I'm with you on the pneumatic valves, but I think they'll need to reduce the piston size to get the high revs that make pneumatic valves worth the trouble. Smaller pistons mean more cylinders, so my nickel (note I'm raising the bets here) goes on a V4...
I love inline 6 (not V-6) engines and inspite of the fact that they are very long, I can't stop craving for a motorcycle with one. I keep poring over pictures of the Benellie Sei, the Honda CBX, and the Kawasaki Z1300. Maybe I should really look into buying a Z1300 or a CBX. I found a Benelli 900 Sei that was sitting in a museum in New Zealand with less than 100 miles on it. The museum was liquidating and they wanted US$15k for it. I didn't have the money then. Oh woe is me.....
Anyway, Ducati will never go with a straight six simple because it would be an aerodynamic disaster. They could do a V6 but I am pretty sure they won't. A V-8 ducati would be really cool, and so would a V-10. If they go racing with a V8 or a V10 and make a street version, I'm buying. Overall though, an 8 is much more likely than a 10. a 5 cyl wide engine is narrower than a straight 6 but its still pretty wide.
But back to my inline six fantasies, I start to think that while this sort of engine is not the optimal choice for lap times and aerodynamics and thus not suited to hard core sportbikes, on a naked bike ( like the ZRX or the FZ1), where there is space for considerations of character and alternative thinking, methinks a large capacity inline 6 would make for a very charismatic motorcycle.
I'm with you on the pneumatic valves - I think a twin with desmodronics, designed without roadgoing comprimises - could be very competitive, but I'd bank on a triple at the same weight being even better - did anyone say Aprilia???
I'd put my money on a V4, two 998's with a common crankcase would be pretty cool, plus they have a lot of the engineering and tooling developed already so there'd be at least a semblence of cost control.
I rule out the V-4. They need something that will represent them uniquely in the marketplace and Honda with its RC30 and 45 V4s would be a been there done that deal. I think they will go with established forms like triples, inline 4s, V4s if that would bring them victory but something else won't.
Do yourself a favor and get a CBX. What a fun, fun bike. And you can still roll into a Honda dealer and have them work on it for a reasonable sum. Who's going to work on your Benelli? The Benelli dealer? WHAT Benelli dealer? Get a CBX- the exotic six-cylinder bike you can ride every day. A clean 1979 modelis about $4K- save $11,000 off the price of that slow-ass, unreliable Benelli!
...according to Motorcyclist magazine. Bore and stroke is - get this - 124mm X 48mm, extreme even by formula 1 standards! The thing will rev to 18,000rpm. If nothing else, it will be very interesting to listen to!
If Ducati can get competitive horsepower from the short stroke L-twin, they may have the most rideable package. Look at what their bike is doing now with lots more weight and less power. Now take away 40lbs and add 20-30 usable horses. Instead of matching or behing right behind current Motogp lap times, they will put them to shame. No matter what, I think Ducati has a chance if Bayliss get's the ride.
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