Indian planning VVT Thunderstroke?

Thunderstroke VVT

Indian Motorcycle is not only building a new engine, but also seems to be updating its current Thunderstroke 111 with variable valve timing or VVT.

Last month, images surfaced of a heavily disguised Indian tourer, possibly called the Raptor, with a fixed fairing and a different engine, believed to be quad-valved and water-cooled.

2020 Indian Raptor Apollo VVT
Is this the upcoming Indian Raptor? (Image from a leaked brochure)

It is thought the engine was originally developed as the Victory Freedom V2 engine before Polaris axed the brand.

So what’s happening with the current air/oil-cooled Thunderstroke in the Chief, Roadmaster and Springfield models?

According to the latest patent filings in the US, the Thunderstroke will be updated with variable valve timing, most likely to meet stringent Euro 5 emissions targets being introduced from January 2020.

Indian VVT
Indian VVT engine patent drawings

VVT spreads

Variable valve timing has been around for ages in cars and is known as VVT-i and VVTL-i in Toyota, MIVEC in Mitsubishi, VVL in Nissan and VANOS by Ford, BMW, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Honda was the first to introduce it to motorcycles and it is now being progressively introduced to other Japanese and European motorcycles such as BMW, Ducati, Suzuki and Yamaha.

BMW R 1250 GS and RT VVT
BMW’s 1250cc Shiftcam Boxer engine with variable valve timing

We expect many others to follow suit to try to meet the tough Euro 5 emissions regulations.

Already many of our popular motorcycle models have been axed because they can’t meet the Euro 4 requirements and more are likely to be axed next year under Euro 5.

One of the solutions to the tighter emissions laws could be variable valve timing which makes the engine more flexible in different conditions, resulting in increased fuel economy, lower emissions and improved performance, particularly torque.

If Indian is planning on VVT, we can also expect compatriot Harley-Davidson to be developing something similar.

Indian rental

Meanwhile, Indian Motorcycle has launched Indian Motorcycle Rentals at select dealers around the USA.

Rental can be as short as four hours to as long as several weeks.

Indian Motorcycle Australia has no plans yet for anything similar.

One thought on “Indian planning VVT Thunderstroke?

  1. When I look at those cutaways of a modern internal combustion engine I think three things:

    1. Man, they’re complex
    2. Man, they’re beautiful, highly evolved engineering
    3. Man, it’s sad that they’re soon to be a relic of history

    When you think of what the internal combustion engine was a century ago compared to what it is now it’s sad / ironic / disconcerting that all that hundred years of development is about to be consigned to the bin as the electric revolution come in. MotoGP (bikes) and F1 (cars) have taken the technological to an incredible level, engines that can rev to 15,000 rpm and not destroy themselves – well not immediately anyway! It’s really quite astonishing what 100 years of brilliant engineers and designers have been able to achieve only to see it all swept away in the blink of an eye. Increasingly countries are mandating that you won’t be able to buy internal combustion engines after 2030 or whatever. That’s just extraordinary when you think of the lifetimes /generations of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into their development to this incredibly high level. That’s what technology can do: reduce existing “state of the art” something or other to ashes in the blink of an eye. The electric motor is about to do just that. Master Mechanics and peeps of that ilk will be suddenly unemployed. The whole game is about to change overnight. It’s the way of the world now: rapid change. They say IT technology doubles in capability every five years. That makes the improvements logarithmic – ie all the really massive changes come in a flood towards the end. That’s what we’re on the cusp of right now. Artificial Intelligence being the REALLY big one. I don’t think we can even really imagine what THAT sucker is going to do to our world. Exciting, if somewhat nervous, times 🙂

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