In a recent patent filing, Suzuki decided it would take the standard motorcycle engine placement and flip it on end. The company filed a patent for a bike with an engine that’s essentially flipped around with the cylinder heads of what appears to be a single-cylinder engine positioned almost horizontally and placed right up by the front fork.
According to Cycle World, the design can be used on single or inline motorcycle engines. The cylinders fit between the main frame rails and essentially run parallel with them. That puts the transmission low and the crankcase nearer to the rear of the motorcycle.
Suzuki played around with the orientation and placement of the engine so it could shorten the wheelbase and add a longer swingarm. Cycle World notes this should reduce the change in the bike’s geometry when the suspension flexes.
The change also shifts the bike’s center of gravity closer to the center of the bike. It’s the same principle behind the Nembo 32 motorcycle we reported on late last month. However, Suzuki’s placement of the engine differs from the Nembo 32. With that said, the principles behind flipping the engine around are quite similar.
When you reposition the engine like this, other components of the bike must be moved as well. The airbox, fuel tank, and battery will all need to find new homes. Judging by the patent application drawings, they wouldn’t have to move too much, though. Suzuki should be able to shift them around with little issue.
There’s no word yet if or when Suzuki will use this on a production bike. I would assume this design is still a ways off, but it’s worth it to keep an eye out for future Suzuki’s with oddly placed engines.