Suzuki Patents New Variable Valve Timing Engine

Suzuki doesn’t have the same excitement for building hot, high-tech superbikes that it did through the 1980s and 1990s, but that doesn’t mean it’s pensioned off its engineering team. We still see a steady stream of interesting patents coming out of Hamamatsu, and the latest in that line is a drawing for a new engine with variable valve timing.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Suzuki moto engine with VVT; the latest-generation GSX-R1000 has a VVT head, and in late 2023, we had a glimpse of patent drawings showing a Hayabusa hyperbike with a VVT top end grafted on. But the more recent patent reveal, unearthed by Pen Purvis over at Cycle World, is probably more likely to impact your everyday rider. The drawings show a small-cc engine with VVT.

Specifically, it’s a VVT design that adjusts the valve timing as well as the lift, which is more advanced than the Gixxer design; that was adapted from their GP racebike, which had a clever cam phase design to get around MotoGP regs, says Purvis.

Yet, ironically, the VVT design in the patent drawings is made to install on the 250-300 class parallel twin that Suzuki has made for them in China. Here in Canada, it powered the GW250 and on the global market it powers the V-Strom 250 and other similar models. When the GW250 was sold in Canada, it was priced under $4,000 and came with a five-year warranty; it was one of the most value-oriented machines sold here in the past 20 years, and not the sort of bike you’d expect to see coming with a more advanced design like VVT.

But, Suzuki seems keen to focus on small-cc bikes over the next few years, and that means they’ll have to clean up emissions and offer performance superior to their counterparts in India (the KTM 250/390 series, for example). A VVT engine would be a good way to keep their bikes relevant for years to come.

See more details on the patent in Purvis’ excellent write-up here.

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