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Home arrow Technical Stuff arrow The Eternal Vee Engine!!
The Eternal Vee Engine!! Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 June 2006

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The Vee engine has intrigued engineers for as long as pistons have been pumping compression in combustion engines. The question has always, and still remains, on how to provide the power but reduce space and weight. Ahhhh! in comes Gottlieb and a couple of his contemporaries in the late 18th century, with a vee twin motor to replace the single cylinder bicycle engine. The trouble is the rear cylinder runs hotter than the front cylinder - it gets a clean flow of air whilst the rear cylinder runs in turbulent airflow and overheats. Well like all engineers, every obstacle presents an opportunity to design or redesign, and along came the offset" vee engine, allowing clean airflow for both cylinders.

The vee four presented too much of a challenged to cool the cylinders with airflow so along came the water cooled motor, of design we have in most cars today.

So why so popular? Well size and weight ratios to power output really are superior in the vee engine and you can now see why they have even adapted these machines to aircraft. Read on ...... and see what some adaptations have produced in making history in our quest for speed and performance.... the boy's and their toys and zest for things precision...

Where V engines come first 
Did You Know...?

* That a Virago 1100 engine was used on a WW-I replica airplane?
* That there really is such a thing as A Million Mile Man?
* A Virago broke a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats?
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A Virago Powered Airplane?

It's true! In April of 1991, Richard Giles started building his replica Nieuport 12, WW-I plane, serial number 00020. It was fitted with a 1986 XV-1100 Virago engine. His decision to use a motorcycle engine was based several factors. To begin with, Rich had 25 years of motorcycle maintenance and dealership experience under his belt. Some of the more important considerations were power, weight, sound, cost, adaptability, and most importantly...reliability.
There were several features of the Virago engine which made it ideal for aircraft use.

* Lightweight aluminum construction.
* A choice of five reduction ratios via the transmission.
* A means to disengage the propeller by use of the clutch.
* A complete electrical system.
* A pressurized oil lubrication system.
* An electric starter.
* A torsional vibration dampening system built into the transmission.
* Availability of replacement parts.
* The power range was between 3000 -7500 rpm. (ideal for this type of aircraft)
It turns out that the only engine problem encountered was what type of carburetion to use. They couldn't use the standard constant-velocity type which operates the throttle through a butterfly opening, allowing vacuum of the intake system to pull the throttle. Instead, they used a set of carbs, properly jetted, 40mm carbs which were mechanically operated.
In October of 1993, the aircraft was inspected by the FAA and approved for flight.
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The Million Mile Man

Dave Hingson, a Florida resident and a retired quality control expert, has owned 29 motorcycles. He started riding before World War-II on a Wizzer motorbike. Back in 1939 Dave, at age 12, his friend let him take a 1936 Harley for a spin. Dave's been burning-up the roads ever since. Besides riding in the Continental US, he has had the fortunate opportunity to ride in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Guam, Europe, and Saipan.

Hingson has 100,000 miles on Harley-Davidsons and 300,000 miles on BMW's. The bulk of his million miles some 403,789; according to his detailed records. Currently, his mileage-maker of choice is a 1994 XV-1100 Virago. This is his third Yamaha cruiser - a 1986 Virago lasted 119,000 miles, his 1990 went 124,000 miles, and he plans on racking up 200,000 miles on the '94 Virago before his four year extended warranty runs out.
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XV-920 Sets Speed Record

The Nick Larson team, managed to set a new class 1000 APSF speed record of 201.655 mph during Speedweek '97 (49th running of the event). It was done using a nitrous injected XV-920 Yamaha Virago!

So, the next time someone has something to say about your Virago being too slow, remind them of the record set by Nick and his brother.

 

 

 

                                     

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The Vee twin air cooled engine
                                  

 

 

             

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The vee four water colled engine
              

 
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