Video: Yamaha’s Cross-Plane Engine Explained - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Video: Yamaha’s Cross-Plane Engine Explained

If You ever Wondered, This will answer all your questions

LISTEN 01:28

It’s one of those phrases that people throw out into conversations - ’Oh, yeah, the Yamaha R1: it’s got a cross-plane engine’ - and you just know they have no idea what that means. So, what does it mean?

Video: Yamaha’s Cross-Plane engine explained

OK, so this might not be the most exciting video we’ve ever posted but it is a very well put together video that goes a long way to explaining exactly what separates Yamaha’s cross-plane R1 engine from almost every other in-line four cylinder engine out there and it’s really interesting!

Video: Yamaha's Cross-Plane Engine Explained
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Cross Plane Vs. Flat Plane
Two cylinders look like they are together on the Cross Plane, but in actual fact they are on completely different parts of the stroke

The thing is, it actually goes much further than telling us why its called ’cross-plane’ and delves into engine balance, firing orders, the Yamaha racing ’Big bang’ engine and gives us examples of why the sound of flat-plane and cross-plane engines is different. It even delves back into two-stroke MotoGP history, talking about the Honda V4 engine, which introduced big-bang firing order thinking into racing, despite it actually reducing power but which, conversely, made the bikes easier to ride and more successful.

Video: Yamaha's Cross-Plane Engine Explained
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Cross Plane Crank
So called because the four crank pins are 90 degrees from each other and, looked at from the end, form a cross.

He goes into the differences between radial and bias-ply tyres and the effect they have on power delivery and lap times and just puts everything largely in layman’s terms that are easy to understand.

Maybe it’s super-nerdy, but I found it fascinating.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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