Doug dropped me a note to take a look at the engine patent application from Horex for their offset cylinder inline engines. Their VR6 engine has two staggered rows of 3 cylinders in a narrow 15 degree V configuration with triple overhead cams. Nice engine. They first describe the advantages of compact size for a V-inline configuration and discuss such things as an inline 5 or 6 cylinder arrangement, but then continue with a more interesting section:
A V-inline cylinder bank will be referred to below as the sum of two V-inline cylinder rows in a common cylinder housing. A V-inline motor thus consists of a cylinder bank with two cylinder rows arranged offset. The result of a V shaped coupling of two V-inline cylinder banks, all of which act on one crankshaft, is a W arrangement. A four, six, eight, ten or twelve cylinder engine can thus be built so compactly that it is suitable for mounting in a motor cycle. A W motor thus consists of the coupling of two V-inline cylinder banks with two respective rows of cylinders, that is to say four in all.
One crankshaft for anything from 4 to 12 cylinders in a W configuration, still compact enough to be installed in a motorcycle.
Well, that would certainly set the motorcycle world buzzing, someone coming out with a multi cylinder “W” engine, especially if it was an 8, 10 or 12 cylinder, imagine the sound of a W12 as you wind the throttle, smiles all around. Even a W4 or W6 would be neat, lots of cylinders and displacement in a very small package.
Of course, Horex still has to get their VR6 on the road before taking the next leap into something even more exotic and the chances for a “W” appearing anytime soon are slim, but it’s nice to know they’re thinking about it.
Thanks for the tip, Doug!