We need motorcycle crate engines. For quite a while now, if you got the urge to rebuild a car, all you had to do is pick up a catalog from any one of a lot of companies, choose the engine you want, displacement, horsepower, mild or wild and with the stroke of a check have a completely rebuilt, modified and guaranteed engine sitting in your driveway a few days later. Even the manufacturers themselves will sell you one, Ford, Chevy, Chrysler and all of the import guys, too. Why not motorcycles?
If you have an old Harley or you’re building a chopper, you probably can do that. S&S, who I mentioned the other day, can sell you something that should bolt right in and Harley has their engine program where they rebuild your engine or sell you a whole new one. I like that. But who else does it? If you have a Honda, Kawasaki or Ducati or whatever, you’re out of luck.
The problem is probably because Harley has long production runs before changing engine configurations and most other manufacturers change almost every year. What rebuilder could keep up? If you’re racing, race shops will sell you an engine but if you’re rebuilding your own bike for street use, you’ve got a problem. Some bikes do make good candidates for crate engine possibilities, how about the Vmax? That thing hasn’t changed since 1985 and the engine is a beast. Frame technology has come so far, if someone built a current technology frame that would accept the Vmax engine, guys would line up for it. I’ve owned two Vmax’s and I would have jumped at the chance to put something like that together. Chain drive, blower, current rear tire and wheel, … oh baby. There’s a French company that does Vmax mods but over here we’re stuck.
I bet there are a lot more engines that would lend themselves to this, again, something that hasn’t changed too much over the years so there would be enough of them around to rebuild. Then you get a frame builder to come up with something sporty instead of the chopper frames you can buy all over. Hmm…, imagine the possibilities. Like I said, car guys can build a complete 32 Ford from parts in a catalog with modern running gear and a killer engine. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could build bikes that way?