T2: Rise of the turbochargers

Remember the early 1980s? The world was stuck in that awkward transition between disco and hair metal, Wayne Gretzky still played for the Edmonton Oilers, and tuborchargers were in.

For a few short years, the Japanese manufacturers teased buyers with turbocharged models (the Big Four all offered them on mid-displacement machines), then cruelly yanked them off the market. As last year’s Tokyo Motor Show and this year’s endless stream of marketing hype over the new Kawasaki H2 show, though, the turbo is making a comeback.

But this time around, it’s not just the Japanese manufacturers who are working with the technology. Can-Am is also planning a new turbocharged model. It’s true Can-Am doesn’t make any motorcycles – they only sell three-wheelers and off-road vehicles – but it’s an indication the technology is becoming a serious option for manufacturers again.

The new turbo-charged Can-Am Maverick X is actually powered by a Rotax V-twin; given Rotax’s long history of selling engines to motorcycle manufacturers, our question is this: How soon before a motorcycle manufacturer drops a turbocharged Rotax mill in a production model? We’re looking at you, BMW F800 GS …


  1. Now that the confusion over a supercharger and turbocharger has been taken care of I`m glad to find out about the upcoming CMG movie`s name.

    Now about the actual subject , personally I’m all up for it , if I cant get a road legal two stroke here I might as well get a turbo.

    • True, though if my memory from my motorcycle college days serves me correctly, technically they are all superchargers one being powered from the motor and the other being powered from the exhaust, which somehow got its own name as a turbocharger.

      What Zac should have said is the rise of the supercharger and then he’d have been safe. And smug.

      Unless my memory served me wrong.

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