There’s a rumor going around that Harley-Davidson is working on a water-cooled, four cylinder, v-twin motor with a displacement somewhere between 1,300cc and 1,600cc. The good, the bad, and the ugly after the jump.


Supposedly, the heads of the motor are set at 72º, which is halfway between the bulkier but smoother running 90º setup, and the more traditional 45º setup used on the current Harley Twin Cam and Evo engines. What is especially interesting about this rumor is that each crankshaft throw is to be split 18oº either side of the throw centerline, so that the resulting piston configuration emulates a 90º engine. This arrangement could be in an effort to retain the “Harley” sound of the bike, which the company once tried to trademark.

It seems hard to imagine  how this rumor could be true if the final application of the motor is to be on a Harley-Davidson cruiser. A complete departure from an air-cooled, v-twin motor is sure to sour the taste with many die hard Harley riders. However, we can perhaps see this application in a “sportier” cruiser model, similar to the V-Rod, that is aimed to extend Harley’s product line beyond its current loyal fan base. This notion is something the company should seriously consider doing, but so far has had a less than stellar time achieving with the VRSC model line. The brand extension is more palatable, but would still be a big step for the Milwaukee based manufacturer, who had an up-hill battle when simply proposing the Porsche design V-Rod motor.

What we’re more inclined to believe is that the motor could be destined for a different mark under Harley’s control, either Buell or a new brand of motorcycle not yet disclosed. Time will tell both if this rumor should pane out to be truth, and what the final details are. 

Source: Moto123

  • Alex

    The engine definitely doesn’t jibe with anything currently under the HD umbrella. Though it sounds like an engine that would be well suited to a bike that would compete against the Moto Guzzi Griso, but i’m not sure who would build it.

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  • capester

    It’s about time Harley thought about upgrading the v twin slug.V-Rod was a step in the right direction. A v-4 would bring them more in line to the 21 century in power and looks.

  • John

    Bring them into the 21st Century in power and looks? Are you outta your frickin mind? My V-Twin Bagger has more than enough power with over 100hp & 100 ft lb of torque. As far as looks go, they don’t need to change that either. You guys must be in diapers and like plastic. Leave our baggers alone!

  • Tom

    I have always liked the feeling of power from a motorcycle when you pin the throttle open on a long straightway. It’s hard to duplicate that in a car. I would always like to have more power, even through I only use it every once in a while. That’s the main reason I ride. I’m a older rider, but I still like to romp down on the throttle every now and then and row thru the gears. A “V” four Harley Cruser…….WOW…….170 ponies…..WOW……I could go for that!!!

    Sign me up!!!

  • g.a.

    This is true.I have seen cad drawings for castings for a harley v 4.

  • lago

    “water-cooled, four cylinder, v-twin”

    A 4 cylinder v-twin? I think someone needs a better editor.

  • dalvir singh

    its good . plz try to set wthe wankel engine with harly’s bike. it will thunder nad rocking.

  • gilbos440rt

    Harley already built a V-4 back in the late 70’s early 80’s and was ready to produce them when AMF pulled out, rumors always been that the engineers from the NOVA Project (the code name for the HD V-4) migrated to the tuning fork company and the V-Max grew out of the HD design. ;)

  • It is necessary for H-D to have new products – no, new and improved products, in its line up. So a V-4 would make sense in the current market. I have 3 older big twins and will always prefer them. But welcome new products & technology. It was good to see H-D build and market the Evo in the mid 80’s, it caught up to the technology of the 60’s. And the Twin Cam has helped it catch up to the technology of the 80’s. It is a fact that other companies have better engineered the V-Twin engine, both import and domestic. There will always be a loyal customer base for the big air cooled twins and I’m among them.
    And to grab customers at an earlier age it would also help the company to reintroduce something along the line of their discontinued 45 cu. in. model, but with their newer engine designs; a lot of the younger riders have no choice but to buy an import for their 1st and 2nd bikes.

  • Daron Oneil

    To me it sounds like a bunch of Buell. Why in the heck would anyone make a rumor like this? Harley has been making it with the traditional V twin forever and forever it will be. Who thinks that the cruise and slightly sporty bike company would be going for an unaffordable performance four. What happened with the XR’s with an extra carb etc. , good seller no more expensive yes. Its not a new concept. Multi cylinder bikes have been around for years. I believe that if a production four cylinder Hog it would already be. This is not the first time this rumor has been out and I am quite sure that it will come around again and again throughout years to come. The ones that are custom made are just two motors slapped together no great feat but a show stopper. Too bulky and heavy to be practical. I myself think that the engines will continue to get bigger and so will the bike, being scaled up to massive sizes. How is that for a new rumor.

  • Branscom

    The Harley Davidson V rod would not have been such a tough sell if they had just left the cooling fins ON the engine.
    The Kawasaki 1500 V twin was liquid cooled and they kept the cooling fins on. No one even thought about the fact it was Liquid cooled .

  • Big D

    I was under the impression that the NOVA project is what was handed over to porschce
    when creating the VROD??

    FYI I have rode all,

    Pan – evo and the only thing I miss having a VRSCDX is the good old sound.
    That is the only thing. The Power out of the 1250 vrod is an amazing machine on its own. the great step in the “future” of how things should come. I do believe they should have an option for the air cooled engine or just a air cooled engine line. Here in California with all the crap we have to deal with on the Air Quality Board. the polution control of the air cooled motors is the problem. unless they redesign them to put out alot less emitions looks like the vrod engine is the future engine.

    My opinion of course.

  • James

    I was in our local Harley shop recently and the salesman asked what he had to do to get me on a Harley. I told him that they needed to build a “double V-rod” 4 cylinder and put it in a touring cruiser chassis with all the bells and whistles. He said that I wasn’t very far off of a future development. I grew up on Honda CB 4 cylinders and I find I need a little more bang for my buck than a V-twin (ANY V-TWIN) can give me. Within the next 5 years I will be dropping big cash on a new bike and it will NOT be a V-twin. I’m not impressed with Yamaha’s failure to fuel inject and upgrade the Royal Star so if no one else buils a bigger 4 banger, I’ll be buying a Triumph Rocket III. I love the look of Harley’s bikes but if they want to continue their supremecy of the American market they need to start looking to please people like me. I want to ride an American made bike, but I refuse to give up performance and longevity for patriotism. Come on Harley, build a bike for ME and I’ll pay whatever it takes.