We all know that vehicle emission requirements are becoming more restrictive. Motorcycle manufacturers must meet new and more stringent regulations every few years.
So it would be foolish for manufacturers not to continue to work on “cleaner” and more efficient internal combustion engines. One potential solution is the implementation of variable valve timing (VVT). If you are not familiar with it, VVT adjusts an internal combustion engine’s cam timing. Once implemented, a VVT system optimizes both intake and exhaust valve timing to ensure the most efficient burning of fuel possible.
And now, there’s another manufacturer looking at VVT for the future. And, that manufacturer is Harley-Davidson. This discovery comes courtesy of a Harley-Davidson patent application. The application is not for the VVT; it’s actually for a crankshaft balancer system.
But the application does say that VVT could be used in conjunction with the crankshaft balancer that Harley is attempting to patent. In fact, it seems that the MoCo may use VVT on more than one of its machines in the future.
More than one model
Harley puts a stake in the ground in its application saying:
Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways.”
So if the above is correct, you may also see the crankshaft balancer used in conjunction with VVT on other Harley-Davidson models. That makes sense. If it works on one model, it could work with several models having the same engine or even a different engine.
While none of this means that Harley will ultimately use VVT, it certainly sends the message that they are looking at different ways to ensure that their machines have a good shot at meeting upcoming emission regulations.