World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Stroke ratio

In a reciprocating piston engine, the stroke ratio, defined by either bore/stroke ratio or stroke/bore ratio, is a term to describe the ratio between cylinder bore diameter and piston stroke. This can be used for either an internal combustion engine, where the fuel is burned within the cylinders of the engine, or external combustion engine, such as a steam engine, where the combustion of the fuel takes place outside the working cylinders of the engine.

While the stroke ratio can provide insight into the goals of an engine's designer, it has no direct effect on the speed at which an engine reaches maximum torque . An observable relationship between displaced volume and cylinder surface area (a major factor in heat transference between the working fluid and the 'waste' heat in the cooling system) throughout an engine cycle such that is defined by the stroke ratio.


  • Conventions 1
    • Bore/stroke ratio 1.1
    • Stroke/bore ratio 1.2
  • Square, oversquare and undersquare engines 2
    • Square engine 2.1
      • Square engine examples 2.1.1
    • Oversquare or short-stroke engine 2.2
      • Oversquare engine examples 2.2.1
    • Undersquare or long-stroke engine 2.3
      • Undersquare engine examples 2.3.1
  • Notes 3
  • References 4


In a piston engine, there are two different ways of describing the stroke ratio of its cylinders, namely: bore/stroke ratio, and stroke/bore ratio.

Bore/stroke ratio

Bore/stroke is the more commonly used term, with usage in North America, Europe, United Kingdom, Asia, and Australia.

The diameter of the cylinder bore is divided by the length of the piston stroke to give the ratio.

Stroke/bore ratio

Stroke/bore ratio is less common than bore/stroke ratio, but is a term mostly preferred in German text (Hubverhältnis in German). It is used in some other countries too, such as Finland, likely due to German influence.

The length of the piston stroke is divided by the diameter of the cylinder bore to give the ratio.

Square, oversquare and undersquare engines

The following terms describe the naming conventions for the configurations of the various bore/stroke ratio:

Square engine

A square engine has equal or very nearly equal bore and stroke dimensions, giving a bore/stroke value of exactly or almost exactly 1:1.

Square engine examples

1967-72 FIAT 125, 124Sport engine 125A000-90hp, 125B000-100hp, 125BC000-110hp, 1608ccm, DOHC, stroke 80mm, bore 80mm

Alberto Ascari's Lancia D50 Grand Prix car in 1954-55 had a DOHC V8 engine with near square dimensions with a 73.6 mm × 73.1 mm (2.90 in × 2.88 in) bore and stroke.

The Volkswagen Group W16 engine as used in the Bugatti Veyron is an example of a square engine - with a 86.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in) bore and stroke.

The 1970s Ford 400M with a 101.6 mm × 101.6 mm (4.00 in × 4.00 in) bore and stroke.

The BMW M52 engine with a displacement of 2793 cubic centimeters is an example of a perfect square engine with a 84.0 mm × 84.0 mm (3.31 in × 3.31 in) bore and stroke.

The Peugeot XU10 engine line - with a displacement of 1998 cubic centimeters is an example of a perfect square engine with a 86.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in) bore and stroke.

The Cadillac 500-V8 manufactured from 1970-1976 is a nearly square engine with a 109.2 mm × 109.3 mm (4.300 in × 4.304 in) bore and stroke.

Similarly, the BMW S70/2 used in the McLaren F1 is a nearly square engine with a 86.0 mm × 87.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.43 in) bore and stroke.

Nissan's SR20DE is a square engine, with a 86.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in) bore and stroke.

The Opel/Vauxhaul 2.0 L GM Family II engines are square at 86.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in) bore and stroke.

Toyota's 2JZ and 4U are square engines, with 86.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in) bore and stroke.

The 1973-1976 Kawasaki Z1 and KZ(Z)900 had a 66.0 mm × 66.0 mm (2.60 in × 2.60 in) bore and stroke.[1]

The 1982-onwards Honda Nighthawk 250 and Honda CMX250C Rebel have a 53.0 mm × 53.0 mm (2.09 in × 2.09 in) bore and stroke, making it a square engine.[2]

The 1968-1981 Buick 350 engine with a displacement of 349.3 cubic inches is another nearly square engine with a 96.5 mm × 97.8 mm (3.80 in × 3.85 in) bore and stroke.

