5 Key Differences Between Harley’s Milwaukee-8 & Twin Cam – 2024 Guide

Engine is the heart of any vehicle, be it a motorcycle or a car. Especially in the case of motorcycles, riders love to get maximum power from them. Often, at red signals it is required that the acceleration provided by the bike be high. The quick stop, quick start ability is deemed necessary. Harley Davidson is one of the oldest and beloved manufacturers of motorcycles.

In the long run it has produced some incredible beasts in terms of engine integrity. Two of those engines are the Milwaukee 8 and Twin Cam. Whenever a motorcycle is to be selected for purchase, certain facts regarding the engine should be considered. The key differences between Harley’s Milwaukee-8 and Twin Cam must also be considered.

Comparing The Milwaukee 8 And Twin Cam

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1. Time Of Production

The Milwaukee 8 is a more recent innovation in the series of engines that Harley Davidson has produced in the long years of its existence in the market. It was developed in the year 2016. The Milwaukee 8 has been used in motorcycles produced since then. The twin cam on the other hand had been stopped from use since 2017.

It is obvious to state that the twin cam was an older version. Harley Davidson is not known for its repeated advancements on a large scale. They tend to stick to components that have proven to be effective over time. Therefore, a change in a vital component like the engine indicates that the change is major.

2. Structural Features

Source: ultimatemotorcycling.com

The first and foremost characteristic of any engine is its capacity. The predecessor of Milwaukee 8, twin cam, has five variants 88 cu, 95 cu, 96 cu, 103 cu, 110 cu that have a capacity of 1.450 liters, 1.550 liters, 1.584 liters, 1.690 liters and 1.801 liters respectively. These capacities are brilliant for most motorcycles. The Milwaukee 8 on the other hand has 107cu, 114 cu,117 cu that provide 1.750 liters, 1.870 liters, and 1.920 liters of capacity respectively. Clearly the latest model of Milwaukee 8 is superior in terms of its capacity.

3. Acceleration

The sole purpose of an engine is to propel the vehicle that it has been installed in. The rate at which the speed of an object increases is known as acceleration. It is necessary to have a genuine competence in acceleration as bikes need to be stopped and cruised at frequent intervals.

If the bike takes too long to speed up, shifting to upper gears becomes a slower process. In the traffic, it will slow down other vehicles on the road and might cause commotions. Therefore a certain level of acceleration is set as the standard beyond which higher prowess enables bikes to speed through the traffic.

The distinction between the two generations of Milwaukee 8 and twin cam cannot be determined in absolute figures. Different models of motorcycles are installed to accelerate at unique rates. Therefore an estimation of averages can be done. The latest engine of Milwaukee 8 offers about eight to eleven percent greater acceleration compared to the twin cam.

4. Cooling

Source: ultimatemotorcycling.com

An engine combusts fuel by rapidly moving its pistons back and forth. The combustion produces energy for the motors to be rotated. When the engine is run and the accelerator is turned to increase, the pistons move even faster. Such rapid motions produce tremendous amounts of heat energy as a by-product. This must be dissipated so that the engine does not overload and burn itself off.

Modern vehicle systems ensure that whenever an active component is overheated, it shuts down to prevent damage to other parts. Therefore, to prevent the engine from shutting down on itself, a cooling system is integrated into it.

The twin cam uses an air cooling system. The pistons in the combustion chamber are constantly trickled on by some coolant oils. This process allows the pistons to remain cool enough to perform efficiently. Its successor in the form of Milwaukee 8 has different cooling systems for different versions. The 107 cu has two variants itself.

One of them is typically air cooled like the twin cam. Certain motorcycle models have these configurations. The other variant of 107 cu along with the 117 cu have a liquid cooling mechanism. The liquid cooling is applied to the crown or heads of the engine. Liquid cooling works better than air cooling mechanisms due to their natural ability to absorb more heat that has been radiated.

5. Exhaust

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Another factor that keeps the engine smoothly running throughout its life is the exhaust. The vapors and carbon affluents that are generated in the combustion chamber are released through the exhaust pipe. The Milwaukee 8 is much more sustainable in terms of the twin cam due to its reduced emissions.

There are certain standards set by the pollution boards and environmental organizations around the world. The Milwaukee 8 has more efficient systems to ensure that the air used in the combustion is left cleaner than the twin cam.


Both the engines are from the same manufacturer, Harley Davidson. Therefore it is imperative that one can be assured of the quality of both engines. As mentioned earlier, the efficiency of the engine matters a lot. When the maximum horsepower that is achieved by an engine is elevated, the time in which a motorcycle can reach a cruising speed from rest, is reduced.