Are You a Motorcycle Engine Expert?


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About This Quiz

Motorcycle fans can sit and look at motorcycle engines all day long. But do they really know how all those parts work? We're going to get down and dirty in this motorcycle​ engine quiz.

Motorcycle engines tend to be ______ ?

Motorcycle engines tend to be either two-stroke or four-stroke. Some bikes employ Wankels or electric engines, as well.

Non-electric motorcycle engines are ______ engines.

Non-electric motorcycle engines are internal combustion engines. They follow the same technical specifications as automotive engines.

A motorcycle engine drives the ____ wheels.

Almost always, a motorcycle engine drives the rear wheel. Power is sent to the driven wheel by shaft, chain or belt.

The motorcycle gearbox has up to ____ ratios.

A motorcycle engine has a gearbox with up to 6 ratios. You'll generally only find reverse gear in heavy tourers or sidecar bikes.

Gear change on motorcycles is by use of what?

You change the gears on the motorcycle using a foot pedal and manual clutch. The earliest motorcycles employed hand levers for changing gears.

Do some motorcycles have automatic gearboxes?

Some motorcycles do have automatic or semi-automatic gearboxes, but these are not as common. Gearheads like to do things for themselves.

The most common motorcycles in the U.S. have ____ engines.

V-twin engines have been common since the 1920s. Their capacities are generally 850 cc or more.

The first motorcycles were powered by ____ engines.

The first motorcycles were powered by steam engines. The earliest example of this is probably the Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede of 1867.

The American ______ was a popular steam engine.

After the French model, the American Roper became the next most popular steam engine. It was introduced in 1869 and was sold throughout the early 20th century. The inventor, Sylvester Roper, apparently died of a heart attack while riding his invention.

Where is the motorcycle's engine located?

Nearly all modern motorcycles have the engine in the center of the frame. This became standard between 1900 and 1910.

The Daimler Reitwagen is credited as the world's _____ motorcycle.

The Daimler Reitwagen is considered the world's first motorcycle. It used the Otto cycle gasoline internal combustion engine.

Do some motorcycles have electric engines?

As clean energy becomes more popular, we're seeing more electric engines on motorcycles. These are registered as motorcycles or scooters.

Diesel motorcycles are popular in _____ ?

Diesel motorcycles are great in terms of fuel economy and military logistics. The USMC has ordered new diesel bikes, known as M1030 M1s.

Most modern motorcycle engines are ____ cooled.

Most motorcycle engines on the road today are air-cooled. They also use small displacement.

The majority of bikes have how many cylinders?

The majority of bikes have single-cylinder engines, both two-stroke and four-stroke. These are simple, affordable engines that are popular in the U.S.

Among wealthier riders, you find ____ displacements.

In wealthier parts of the world, including the U.S. and parts of Europe and Asia, you see more large displacements and multiple cylinders. In general, you see more variety in the kinds of engines on the road.

Almost all production engines have _____ engines.

Almost all production motorcycles have gasoline-driven engines. Gone are the days of steam engines!

Due to stricter emissions laws, these days there are fewer ________ engines on the road.

Due to strict emission laws, there are fewer two-stroke engines on the road each year. Motorheads are taking a hit for the environment.

Are rotary engines common?

Rotary engines have never fully caught on for motorcycles. The Wankel rotary bikes are currently not in production.

Motorcycle engines can be cooled by which of these?

Motorcycle engines can be cooled by all of the above. That being said, today's motorcycles are predominantly cooled by air.

When engines are mounted transversely, the crankshaft is ______ to the frame.

When engines are mounted transversely, the crankshaft is perpendicular to the frame. Transversely mounted engines are suited to have belt or chain final-drive.

When engines are mounted longitudinally, the crankshaft is ______ to the frame.

When engines are mounted longitudinally, the crankshaft is parallel to the frame. Longitudinally​ mounted engines are suited for shaft final-drive.

Which has more moving parts?

Two-stroke engines have fewer moving parts than four-stroke engines. They also produce twice the number of power strokes per revolution.

Which is more powerful for its mass?

Two-stroke engines are more powerful for their mass. They offer stronger acceleration, but similar top speeds.

Which has a shorter life?

Unfortunately, two-stroke engines have a shorter life. This is due to poorwe piston lubrication from the fuel-oil mix than four-stroke engines.

Which has a wider power band?

Four-stroke engines are associated with a wider power band, This makes them somewhat gentler in terms of power delivery.

Which has better fuel economy?

Four-stroke engines have better fuel economy. This is because they have more complete combustion of the intake charge.

What is the hottest part of the engine?

The hottest parts of the motorcycle engine are the cylinder heads. They require adequate cooling, using air, oil or liquid.

Some BMWs are known as ______ ?

Some BMWs are known as airheads, thanks to the cylinder-head type. Airheads are air-cooled flat-twin engines.

Some Harley-Davidsons have _____ engines.

The panhead engine is associated with Harley-Davidson. It gets its name from the distinct shape of the rocker covers.

BMWs sometimes have _______ engines.

Another engine type associated with BMWs is the oilhead engine. These are different from airheads because of their oil-cooling.

OHV stands for what?

Overhead valve, or OHV, engines have valves that are operated by pushrods. Similarly, overhead camshaft engines have overhead camshafts.

Originally, engines and gearboxes were _______.

Originally, engines and gearboxes were separate. The gearbox was driven by a primary chain. Later designs combined the two.

Today's motorcycles use ____ oil for the engine and gearbox.

In the motorcycles of today, the same oil is circulated through the engine and the gearbox. In earlier models, different oil was used for each.

What was the most common British engine until the 1970s?

It all began with Edward Turner's 1937 Triumph Speed Twin. This parallel twin engine was the most common type for British motorcycles until the mid-1970s​.

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