Difference Between Power And Torque Explained Faran Kashif


Farhan Kashif 

When we talk about how powerful a motorcycle is, what actually we are referring to? is it the power output of the bike's engine or the Torque figure? In fact, it is a matter of big debate ever since the first automobile engine was invented. Try to ask the same question to your fellow bikers or friends and I bet you will get as many numbers of answers as you could ever imagine and on top of that none will satisfy you with their answers either.


Once you are convinced that you don't know the exact meaning of the Power & Torque in terms of automobile engines and try to find out same on the World Wide Web, all you get is more confusing jargon, complicated explanations and there you are, even more confused than before.......!!

Believe me, the same has happened to me, it is a common experience that even I share with you. That very moment motivated me to write about this very important yet common topic in simple language. While explaining the otherwise scientific terminologies I will try not to involve any scientific language or Mathematical calculations to save you from harassment. To begin with, we will take on the definitions of both Power and Torque.
  • Power: The Power produced by any engine is the capacity of that engine to take the motorcycle to its maximum speed.
  • Torque: The Torque generated by an engine is an entity that determines the pulling capacity of the bike.
You are not getting it?  Don't worry, you will understand that when we elaborate it a little further.

Understanding Power:

Let's start with Power, suppose the Power of your bike is 17 Ps and the engine produces it at moderate 8000 Rpm. This means the engine starts producing power at different Rpm but tops to the maximum of 17 Ps when it reaches 8000 Rpm. In other words, to extract the maximum power from your bike which is 17 Ps, in this case, you have to rev your bike's engine to 8000 Rpm.

Now, considering the definition given above, the more the power of your bike's engine has the more speed it gets. That means if your bike has Top Speed of 120 Kmph with 17 Ps of power if somehow the power of your bike increases it will be able to achieve higher Top speed than before. Generally, the petrol engines which are also called "Suicidal in nature" extract the peak power at higher RPMs, as you go higher on the power band it will start coming out at higher RPMs given the other factors remaining the same.

If Power is related to the potential of an engine to achieve its Top Speed, then what role the Torque plays in an engine?

Understanding Torque:

While we explain the Torque you need to remember that we had defined the Torque as an entity that is responsible for the rate with which your bike pulls you. In simpler terms, while Power is related to the "Top Speed" of the bike the Torque is related to the "Acceleration". The more Torque your bike's engine generates the more quickly your bike accelerates. Therefore the Torque of the motorcycle is responsible for its "Pickup".

Now, the peak Torque of an engine comes at certain Rpm and it is better if the peak torque comes at early Rpm because the acceleration itself means quick movement and who wants higher Torque at higher Rpm, which directly means that to accelerate the bike at its max you need to take it to higher Rpm first, which obviously takes time to reach there and spoiling the very existence of so-called higher Torque figure.

The higher Torque also means that you need not change gears at a frequent interval to keep your bike into perfect powerband. In fact which is better? Torque or Power? it depends on the preferred riding style.

Power Or Torque?

Depending upon the preferred riding style, one can choose Power over Torque and visa Versa. If you want a motorbike that can accelerate at a good pace and which you can pull up virtually at speeds as low as 20 Kmph in top gear without changing gears, perhaps you need a bike with Higher Torque values.

But if the Top Speed is what you've always dreamt of then go for a bike which has higher Power figures. Of course, there is a whole lot of World lies in between. In normal riding conditions, we need a bike which can hold good at both the Worlds. This can be achieved by balancing both Torque and Power figures in such a way that the bike can do a fair bit of Top Speed along with sufficient Torque to survive the city traffic riding conditions.

One thing should be remembered that both Power and Torque are not only dependent upon each other but also it is important at which Rpm these figures are topping out. A higher Torque producing motorcycle engine is useless without sufficient Power because while you accelerate with higher Torque you are going nowhere without sufficient Power which is responsible for taking you to the top speed. Similarly, a high Power generating motorcycle engine is of no use without sufficient Torque, as what would you do with the maximum top speed which would take you to ride the bike on a straight line for 2 hours to attain it.

Folks, I am sure this article must have created as many doubts in your minds as it has solved. I urge you to ask all your doubts here because it would lead us to a better understanding of the topic.

Please do let us know about other topics of your interest, what would you like us to take on?

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