All engine specifications reflect a bore and stroke number.


Aprilia Tuono V4 R


Four stroke, longitudinal 65° V four , DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

998.9 cc / 60.96 cu in

Bore x Stroke 78 x 52.3 mm Compression Ratio 13.0:1

There are characteristics of an engine that are reflected in the bore x stroke values.


What exactly is bore x stroke?

How do bore x stroke values effect efficiency in an engine?

Why is it so important for engine manufacturers to reflect bore x stroke numbers in their promotion of a vehicle?

Is there something about bore x stroke values that are important to consumers?

2 Answers 2


Bore is the diameter of each cylinder and stroke is the length that it travels when moving from bottom position to the top position. Thus if the engine has 1 cylinder with bore x stroke of 78 x 52.3 mm it's total displacement will be:
Displacement formula
where π = 3.1416... and the bore and stroke must be in cm, thus divide them by 10 to get the right dimension. For your example it will be:
Displacement example

Engines with the bore bigger than stroke (like your example) are called oversquare engines, with the bore smaller than stroke are called undersquare engines and exactly equal are called square engines.
Oversquare engines allow bigger or multiple valves in the head and have less loss to friction due to the shorter stroke, but are only efficient at higher revs thus are more typical in high performance engines, like in your example for a sport bike. Bigger engines also have a larger bore even in trucks to limit the length of the stroke, thus limiting losses of the pistons rubbing the rings.
Undersquare engines allow for a better torque in low revolutions where the longer stroke will not affect performance so much but the fuel burn will be more efficient due to the lower volume when the air/fuel mixture is compressed, leading also to lower fuel consumption. Diesel engines also are massively undersquare engines (typically around 3:1 ratio) since those engines have a very high compression ratio compared to gas engines (around 22:1 ratio).
A long time ago the tax on cars in England was applied proportional to the bore size, thus even high performance cars like Jaguars had unusual long strokes to allow a high displacement while still paying lower taxes.

IMHO many other factors will dictate the performance and fuel consumption of the engine, thus only looking at the bore x stroke ratio is meaningless, yet by rule of thumb you can say that big bore gives you higher performance at high revs and long stroke gives you lower fuel consumption at everyday usage.

  • 2
    Thanks, I'm going to user your answer for a tag-wiki. Which was my intent. Nice and TY Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 7:39
  • 1
    @DucatiKiller Thanks you liked and it was useful for you! Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:35
  • 1
    @DucatiKiller If you need more detailed information about the subject at Wikipedia there is a excellent article about this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke_ratio Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:39

Stroke is length of stroke and bore is diameter. Yes it matters in linear speed of cylinder. Big block engines will go with really big bore as you get to a limit on stroke.

So important? It is just a facts about the engine.

  • Lacks description. Tell me like I'm 5. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 4:46
  • You are driving at 5? What part of diameter confuses you?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 4:50
  • Just letting you know why I down voted. You can behave that way when I'm doing you a favor and trying to help you in the site. You should thank Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 4:55
  • I am answering your question and you are doing me a favor? Again - what part of diameter confuses you? Or is that not taught until the second grade?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 5:00
  • 1
    Sheez, and here I thought trolls only existed on usenet.
    – BillDOe
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 6:13

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