Yamaha also uses square engine on its single cylinder YBR125, Yamaha SS 125 and Gladiator. The 2009 single cylinder Yamaha Fazer 150 (launched in India), is a nearly square engine with 57.0 mm × 58.7 mm (2.24 in × 2.31 in) bore and stroke.[3]

Honda's J30A engine has 86.0 mm × 86.0 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in) bore and stroke.

Oversquare or short-stroke engine

An engine is described as oversquare or short-stroke if its cylinders have a greater bore diameter than its stroke length, giving a bore/stroke ratio greater than 1:1.

An oversquare engine allows for more and larger valves in the head of the cylinder, lower friction losses (due to the reduced distance travelled during each engine rotation) and lower crank stress (due to the lower peak piston speed relative to engine speed). Due to the increased piston- and head surface area, the heat loss increases as the bore/stroke-ratio is increased excessively. Because these characteristics favor higher engine speeds, oversquare engines are often tuned to develop peak torque at a relatively high speed.

The reduced stroke length allows for a shorter cylinder and sometimes a shorter connecting rod, generally making oversquare engines less tall but wider than undersquare engines of similar engine displacement.

Oversquare engine examples

Oversquare engines (a.k.a. "short stroke engines") are very common, as they allow higher rpm (and thus more power), without excessive piston speed.

Examples include both Chevrolet and Ford small-block V8s. The BMW N45 gasoline engine has a bore/stroke ratio of 1.167.

Horizontally opposed, also known as "Boxer" or "flat", engines typically feature oversquare designs since any increase in stroke length would result in twice the increase in overall engine width. This is particularly so in Subaru's front-engine layout, where the steering angle of the front wheels is constrained by the width of the engine. Although oversquare engines have a reputation for being high-strung, low-torque machines, the Subaru EJ engine EJ181 develops peak torque at speeds as low as 3200 rpm.

Nissan's SR16VE engine found in Nissan Pulsar VZ-R and VZ-R N1 is an oversquare engine with 86 mm bore and 68.7 mm stroke, giving it an impressive 175-200 hp but relatively small torque of 119 lb.ft-134 lb.ft

Extreme oversquare engines are found in Formula One racing cars, where strict rules limit displacement, thereby necessitating that power be achieved through high engine speeds. Stroke ratios approaching 2.5:1 are allowed, enabling engine speeds of 18,000 RPM while remaining reliable for multiple races.[4]

The Ducati Panigale motorcycle engine is massively oversquare with a bore/stroke ratio of 1.84:1. It was given the name "SuperQuadro" by Ducati, roughly translated as "super-square" from Italian.[5]

The side-valve Belgian D-Motor LF26 aero-engine has a bore/stroke ratio of 1.4:1.[6]

Early Mercedes-Benz M116 engines have a 92 mm bore and a 65.6 mm stroke for a 3.5 L V8.[7]

Undersquare or long-stroke engine

An engine is described as undersquare or long-stroke if its cylinders have a smaller bore (width, diameter) than its stroke (length of piston travel) - giving a ratio value of less than 1:1.

At a given engine speed, a longer stroke increases engine friction (since the piston travels a greater distance per stroke) and increases stress on the crankshaft (due to the higher peak piston speed). The smaller bore also reduces the area available for valves in the cylinder head, requiring them to be smaller or fewer in number. Because these factors favor lower engine speeds, undersquare engines are most often tuned to develop peak torque at relatively low speeds.

An undersquare engine will typically be more compact in the directions perpendicular to piston travel but larger in the direction parallel to piston travel.

Undersquare engine examples

Many inline engines, particularly those mounted transversely in front-wheel-drive cars, utilize an undersquare design. The smaller bore allows for a shorter engine that increases room available for the front wheels to steer. Examples of this include many Volkswagen, Honda, and Mazda engines. The 1KR-FE-engine used in the Toyota Aygo, Citroën C1 and Peugeot 107 amongst others is an example of a modern long-stroke engine widely used in FF layout cars. This engine has a 71 mm bore and 84 mm stroke giving it a bore/stroke ratio of 0.845:1. Some rear-wheel-drive cars that borrow engines from front-wheel-drive cars (such as the Mazda MX-5) use an undersquare design.

