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A V-twin engine, is a two cylinder internal combustion engine where the cylinders are arranged in a V configuration.



Crankshaft configuration

Most engine manufacturers use the classic shared crank pin design. Some notable exceptions include the Moto Guzzi 500cc with 120° V angle and 180° crank pin offset that Stanley Woods rode to win the 1935 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy;[1] the 1983 Honda Shadow 750, claimed as being the first V-twin with an offset-dual-pin crankshaft;[2] and the 1987 Suzuki VX 800, 45° V angle with 45° crank pin offset in USA and 75° crank pin offset for the rest of the world.[3]

V angles

Generally, any two-cylinder motorcycle engine with its two cylinders arranged more than 0° and less than 180° apart is referred to as a V-twin. The V-twin engine is not designated by a specific angle, but is often associated with narrow V angles of 42° to 50° as the classic V-twin configuration. Any narrower could cause unwanted vibration, any wider and the chassis would have to be too long.[4]

A 90° twin engine, such as the signature Ducati engine — with the front cylinder approximately horizontal and the rear cylinder approximately vertical — is generally referred to by Ducati as a "L"-twin engine. There is no technical distinction between V-twin and L-Twin engines. These are merely names used by convention.

When comparing common shared crank pin designs, the 90° V angle acts as a counterweight to provide primary balance to the engine, but the firing is uneven. Smaller angles give poorer mechanical balance, but more even firing for a four-stroke (but, even less even firing for a two-stroke).[5]


The terms longitudinal engine and transverse engine are most often used to refer to the crankshaft orientation,[8][9] however, some sources, most prominently Moto Guzzi, use the terminology in the opposite way.

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