The keen-eyed people over at Cycle World have uncovered a Suzuki patent that looks an awful lot like the Supermono engines Ducati used to great success in the 1990s.
A bit of history: In case you’ve forgotten, the Ducati Supermono was a purpose-built single cylinder sportbike, designed to dominate the supermono (hence the name) roadracing class of its day, in the 1990s. Ducati only built a few dozen of the machines (Wikipedia claims 65) between 1995 and 1997. They were highly successful, winning the IOMTT’s singles class in 1995, as well as cleaning up at various other roadracing events.
The key to the original Supermono’s success was its oddball engine architecture; essentially, it was a V-twin engine with a counterbalancer system replacing one of the cylinders. Other thumpers of that era used more crude designs, and therefore couldn’t make as much horsepower.
For whatever reason, Ducati never made the Supermono into a production machine, and now the remaining bikes are collector’s items, fetching high prices at auctions.
Not many more parts than your average thumper; add in some trick anti-pollution bits, and you’re in business.
Now, this Suzuki design that Cycle World’s dug up uses pretty much the same idea as that old Ducati engine. It’s a V-twin design, with the rear cylinder remaining and the front piston yanked and replaced with a counterbalancer system. There’s still a cylinder there, sort of, but the con rod is bolted to a balancer, not to a piston.
Interesting! Of course, Suzuki has years of experience with building decent V-twins in its SV and V-Strom lineups, so it’s actually somewhat surprising this design hasn’t surfaced before, especially since the basic principle has been around since the 1990s.
But is the patent any guarantee of intention to produce this engine? Sadly, no. But given KTM’s recent success with its 690/701 platform in various machines, maybe big singles aren’t dead yet, and Suzuki could be seeing the light here as well. Could this be the engine that powers a new DR Big, which we’re all told is coming? Maybe!