How Does a Motorcycle Engine Work?

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Whether you’ve been riding the road for years or are just dreaming of having your own bike one day, understanding how a motorcycle engine works is essential for you to understand the proper care and maintenance of your vehicle. This knowledge is also essential for undertaking any minor repairs or fixes. To learn more about how motorcycle engines work, take a look at the information below.

The Parts of a Motorcycle Engine

You should know the different parts of the engine. First of all, there are two different engine types. The first type is the 2-stroke engine. The 2-stroke motorcycle engine is made of a piston, piston rings, crank, intake port, and exhaust port. Spark plug and engine cylinder. The other type of engine is the 4-stroke engine, which has the same parts, in addition to intake valves, exhaust valves, timing chain, camshafts, stems, and lobes.

How the 2-Stroke Engine Works

In the 2-stroke motorcycle engine, fuel and air are introduced through the intake port. The piston pumps up and down and compresses the fuel and air, and then the spark plug ignites. This leads to combustion, which gives energy to the pistons to pump and turn the crank, shoving exhaust out of the exhaust port. This procedure is continually repeated at a very high speed, and this is what makes your motorcycle run.

How the 4-Stroke Engine Works

Air and fuel enter through the intake port, the spark plug ignites, and combustion occurs. With this type of engine, however, the combustion activates a crank, which in turn pulls the timing chain, which activates the camshafts. The first camshaft rotates a lobe that puts pressure on a stem, allowing the exhaust to exit through the exhaust pipe. As the motion continues, the other camshaft puts pressure on the lobe that shoves against the intake valve, allowing more fuel to enter the engine, so that the entire process can continue.


Although most motorcycle engines have two cylinders, they can have anywhere from one to six cylinders. The more cylinders there are, the greater the engine power, because the cycles of intake, combustion, and expulsion of gas can happen at a much faster pace, leading to greater power and greater speed. For this reason, four cylinder engines are becoming increasingly popular.

The most common motorcycle engine types include the V-twin engine design, the Single Cylinder, the Transverse engine, the Flat Twin, the Three Cylinder, the Flat Four, the V Four, the Flat Four Inline, the Inline Four and the Square Four. Anything engine with more than four cylinders is adapted to a special purpose, like high-speed racing, and these engines often aren’t commercially available.