The V-twin engine has a long and noble history in motorcycling as it was adopted early on by manufacturers like Harley and Indian because it allowed two cylinders to be bolted into the narrow, bicycle-type frames of the early 1900s.
That same advantage of a narrow engine holds true today, and V-twins come in a variety of degrees, from 90 degree Ducatis to 45 degree Harleys.
Harley’s use of the V-twin has become iconic for cruisers, so most appear in those more laid-back bikes where high torque from low revs is desirable.
A 90 degree V-twin is inherently well-balanced which means it doesn’t need complex balancing shafts and feels smooth, while some other degree designs are more “throbby”.
With power and torque produced lower in the rev range, they don’t need to be revved so hard and have more widely-spaced gear ratios than fours. V-twins are also light and simple.
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