Powertrain engineering

Powertrain engineering

The heart of our engineering capabilities

Ricardo Motorcycle has been involved with the design and development of motorcycle powertrains since the 1920s. 

Powertrain engineering is at the heart of Ricardo Motorcycle’s engineering capabilities (as well as at the heart of a motorcycle!). Our experienced motorcycle powertrain design engineers are supported by dedicated analysts and state-of-the-art analysis tools. 

For two- and four-stroke engines, we offer design, calibration, NVH, testing and integration services for:

  • Low-cost, high-volume commuter-style powertrains
  • Premium-sector powertrains for urban, sport, touring and cruiser applications
  • Highest-performance, high-revving engines for world-class racing applications

Our expertise covers engine, transmission, final drive, intake and exhaust systems.

Further areas of expertise include:

  • Air cooling
  • Air/oil cooling
  • Water cooling
  • All valve train types – from push-rod operated to direct attack and finger follower designs, including variable valve timing systems
  • Low-cost manufacture considerations
  • Ease of service
  • State-of-the-art levels of performance
  • Fuel economy 
  • Exhaust emissions
  • NVH characteristics, including sound quality

Ricardo has particular skills and experience with heritage-style powertrains, combining historic image and styling with modern levels of performance, emissions, fuel consumption and manufacturing technology.

Powertrain development (engine, transmission, driveline, intake and exhaust systems)

  • Design, analysis and simulation
  • Alternative transmissions (DCT, AMT and seamless shift)
  • Development (NVH, combustion, performance, emissions and calibration)
  • Industrialization    
  • Control and electronics (HW and SW)

Powertrain analysis capabilities

  • Valve train dynamics, including dynamic models of crankshaft and timing drive
  • Finite Element model of crankshaft to analyse fatigue, torsional vibration and bearings
  • Finite Element analysis of cylinder head and crankcases to evaluate thermal and structural performance and improve durability
  • Analysis of the lubrication and cooling systems to size components
  • Stress analysis based on Finite Elements to meet targets, especially for shift fork, gear sleeve rings and gear dogs
  • Dynamic model of transmission constructed in 
  • Matlab/Simulink
  • Finite Elements optimization of transmission housing and covers
  • Dynamic modelling of complete motorcycle driveline for refinement and shift-quality optimization
  • Gear Shift Quality Analysis – specially developed to help optimize motorcycle gearshift quality by providing objective measurements to a very subjective characteristic