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Bronze member
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Discussion Starter #1
There are a bunch of threads that compare the new Challenger to the various models with the TS111 (Thunderstroke) engine. There can be no doubt about it, the engine in the Challenger is going to haul arse! It's frame mounted fairing will do a great job of shuttling air aside and it's going to be primarily compared to the HD that also has a frame mounted fairing. The Challenger will also be a direct competitor for bikes like the Honda Gold Wing and then Kawasaki Voyager (depending on whether or not having a trunk is primary to the conversation).

Being a professional wrench, I recognize the critical performance differences between the use of push rods versus overhead cams, 2 valves per cylinder versus 4 valves per cylinder and air cooling versus liquid cooling. In each category the later method will tend to be the better performer BOTH in emissions as well as what's happening at the rear wheel. And I expect that anyone who is reasonably up-to-date with modern technology will agree.

But it still offends my "delicate sensibilities" to see a motorcycle engine that has no more style than an air compressor. Even if adding fins to a liquid cooled engine only adds a few useless ounces of weight, the lack of cooling fins just plain makes a motorcycle engine UGLY. Honda has had it's ass handed to it in the past when they made a number of liquid cooled machines that could not sell well enough to justify their well engineered, but ugly, engines that lacked cooling fins. Wrap an engine with enough plastic so that it's lack of cooling fins isn't apparent and then they can sell on their true performance merits. The Gold Wing and it's variants are a good example of that.

But I believe (hope?) that sales success will continue to be a factor of performance AND appearance. A motorcycle engine should be better looking than an air compressor.
 

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Rider
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I''m, generally speaking, an old school kind of guy. My main ride is a classically styled Indian Vintage, a classic Triumph old cycle and I'm looking at a new Janus. Having said that, I kinda like the new Indian motor AND the more modern looking motor on the scouts. Fins are cool but there are other styling cues beside fins that look good. As always, each to their own.
 

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Bronze member
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The fins on air cooled machines are not there for looks,they are there for cooling purposes and MUST be kept CLEAN in order to do there job.But how many times have ya seen air cooled machines with fins that are packed solid with crap,hence will NOT do their job,where the water cooled machines don't need fins because they are,in fact,water cooled and use radiators with fans,just like in a four wheeler.But then again,check out the radiators on some of these machines and you'll note the cooling fins are also packed with bugs,dirt,etc.,HENCE,they can't do their job either.So it's kinda like a catch 22.But I also agree with the looks as mentioned by the gentleman above.However, finned motors are also harder to clean and keep clean compared to their water cooled counter parts.And since ya don't need cooling fins on a liquid cooled block,why use em.If the manufacturers did use em for looks,then that would increase production costs which,as you know,would be passed on to the buyer.But since both,water and air cooled motors are still around,you still have a choice as to which one you like better.
I have owned both air and liquid cooled machines over my 58 years mounted on two wheels,and granted,the water cooled versions may be more efficient,especially in traffic and or on a hot day,but I'm still content with the 111 motor in my SDH.If traffic conditions are that bad,especially on a hot day,I simply pull over to the side of the road and let her cool off,just like I did with my other air cooled machines.So again, it's a matter of choice,and up to the individual rider as to which one he or she, wants.
 

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Silver member
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But I believe (hope?) that sales success will continue to be a factor of performance AND appearance. A motorcycle engine should be better looking than an air compressor.

I agree. No offense intended to any Challenger owners, but to me the Challenger looks like just another bagger, and with a homely looking engine. If I saw one going down the road I'd have to take a 2nd look to see what kind/brand of sickle it is. For me, I like a bike to have some style, some charm or kool factor, engine included. Guess maybe that's part of the reason why I ride a slow slug, an ill handling (in comparison to the Challenger, apparently) '15 green'n cream vintage ?
 

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Bronze member
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2,041 Posts
This is why they make different models of motorcycles. The market the challenger was meant to appease generally prefers modern minimalistic looks.

And the frilly vintage looking aircooled bikes appease a different market.


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