Why do motorcycles rev so high?

Do motorcycles need to rev so high to achieve their power output? Is the high revving engine having a shorter lifespan than a car?

Motorcycle engines rev high for a good reason. The engines are small. A small engine has a shorter stroke than a car engine, and it needs more strokes for the power output; hence the engine revs high.

Why do motorcyclists rev their engines so much?

Some motorcycle riders love the engine’s sound and the exhaust note, it’s exhilarating, and the anticipation of what comes next makes the heart race.

You may notice a motorcycle rider revving the engine and slipping the clutch while in motion. This is feathering the clutch in anticipation of accelerating harder when the road clears. 

The higher revs will allow the motorcycle to accelerate faster as the rider dumps the clutch.

Is that a good idea? Not really, but motorcycle riders use this technique for quick acceleration. However, it sounds as if the motorcycle rider is revving the engine for the show, but it has a purpose.

Over square and under square pistons need higher revs.

What are over the square and under square pistons?

These are terms related to the bore and stroke measurements of a piston’s travel inside the bore of a combustion engine.

An oversquare piston is a greater diameter than the stroke length. Under the square is the opposite.

You need higher revs to achieve a decent performance; the over square piston revs are high due to the large piston and short stroke to produce adequate torque.

Is high revving bad for the engine?

If you have a long stroke, then you could say the engine’s over-revving causes premature wear and tear. Apart from the noise, the engine will generate more heat to be dispersed efficiently.

It also depends on the duration of the revs. Revving a motorcycle at a standstill and redlining is not a good situation for your motorcycle.

High revs when riding is fine. The red line on your rev counter is not a marker not to pass. It’s an indication of you reaching the maximum output of the engine it was designed for.

Newer motorcycles have rev limiters that prevent the engine from inadvertently over-revving where damage occurs.

Is revving a motorcycle bad?

Motorcycle high revs can make for a smooth ride as the engine is running at its optimum design limits and the balance is perfected.

The optimum for vacuum seals are being achieved, and the motorcycle was designed for this type of riding. In fact, low revs could be more harmful than high revs.

It goes without saying when revving high, your oil needs to be in good shape, and you should keep an eye on your oil pressure.

High revs at a standstill generate heat, which generates wear on engine components, so refraining from revving the engine when standing still is recommended.