You know what’s awesome? Motorcycle engines. Seriously, they’re incredible works of engineering designed to be sold at almost unconscionably low prices. People complain that real engineering is going away and being replaced by software, but those people aren’t looking at motorcycles.
Of course, not all motorcycle engines are created equal, and among them, the lowly parallel twin (meaning two cylinders side-by-side or side-by-each for our Canadian brothers and sisters) tends to get the least amount of respect. In the past, most parallel twins were snoozers, but not anymore, and the perfect example of that is Honda’s new Hornet engine concept, which the big H announced on Friday, reported on by RideApart.
Honda’s Hornet “concept” is a 755cc mill with a single cam actuating eight valves for maximum breathing and minimum rotating weight. The Hornet also packs a 270-degree crank, which, for the uninitiated, means it doesn’t sound boring and lame, like the bog-standard 360-degree crank, which has the pistons rising and falling together. It sounds a little more rough, like a V-twin.
“To get the kind of performance and lightweight handling we wanted, we knew we had to develop an entirely new short-stroke twin engine with a 270-degree crankshaft,” said Fuyuki Hosokawa, deputy director of major projects for Honda Motorcycles, in a statement. “This would not only deliver that peak power, but also the sporty low-end torque, ideal for driving in urban environments and coming out of corners on the highway. For us, the Hornet has always been the epitome of the streetfighter concept and this new Hornet concept proudly continues this tradition.”
The best part is that Honda claims this new engine concept will produce a very robust 92 hp at 9,500 rpm and 55.3 lb-ft at 7,250 rpm. For comparison’s sake, the current Honda 745cc parallel twin makes just 58 hp and 51 lb-ft.
Honda published a video with some riding footage, and if the engine sound there is indicative of what we can expect from a production Hornet engine, then there’s plenty to be excited about. Honda hasn’t confirmed whether or not it’ll be elaborating on this Hornet concept at the upcoming EICMA motorcycle show in Italy, but we’d be surprised if it didn’t.