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    Default Horsepower and Torque

    I am curious as to just what are the horsepower and torque figures for the GL1800. I am pretty sure that both are plenty good enough for most of us, but I would like to know the figures. Anyone got a good idea as to the numbers?

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    Seasoned Member ChrisE's Avatar
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    2010 specs are quoted at 118 HP, 125 Ft/lbs torque

    This Dyno run shows rear wheel at 93HP and 133ft/lbs at the one minute 11 second mark

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuq7Brj9SbA
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    I think 120hp at the crank 100hp at the back wheel roughly same for the torque figures

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    the 118hp and 125ft/lbs. numbers are from Honda and are measured at the crank.
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    Seasoned Member bluestone's Avatar
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    Can some knowledgeable engineer clarify the relationship of horsepower and torque? If torque makes the bike go, then what does horsepower do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestone View Post
    If torque makes the bike go, then what does horsepower do?
    You use torque every time you twist the throttle.
    You use horsepower once a month.



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    Default horse power

    Quote Originally Posted by bluestone View Post
    Can some knowledgeable engineer clarify the relationship of horsepower and torque? If torque makes the bike go, then what does horsepower do?
    HP is how fast the bike will go.

    Ie: timed torque.
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    My 2010 has 104hp and 118ft/lbs torque at the wheel @ sea level 70 degrees.
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    The magic of the GL1800 engine is that it is big and makes a lot of torque without having to spin fast, so it also lasts a long time. For useful power, you want a torque curve that jumps up off idle, goes high and stays flat as long as possible...like this one. Very few motorcycle engines will make 90 ft lbs...the GL1800 makes it from 1500-5500 RPM's. Notice also that the horsepower builds in a perfect straight line to 5500, making throttle response very predictable.

    There's not much point in reving it past 5,500, since everyting is dropping after that.

    They could have made it spin faster and breath better and it could make a lot more horsepower, but it would have to give up low end torque and durability. But, at what RPM do you spend most of your time on a touring bike?

    (There is no replacement for displacement.)
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    I asked that question to a very well known sprint car engine builder alot of years ago. Here's what he said.....


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    I worked for Bill Lear on the Steam Cars and this question would always come up......"what's the difference between torque and horsepower and why are the both listed?" Here's an article that provides good information without getting into all the numbers in minutia.

    http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles...que/index.html

    The Goldwing has bodacious torque from 1500 to 5500 RPM (as stated in another post) that's what makes it such a great bike to ride.

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    Thanks for the link. That's a good read. Interesting that he pointed out the torque and HP curves will usually cross at or near 5250 rpm. If you look at the dyno chart above, they cross right there in the RPM range. I learn something new everyday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by techdude2000 View Post
    Thanks for the link. That's a good read. Interesting that he pointed out the torque and HP curves will usually cross at or near 5250 rpm. If you look at the dyno chart above, they cross right there in the RPM range. I learn something new everyday.
    Since HP = {(Torque x RPM) / 5252}, the curves always cross at exactly 5252 RPM. Horesepower is the rate at which torque is delivered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 05nwl View Post
    The magic of the GL1800 engine is that it is big and makes a lot of torque without having to spin fast, so it also lasts a long time. For useful power, you want a torque curve that jumps up off idle, goes high and stays flat as long as possible...like this one. Very few motorcycle engines will make 90 ft lbs...the GL1800 makes it from 1500-5500 RPM's. Notice also that the horsepower builds in a perfect straight line to 5500, making throttle response very predictable.

    There's not much point in reving it past 5,500, since everyting is dropping after that.

    They could have made it spin faster and breath better and it could make a lot more horsepower, but it would have to give up low end torque and durability. But, at what RPM do you spend most of your time on a touring bike?

    (There is no replacement for displacement.)
    Here's the BMW K1600 chart. Note that 70% of peak torque is available at 1500 rpms.



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    All I know is that everytime I twist the throttle, I can't help but get a boner.


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    Quote Originally Posted by hunzee View Post
    Here's the BMW K1600 chart. Note that 70% of peak torque is available at 1500 rpms.
    Them is some great curves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trialsman View Post
    All I know is that everytime I twist the throttle, I can't help but get a boner.
    Graphic, but very effective description of the effect of great power curves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 05nwl View Post
    Graphic, but very effective description of the effect of great power curves.
    Or other great curves.

    Just last night I rode past a horse and rider and remarked that there's nothing like 1 horsepower for entertainment. He thought it pretty funny.
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    yup trialsman i had a V-MAX that did the same thing for me every time it went into V-BOOST.loved it oooyea. maxster
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestone View Post
    Can some knowledgeable engineer clarify the relationship of horsepower and torque? If torque makes the bike go, then what does horsepower do?
    When an engine is tested on a test stand, it is connected to a device that acts as a brake by putting a load on the engine. The engine turns this load which is measured in torque. The work absorbed by the brake is converted to heat. Lots and lots of heat.

    Torque is a twisting force with the units of FORCE X DISTANCE.

    Also measured is engine shaft speed.

    These two numbers, the torque in its units (ft*lbs) is multiplied by the shaft speed in RPM. This product is divided by 5250 and results in the term "horsepower."

    So why do all this? Why not just publish the raw torque number?

    Because it is easier to understand how much work the engine can do when the output is expressed in HP.

    How much work work can be performed with 300 ft*lbs of torque at 5,000 rpm? Not an easy figure to grasp. Or 500 ft*lbs at 3,000 rpm.

