This isn't really on-topic for "motor vehicle repair", but I figure it's kinda close.

A few months ago, I bought a 1983 Honda Nighthawk 550, which has a straight-four engine. A friend of mine was looking at motorcycles also, but ended up buying a gently used 1800cc V-twin. I went to the dealership with him and asked what size he should look for to compare to mine, and the guy said mine would compare to a 1100 V-twin.

I'm curious because he was a commissioned salesperson and may have been trying to upsell my friend, or he could have been right. My dad also rides and has a Kawasaki KZ900, and sitting on it, it feels a LOT bigger than mine.

Thanks guys!

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, twins will generate less power than an inline 4 with the same engine capacity. This is especially true for cruiser type engines (as opposed to a short-stroke twin like in a ducati). Simply put, twins tend to have a long stroke which gives them strong low-down torque but make it harder for them to rev (power = torque x rpm). Further to this, cruisers weight a lot - I was vaguely interested in a HD XR1200 until I read that the thing weights 250kg, that's a good 50~80kg heavier than a standard litre bike, let alone a sports bike.

There is not going to be a direct comparison. A 600 sports bike will outrun and out manourver a 1800cc cruiser but the guy on the cruiser wont care - that's not why he bought his bike.

I used to own a Kawasaki ZR750 - equivalent to a Honda Nighthawk 750. Even when it ran on three cylinders, it was a great bike. A 550 should have enough power to have fun - I really used to enjoy riding my wife's 250 since you actually had to plan your gear changes to keep the revs up.

  • Okay, cool. That's exactly what I was guessing. Otherwise, we'd see diesel engines in motorcycles! What it really comes down to is my bike can do 75mph and his bike can do 75mph, and we really only got them for commuting / road trips, not racing or anything like that.
    – wjl
    Jun 20, 2011 at 4:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .