cylinder engine is much efficient of producing and delivering the power. In addition it’s also much faster and sharper near like the single cylinder engine. For these special characteristics the light weighted but durable performance bikes are developed with double cylinder engines. Hence the legendary V-Twin, Parallel Twin, Flat-Twin engines are so popular in the motorcycle world.

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Advantages of Double Cylinder Motorcycle Engine

  • Double cylinder engines quite have both the good qualities of single cylinder and multiple cylinder engines.
  • It’s much more durable and efficient than the single cylinder engine.
  • This type of engine is also much crisp, fast responding and sharp in character like the single cylinder engine.
  • The engine has much less vibration than the single cylinder engine. Moreover offset finish of cylinder and crankshaft allows smoother engine operation in double cylinder engines.
  • To keep the crankshaft rotation précised it doesn’t need heavy balance shaft like the single cylinder engine.
  • The features like traction control, engine braking etc. is much more efficient in double cylinder motorcycle engines.

Disadvantages of Double Cylinder Motorcycle Engine

  • Double cylinder engine is little heavier than the single cylinder engine and its takes much more space.
  • Its construction is not so complex like the multiple cylinder engine but comparatively complex than the single cylinder one.
  • These engines are not high maintenance engine but its maintenance is little complex.
  • The electricals are quite complex in double cylinder engine motorcycles and it sensitive also.
  • Liquid cooling system is the best solution for double cylinder engine but air cooling is possible though it’s not the best solution.
  • This type of engine is little less fuel efficient than the single cylinder engine. But that is really not so significant in modern designed double cylinder engines.
  • Double cylinder engines are heavier than the single cylinder engine motorcycle. Hence for commuters and hardcore off road bikes this type of engine is not best option.


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So readers you can see both the single cylinder and double cylinder motorcycle engine characteristics. Both the type of engine is popular worldwide for manufacturing the motorcycles. But considering everything I would like to get single cylinder engine on my dirt bike and double cylinder engine on my ADV.

Therefore if you consider me the option for a racing or a heavy weighted cruiser then I will like to have an inline four cylinder engine motorcycle for my luxury rides. In such case I’ll definitely choose the Yamaha V-Max!

So riders have fun & keep your connection with us through our website, facebook page and the discussion group. And don’t forget to subscribe us in YouTube. Therefore thanks for you company with our Motorcycle Engine – Single Cylinder VS Double Cylinder Engine. Thank you all. For further updates keep visiting our website and subscribe to our BikeBD Youtube channel, and also eye on our BikeBD Facebook Fanpage. See you soon with the latest discussion, review & news.

FAQ - Frequently Ask Question:

1. What is engine oil used for?

Ans- Motor oil is used for the lubrication of internal combustion engines. The main function of motor oil is to reduce friction and wear on moving parts and to clean the engine from sludge

2. What are the main 5 functions of engine oil?

Ans- The main 5 functions are-

  • Engine oil inhibits rust & corrosion- Engine oils consist of rust & corrosion inhibitors that provide protection against regular wear & tear
  • Engine oil helps in reducing friction
  • Engine oils help in removing impurities
  • Engine oil acts as a coolant
  • Engine oil acts as a gap filler

3. What is the main function of engine?

Ans- The engine is the vehicle's main source of power. The engine uses fuel and burns it to produce mechanical power. The heat produced by the combustion is used to create pressure which is then used to drive a mechanical device. 

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Published by Saleh