Twin Cam vs Milwaukee 8: Who’s The Harley Engine King?

Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Pittalks

In the world of Harley Davidson motorcycles, the Twin Cam and Milwaukee 8 (M8) engines are often the subjects of heated debates. Both have their unique characteristics, strengths, and shortcomings. Let’s dive deep into their individual features and performance, which might help motorcycle enthusiasts in their quest to decide on the better choice. You ready? Let’s get fired up!

When Did Harley Release The Twin Cam?

Example of the Twin Cam engine from Harley Davidson

The Twin Cam engine, recognized for its two camshafts, was a significant addition to the Harley Davidson motor lineup. The engine, known for its increased horsepower and torque, was introduced in several displacements over the years.

Read more about the Twin Cam variations:
Twin Cam 88 vs 96: Which TC Is Really The King?

What Were Notable Characteristics Of The Twin Cam?

The Twin Cam engine offered more power and torque compared to its predecessors. The design included two cams, which led to its name. It was available in different displacements, including 88, 96, 103, and 110 cubic inches.

Why Did Harley Add A Second Cam?

The main advantage of having two cams in an engine is that it permits more efficient valve timing. The dual cam design has separate camshafts for the intake and exhaust valves. This leads to more power, more torque, and better fuel efficiency. It also gives the signature exhaust note and Harley feel.

What Were The Twin Cam’s Drawbacks?

Like any other engine, the Twin Cam also had its share of downfalls. The most significant issue was with the plastic tensioner in the engine that was prone to wear out eventually.

Read more: Is The Twin Cam 96 A Good Motor? Yes, No, Maybe So

Did The Twin Cam Have Any Recalls?

Harley Davidson issued several recalls related to the Twin Cam engine over the years due to potential issues with the clutch master cylinder and the fuel system.

Were Twin Cam Engines Reliable?

The Twin Cam motor has shown commendable performance with proper maintenance. However, the plastic tensioner’s wear and tear were a common issue faced by many riders.

But how did it compare to its notable predecessor? Harley’s Twin Cam vs Evo: Who’s Really The King Here?

What Bikes Used A Twin Cam Engine?

The Twin Cam engine was used in a wide range of Harley Davidson motorcycles, including the Dyna, Softail, Touring, and CVO models.

Related: Best Year Harley Twin Cam Engine: A Surprising Overview

When Did Harley Release The M8?

Example of a Milwaukee Eight 107ci engine to introduce the series

The Milwaukee Eight, better known as the M8, was introduced by Harley Davidson in 2016. The M8 was designed as the successor to the Twin Cam and represented a significant evolution in Harley’s engine technology.

What Makes The Milwaukee 8 Different From The Twin Cam?

The M8 differed from the Twin Cam in several ways. It featured a single, four-valve cylinder head design with a higher compression ratio than the Twin Cam’s two-valve design. This resulted in improved airflow and combustion efficiency. It also featured a single, chain-driven camshaft, which reduced mechanical complexity and noise.

What Are The Benefits of Having Eight Valves?

The use of eight valves in the M8 engine provided several performance advantages over the Twin Cam’s four-valve design. The eight valves improved intake and exhaust flow capacity, resulting in higher power and torque output. The M8’s valve train also required no adjustment, set at the factory for life.

How Does The Milwaukee 8 Perform When Compared To The Twin Cam?

On performance grounds, the M8 engine showed substantial improvements over the Twin Cam. The M8 produced approximately 10% more torque than the Twin Cam and provided quicker acceleration. Additionally, the M8 offered better fuel economy, up to 11% better than the Twin Cam, varying with the model and displacement.

Is The Milwaukee 8 Reliable?

In terms of reliability, the M8 engine series has shown excellent performance. The use of a single, chain-driven camshaft reduced mechanical complexity, contributing to improved longevity. The M8 also featured an improved cooling system, which managed engine heat better and enhanced rider comfort.

Did The M8 Have Any Recalls?

So far, there have been no major recalls reported for the M8 engine.

What Bikes Used The M8 Engine?

The Milwaukee 8 engine is currently used in all Harley’s Touring and Softail models.

Is One Engine Better Than The Other?

An infographic comparison between the Twin Cam and Milwaukee Eight engines

The comparison between the Twin Cam and Milwaukee 8 depends largely on your personal preference and riding style. If you value a proven design with a mechanical feel, the Twin Cam may be your pick. However, if you value cutting-edge technology, improved performance, and advanced features, then the Milwaukee Eight likely holds the edge.

Milwaukee Eight and Twin Cam Performance Comparison

When comparing the performance of the Twin Cam vs M8, the M8 engines have a clear advantage. With increased torque output and quicker acceleration, the M8 offers a more exhilarating riding experience. However, many riders still appreciate the raw power and character of the Twin Cam, making it a matter of personal preference.

M8 vs Twin Cam Reliability

In terms of reliability, both engines have demonstrated excellent performance with proper care and maintenance. However, the reduced mechanical complexity and improved cooling system of the M8 may give it a slight edge in terms of long-term durability.

Whether you prefer the Twin Cam or the Milwaukee 8 will largely depend on your personal preferences and riding style. Both engines offer unique advantages and represent significant milestones in Harley Davidson’s legendary history of motor design.

More Twin Cam and M8 comparison, but diving deeper into the specifics: The Harley 103 vs 107 Engine Showdown

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Milwaukee 8 Better Than Twin Cam?

Yes, the Milwaukee 8 is generally considered better than the Twin Cam. The Milwaukee 8 features improvements in power, smoothness, and cooling efficiency. It offers a more refined riding experience, greater torque, and enhanced fuel economy compared to the Twin Cam.

Is a Milwaukee 8 a Big Twin?

Yes, the Milwaukee 8 is classified as a Big Twin engine. It’s a larger V-twin engine used in Harley-Davidson touring and cruiser motorcycles. This engine is known for its increased displacement and advanced technology, making it a successor to the earlier Big Twin models.

Are Milwaukee 8 a Good Engine?

Yes, the Milwaukee 8 engines are well-regarded. They are praised for their improved performance, reliability, and smoother power delivery. With reduced vibration and enhanced cooling, these engines offer a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience.

Which Harley Engine is the Best?

The best Harley engine can vary based on individual preferences and needs. The Milwaukee 8 is highly praised for modern touring, offering advanced technology and performance. For classic and traditional styles, many prefer the heritage and character of the Twin Cam. Ultimately, the best engine depends on the rider’s specific requirements and the type of motorcycle.

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