What maybe agonizing combustion noise to one’s ear, that maybe the sweetest symphony to a motorcycle lover.
You could be one of those people who would buy or not-buy a motorcycle just for the sheer sound of its engine. It maybe the sweet sound of V-twin or the roar of a sports bike liquid-cooled engine, each one has a unique note depending upon the mechanical symphony created by pistons, valve trains, air intakes and exhaust.
Sticking to the subject, we will see only the production bikes, as most racing motorcycles are not production models.
When we talk motorcycle, the first thing that comes to most of our heads is the Yamaha. The Japanese motorcycles are indeed the best sounding motorcycles on road. You could make out a Yamaha R1 cruising your street just by the sound of the famous ‘vroom-vroom’. The Yamaha R1 has inline-four cylinder liquid-cooled engine. This 1000cc bikes is simply sensational. It has a cross-plane crankshaft, with its crank pins set at 90 degree and has irregular firing intervals. This technology was directly adopted from Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP bike, the YZR-M1. At standstill, the motor spins up like a two-stroke and on the move, the R1’s ability to accelerate, no matter where you are in the rev is astonishing.
For all the sports bike design and the massive 1200cc V-twin, Ducati 1198 has sweet sound of Italian engineering. Though not the loudest, but Ducati is definitely known for its smooth firing and ability to quietly cruise through the streets without much chaos. Nevertheless, the Ducati starts with a fury of mechanical clamor and is noticeably more vibrating than other bikes. Coming from its racing history, the V-twin delivers a chang-chang rattle of its racing-style dry clutch.
Another Italian motorcycle with its subtle sporty appearance, often misunderstood as a modified street bike is the Aprilia RSV4. This mega beast has the most ferocious sound of all. The factory RSV4 houses a 1000cc V4 engine. This is brutal sound of terror. It is no ‘vroom-vroom’ or ‘chang-chang’, imagine meteors falling from sky. Its got the vibration that will last for weeks on your rear.
Harley-Davidson revolutionized motorcycling with its V-twins. The HOG riders in Texas could blindfolded-ly identify the sound of the Harley V-twin from any other motorcycle. Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark the sound of its crankpin engines but was opposed by litigations from competing manufacturers. This iconic ‘potato potato’ sound will forever be linked to the Harley-Davidson, irrespective of what any other cruiser imitates.