Swedish super-single surprise: NCCR turn half a Buell V-twin into race engine

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Well before the 916, in 1992, Ducati created a racebike called the ‘Supermono’. Essentially an 888 with the rear cylinder removed the Supermono was an effective race bike that became the stuff of legend.

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Not only did it inspire elements of the 916’s design but it was also engineered, in part, by a young man called Claudio Domenicali, who stayed around long enough to become the current CEO. Now Swedish bike builders NCCR have taken the same idea to build a new engine which they think could be at home both on the track and in an adventure bike.

The genius of the engine’s design is taking an existing V-twin motor and removing the rear cylinder but not just blanking it off. Instead on both the original Supermono and the new NCCR ‘SuperSingle’ the empty cylinder holds a pivoting lever that is attached to the rear cylinder conrod.

By offering a reciprocating mass that runs with the front cylinder, these designs run much smoother and without the natural imbalance of a single cylinder. In the Supermono, the smoothness meant Ducati could rev the little 549cc single to over 10,000rpm, generating 73bhp.

NCCR SuperSingle air intake

For the SuperSingle, NCCR have used the rear cylinder from a Rotax Helicon engine, which will be familiar to most people as the engine from a Buell 1125 and the later EBR 1190.

Depending on the guise, that delivers a single with a capacity ranging from 562-595cc, with options for a 660cc+ big-bore race kit. The firm expect a reliable base power output of 68bhp, which is plenty when the whole bike is likely to weigh around 165kg.

NCCR say that with three litres of oil and a clutch/gearbox designed for double the power, it will make a very reliable engine. This will also be helped by the fact that removing one cylinder gives plenty of room within the frame to put things like radiators out of harm’s way.

“We are quite far with our constructions and the prototype components are now going into the manufacturing,” says Jens Krüper, co-founder of NCCR.

Ducati Supermono

“We expect to have the first engine on our dyno before Christmas and then we will see where we come out. In race trim, like for a Sound of Singles racer, we need 90bhp, which we will get using a big-bore cylinder that we are already developing for our EBR tuning program.

“The SuperSingle concept gives us some great opportunities, like positioning the working cylinder front or rear, depending on which weight distribution you are looking for.”

NCCR say the plan is to build an adventure bike demonstrator to display the engine concept alongside their Docol R8 steel chassis. The plan is to then offer the bikes for people to build up, or, where regulations allow, offer complete bikes.