Despite their reputation as low-speed torque machines, some undersquare engines are designed for quite high speeds. The Honda Integra Type R's B18C5 engine has one of the highest redlines (8,400 rpm) of any production engine, yet features an undersquare design. The 2011 Ford Coyote engine is a modern undersquare engine with a 7,000 rpm redline.

BMW's acclaimed S54B32 engine was undersquare (91 millimetres (3.58 in) vs 87 millimetres (3.43 in) bore), offering a world record torque-per-litre figure (84.1 lb·ft per litre) for normally-aspirated production engines at the time; this record stood until Ferrari unveiled the 458 Italia.

Many British automobile companies used undersquare designs until the 1950s, largely because of a motor tax system that taxed cars by their cylinder bore. This includes the BMC A-Series engine, and many Nissan derivatives. The Trojan Car used an undersquare, split piston, two stroke, two cylinder in line engine; this was partly for this tax advantage and partly because its proportions allowed flexing V-shaped connecting rods for the two pistons of each U-shaped cylinder, which was cheaper and simpler than two connecting rods joined with an additional bearing.

The 225 cu in (3.7 litre) Chrysler Slant-6 engine is undersquare, with a 86 millimetres (3.39 in) bore and a 105 millimetres (4.13 in) stroke (bore/stroke ratio = 0.819:1).

The Ford 5.4L Modular Engine features a cylinder bore of 90.2mm (3.552 in) and a stroke of 105.8mm (4.165 in), which makes a bore/stroke ratio of 0.852:1. Since the stroke is significantly longer than the bore, the SOHC 16V (2-valve per cylinder) version of this engine is able to generate a peak torque of 350 lb·ft as low as 2500rpm.

The Willys Jeep L134 and F134 engines were undersquare, with a 79.4 mm (3.125 inches) bore and 111.1 mm (4.375 inches) stroke (bore/stroke ratio = 0.714:1).

The Dodge Power Wagon used a straight-six Chrysler Flathead engine of 230 cu in (3.8 litre) with a bore of 83 millimetres (3.27 in) and a stroke of 117 millimetres (4.61 in), yielding a substantially under-square bore/stroke ratio of 0.709:1.

The 4 litre Barra Inline 6 engine from the Ford Falcon, uses a 92.26mm bore and 99.31mm stroke, which equates to a 0.929:1 bore-stroke ratio. Although considered a performance engine, its proportionally weak valve springs, pistons and conrods cause the engine to redline at 6000 rpm.

The 292 Chevrolet I6 is also under square, with a bore of 3.875 in and a stroke of 4.125 in (bore/stroke ratio = 0.939:1).

Mitsubishi's 4G63T engine found primarily in many generations of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is an undersquare engine at 85 mm bore x 88 mm stroke.

Virtually all piston engines used in military aircraft were long-stroke engines. The PW R-2800, Wright R-3350, Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major, Rolls-Royce Merlin (1650), Allison V-1710, and Hispano-Suiza 12Y-Z are only a few of more than a hundred examples.

All diesel-powered ships have massively undersquare marine engines. A Wärtsilä two-stroke marine diesel engine has a cylinder bore of 960 mm (37.8 in) and stroke of 2500 mm (98.4 in), (bore/stroke ratio = 0.384:1).

While most modern motorcycle engines are square or oversquare, some are undersquare. The Kawasaki Z1300's straight-six engine was made undersquare to minimise engine width, more recently, a new straight-twin engine for the Honda NC700 series used an undersquare design to achieve better combustion efficiency in order to reduce fuel consumption.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Kawasaki 900 Super Four". 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology. Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. Retrieved 6 November 2013. Journalists and riders called it the king of motorcycles, and it gained a reputation as a super sport model all over the world. The Super Four boasted high performance and quality. This best-selling motorcycle won many prizes around the world within only six months of its release. 
  2. ^ "2013 Honda Rebel Specifications". Honda Media Newsroom. American Honda Motor Co. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Yamaha R15 v2.0". Hindustan Times. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "2011F1 Technical Regulations" (PDF). FIA. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Global 700cc Engine for Next-Generation : Technical details". Honda Worldwide. Honda Motor Co. 8 March 2012. p. 5. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Garrett, Jerry (14 September 2012). "Reality Check From Honda, in Touch With Economics". New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.