What is a Motorcycle DOHC Engine?

Motorcycle DOHC Engine

What is a Motorcycle DOHC Engine? If you’re reading this article as a motorcycle enthusiast (just like us), you’ve probably wondered what a DOHC engine is in a motorcycle.

This question often arises when we want to delve deeper into understanding how our motorcycles work, where it’s located, or simply out of curiosity.

Many of us have pondered this question because there are DOHC, SOHC, VTEC, and other types of engines. These engine types are frequently discussed and featured in various motorcycle models today.

However, in this article, we will focus on the DOHC engine. A DOHC motorcycle engine, short for “Double Overhead Camshaft” in English, is an internal combustion engine that delivers greater power compared to other motorcycle engines. It provides your vehicle with increased agility and strength.

Let’s delve into more details to gain a deeper understanding of the DOHC motorcycle engine. Join us and keep reading.

What Is a Motorcycle DOHC Engine?

As mentioned earlier, there are various types of engines depending on the type of motorcycle you use, but today we’ll be discussing the DOHC engine. It’s quite common to come across these abbreviations or names in motorcycle manuals or descriptions, which may not be immediately clear.

First, it’s essential to understand the term ‘camshaft.’ Virtually all four-stroke internal combustion engines have a camshaft. Its job is to open and close the intake and exhaust valves of the engine, much like a person inhales and exhales. The camshaft can be in two locations: inside or above.

A DOHC engine is called so because of its English acronym, which stands for “Double Overhead Camshaft.” This name is precisely because the engine operates with two camshafts (in case you’re not familiar with what a camshaft looks like, it’s essentially a mechanical component with a raised center axis).

These camshafts are located in the cylinder head and serve to operate the intake and exhaust valves, giving them their functionality.

In simpler terms, the significant difference between a DOHC engine and an SOHC engine (the engines we would call “normal”) is precisely in this valve function. The DOHC engine uses separate camshafts for the intake and exhaust of the engine, while the SOHC engine performs both functions on a single camshaft.

This substantial difference allows the DOHC engine to handle the intake and exhaust valves separately, providing greater agility to the combustion chamber. As you may have noticed, this means that the DOHC engine has several distinct characteristics.

As you might have already begun to analyze, DOHC engine designs allow for higher engine revolutions and are typically found in sports motorcycles. However, some motorcycle brands also offer DOHC engines for everyday or city use.

It’s also worth noting that DOHC engines usually have somewhat more complicated valve adjustment procedures compared to other engines. But it’s a detail that is not very concerning and a task that is not difficult to perform.

A Bit of History About the DOHC Engine

The DOHC engine is not exclusive to motorcycles; in fact, its early production was for cars in the 1920s. This engine was so efficient that it was initially restricted to luxury brands like Ferrari.

Many brands quickly realized the advantages and versatility of the DOHC engine and began using it decades later. Numerous car manufacturers introduced it to their models.

Subsequently, the success of this engine was replicated for motorcycles, and today we have the tremendous advantage of having this type of engine.

See more: What is a Motorcycle’s SOHC Engine?

DOHC Engine: Advantages and Disadvantages

Now that you understand what a DOHC motorcycle engine is and how it works, you can see that it is a very versatile and modern engine, ideal for today’s need for power in your motorcycle without it being a racing bike but still not a slow and weak one. It’s an ideal option for covering considerable distances and commuting daily.

It’s always important to mention some pros and cons of DOHC engines so that you can evaluate them and see how they fit your riding style on your motorcycle.

With this list we’ve prepared for you, you’ll have a broader understanding of what a DOHC motorcycle engine is and how it can be beneficial or not for your motorcycle use.

Advantages of the DOHC Engine

Some of the most significant advantages of DOHC engines from a mechanical point of view are:

  • The spark plug in a DOHC engine can be placed directly in the central position, providing more complete combustion characteristics.
  • Valve timing is more precise.
  • It’s possible to handle an even greater number of valves.
  • There’s a higher potential for performance modifications.

Disadvantages of the DOHC Engine

We can also mention some points that may not favor the DOHC engine as much, although they are not of great significance, but we bring them up so that you have a complete picture:

  • This engine has a bulkier configuration compared to SOHC engines.
  • Its greater complexity could result in some additional costs, though nothing exorbitant.

Some Final Notes

It’s essential to mention the design of the DOHC engine. As we’ve mentioned, it consists of camshafts located in the cylinder head. As it’s evident, implementing a 4-valve design is more straightforward with the SOHC configuration.

It’s known that most engines with the DOHC configuration accelerate faster than their equivalent SOHC designs. This also allows for a much more optimized valve configuration, thereby improving engine performance.

DOHC engines have slightly lower torque right off the line due to their size, but at higher RPM ranges, this becomes an advantage as they deliver maximum torque and power.

Now, when you ask yourself what a DOHC motorcycle engine is, you’ll know that you’re referring to an highly efficient and modern engine. An engine that was initially exclusive to cars and luxury brands but can now be enjoyed in your motorcycle when choosing the best one for you.

You’ve also learned that a DOHC engine is very effective and provides power to your motorcycle. You now know that a motorcycle equipped with a DOHC engine will offer you power, balance, speed, and strength when riding. This is essential if you’re looking for a robust motorcycle rather than a small, potentially weak one.

We hope this article has been of tremendous help, and now you have a clear understanding of what a DOHC engine is and its main characteristics. Please leave us your comments below; we’d love to hear from you.

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