    But express it in horsepower (285HP), one can instantly understand how much work the engine can do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trialsman View Post
    All I know is that everytime I twist the throttle, I can't help but get a boner.

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    I wonder why Honda can get 140hp and 129 ft lbs of torque out of there 1800cc 4 cylinder engine that they use in the Honda Civic, and that engine will go 300K miles, but they can't do it with the 1800cc six cylinder Gold Wing engine.

    Imagine how much more fun the Wing would be if had 140 hp and 129 ft lbs of torque.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadie View Post
    I wonder why Honda can get 140hp and 129 ft lbs of torque out of there 1800cc 4 cylinder engine that they use in the Honda Civic, and that engine will go 300K miles, but they can't do it with the 1800cc six cylinder Gold Wing engine.

    Imagine how much more fun the Wing would be if had 140 hp and 129 ft lbs of torque.
    That 4 cyclinder engine is NOT a horizontally opposed configuration (pistons moving horizontally within the cylinders on either side of the crankshaft) but pistons moving vertically (up and down) above the crankshaft. Pistons moving side to side (horizantally) have an additional wear component within the cylinder induced by gravity. The difference torque will be affected by the length of the connecting rod/crankshaft throw (diameter that the crankshaft end of the rod connecting the crankshaft to the piston moves around ) and many other things. The efficiency with which the air moves into and out of the cylinder (breathing) will also significantly effect these numbers, the shape of the curves and where they will peak!

    I suspect that we as motorcyclists will twist the throttle further and more often (fun factor) than the operators of the Civic that goes 300K miles. If the Civic operator were to do the same that many of us do with rapid accelleration ect they would be buying a lot of tires, axles, transmissions and rebuilding or replacing the engines at mileages significantly lower than the suggested 300K miles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PilotJO View Post
    That 4 cyclinder engine is NOT a horizontally opposed configuration (pistons moving horizontally within the cylinders on either side of the crankshaft) but pistons moving vertically (up and down) above the crankshaft. Pistons moving side to side (horizantally) have an additional wear component within the cylinder induced by gravity. The difference torque will be affected by the length of the connecting rod/crankshaft throw (diameter that the crankshaft end of the rod connecting the crankshaft to the piston moves around ) and many other things. The efficiency with which the air moves into and out of the cylinder (breathing) will also significantly effect these numbers, the shape of the curves and where they will peak!
    Well what about Subaru....they use a horizontally opposed engine that is also 1800cc and they get quite a bit more power than the 1800cc Gold Wing engine.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadie View Post
    Well what about Subaru....they use a horizontally opposed engine that is also 1800cc and they get quite a bit more power than the 1800cc Gold Wing engine.
    My previous post was about LONGEVITY, not specifically power (hp/torque) output. But, I did allude to it a little bit (breathing efficiency). Wantta re-read my previous post? LOL

    I didn't even mention the effect of COMPRESSION RATIO or the effect of POSITIVE PRESSURE INTAKE SYSTEMS such as Turbo charging or SuperCharging, nor did I mention the effect of ignition timing curves and the effect of computerized emission control systems and their effects on power output.
    Last edited by PilotJO; 07-09-2011 at 08:33 PM.
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    When I was young, I asked that question of an older friend that was teaching me how to hop up my engine. He told me that torque= acceleration, and horsepower= top end. While that is overly simplified, it's actually pretty accurate.

    Years later, I learned to loosely correlate this with electronics. Horsepower is the equivalent to voltage (the potential to do work), and torque is the equivalent to current. (the actual work being done)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadie View Post
    I wonder why Honda can get 140hp and 129 ft lbs of torque out of there 1800cc 4 cylinder engine that they use in the Honda Civic, and that engine will go 300K miles, but they can't do it with the 1800cc six cylinder Gold Wing engine.

    Imagine how much more fun the Wing would be if had 140 hp and 129 ft lbs of torque.
    The wing is tuned to have the flat (predictable and easy to manage) torque curve rather than maximum numbers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmguy View Post
    The wing is tuned to have the flat (predictable and easy to manage) torque curve rather than maximum numbers.
    Right on. And, valve train configuration and geometry, as well as the length and shape of the intake and exhaust tracks are limited by the fact that they have to fit in a motorcycle. Honda did a nice job of matching the power to the purpose. Lots of torque and plenty of horsepower for the purpose with very high reliability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 05nwl View Post
    Right on. And, valve train configuration and geometry, as well as the length and shape of the intake and exhaust tracks are limited by the fact that they have to fit in a motorcycle. Honda did a nice job of matching the power to the purpose. Lots of torque and plenty of horsepower for the purpose with very high reliability.
    Exactly. This bike is designed and tuned first and foremost for touring, and I don't think there is any other motorcycle engine in the world that does it better. Anything extra is a bonus.

    A lot of that tuning is built into the design of the engine. But when you start messing around with the the engine management system in order to try and squeeze more peak power numbers out of it, you inevitably screw up the careful tuning that Honda did. Everyone thinks they can second guess the factory engineers, but unless you have upgraded the engine with performance parts, messing with the ECM is a mistake, because driveability will suffer. In the end, factory engineers usually turn out to be not as dumb as people think they are.

    Of course, not everyone will agree with the overall design philosophy. If you want a more spirited engine, BMW caters to that way of thinking.
    Last edited by LarryM; 07-10-2011 at 12:16 PM.
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