Harley Davidson Evo vs Twin Cam – Whats the Difference?

Harley Davidson Evo vs. Twin-cam – what are the differences? This is a question that many people ask, especially if they’re considering purchasing one of these bikes.

There are many similarities between both models, but there are also some key differences to be aware of before making your decision. In this blog post, we’ll discuss Harley Davidson Evo vs. twin-cam comparison and highlight the pros and cons of each bike!


Harley Evolution (EVO) Engine Overview

What are Evo engines? Harley Evo engine is a variation on the twin-cam design, which has been in production since 1999. The Evo design was introduced to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). It can be found in select models of Softail bikes, namely: Heritage Softail Classic, Fat Boy, Deuce, and the FXS Softail Blackline.

The Evo engine is a liquid-cooled, rubber-mounted v-twin with two valves per cylinder. It has a displacement of 69 cubic inches (cubic centimeters), resulting in an Evo engine compression ratio of just over ten to one – lower than that found on most evolutions. This compression ratio helps the Evo engine produce more torque and a smoother ride. The Evo has an Evo crankshaft, which is lighter than previous models, helping to improve efficiency.

The Harley Davidson Evo engines are hand-built in two overseas plants – either Manaus Brazil or Bawal India. They are then shipped back to the United States, assembled at Harley Davidson’s Kansas City plant. The Evo engine is a derivative of the twin-cam design, with Evo heads and Evo crankcases. It has oil squirters for piston cooling (eliminating one oil passage), an Evo balancer unit, hydraulic tappets, an Evo cam chain tensioner, Evo pushrods, and roller rockers.

Harley Davidson Twin Cam Engine System Overview

Harley decided to develop a more potent engine as a result of the Evolution engines’ shortcomings. One that not only addressed the problems but also took Harley down the road and into the future. This is to say, an engine that does not leak has enough space for performance potential and adheres to EPA standards. Above all, it should be reliable.

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The single gear-driven camshaft design was removed as the first step, and a chain-driven system was employed instead.

Because a two-camshaft design was required to maintain the classic V-twin profile, it was utilized. As a result, the new engine became widely known as the Twin Cam Engine. It’s Harley’s newest engine, which was introduced in mid-1998. And it went out on rubber-mounted big twins in 1999 and 2000.

The engine’s construction has been improved to improve performance, as with the other models. The EPA required specifications have been satisfied by its dual chain gear drive mechanism. As a consequence, this motor is the most eco-friendly of its predecessors due to its superior design.

In terms of performance, the Twin Cam engine outperformed the Evo. In other words, TC has a displacement power of 88ci (1450), which is greater than Evo’s 80ci (1340).

It also has more torque power, which ensures greater dependability. As a result, it is the most powerful Harley ever created.

It also features improved fuel injection, which is superior to the Evo versions.

The major benefit of Twin Cam is its internal brand reputation. This engine technology is found in Dynas, Softails, Sportsters, Touring bikes, and others. Most significantly, this unit has been updated to accommodate new model launches.

Harley Davidson Evo vs. Twin Cam Engine Systems Similarities

Perhaps we should start by determining what these units have in common. The obvious thing is that they are both made by Harley-Davidson. As a result, the design of these products focuses on providing outstanding power, accuracy, and performance. They all feature modified versions of their line’s standard models, ideally suited for the line’s legends.

Differences between Harley Evo vs. Twin Cams

There are several significant differences between these two unit styles; the most important that we can immediately see is that one engine uses a standard transmission, and the other uses an automatic tranny. There are also slight variations in their price tags and fuel efficiency levels and some changes to certain components, such as the bike’s wheels.

One engine has a displacement of 45 cubic inches (745 cm³), while the other has 96 cubic inches (1550 cm³). We can also see that the Evo comes in both four- and six-speed transmissions, while we only get one choice with the Twin Cam.

Last but not least, there are some changes to certain parts like their flywheels and camshafts and the engine’s compression ratios.

Oiling system and combustion chamber. The Evo has a dry-sump system that features an external oil tank. The Twin Cam, on the other hand, uses a separate wet sump with its internal oil reservoir.

Compression Ratio is another significant factor in these engine styles is their compression ratios. The Evo has a compression ratio of nine to one, while the Twin Cam is set at eight point three five to one.

Both engines come with hydraulic lifters and four valves per cylinder; however, there are some slight changes here. The Evo features an adjustable pushrod system for its rocker arms, which allows riders to adjust valve lash without removing the cams. The Twin Cam, on the other hand, has self-adjusting hydraulic lifters that automatically adjust pushrod clearance as needed during operation.

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All of these factors contribute to the differences in their price tags.


How much does an Evo cost?

Harley Davidson’s 2015 price for its new model is $18,899. The Harley-Davidson 2016 price for this product starts at $19,099.

How much does a Twin Cam cost?

The 2015 price for the Harley-Davidson 2016 product starts at $ 17,899 and goes up to $ 19.099 in its latest model year. The average estimate is around $ 18,500 per bike when it comes to this engine style.

What are some of the differences between Twin Cam vs. Evo?

One of the most significant things that we can immediately point out is their transmission systems. The Evo uses a standard six-speed tranny, while the Twin Cam has an automatic gearbox design. There are also some slight changes to certain components, such as camshafts and flywheels and their compression ratios.

When it comes to price tags, the Evo is a bit more expensive than the Twin Cam due to its lighter weight and faster engine speed. However, when you consider how many miles per tank both of these engines can offer at this time, they are almost on par with one another. The last difference that we would like to point out is their displacement. The Evo has a 45 cubic inches (745 cm³) engine, while the Twin Cam comes with 96 cubic inches (1550 cm³).

What are some of the benefits that you get by choosing an Evo over a Twin Cam?

We can say that the Evo has a higher speed limit, making it ideal for riders who want to travel long distances on their bikes. The next difference is in terms of weight and comfort. This engine style comes with a lighter construction compared to its other twin-cylinder counterpart. Lastly, we can say that this unit also provides more power when you need it, which is perfect for those who want to speed up and get on the move.

What are some of the benefits that you can acquire by choosing a Twin Cam over an Evo?

We want to mention its automatic gearbox design; this makes it easier for riders who don’t know how to shift gears. Another difference is that the Twin Cam provides a smoother acceleration than its twin-cylinder brother, making it ideal for beginners to ride on this engine style. Last but not least, we can say that both of these units come with hydraulic lifters and four valves per cylinder; however, there are some slight changes here as

How long do Harley twin cam engines last?

This engine style has a solid lifespan of about 200,000 miles, with its toughest part being the valves and valve seats which are known to wear out faster than most parts on the bike.

What are some of the parts that you need to replace often?

The first thing we can point out is its valves and valve seats which tend to wear down faster than most components on this engine style. The next part would be its clutch, so it’s best if you buy an aftermarket replacement for your Harley-Davidson 2016 model if it’s starting to show signs of damage. It would be best if you also replaced your spark plugs now and then and the rear wheel bearings, which are known to go bad after about 60,000 miles or so on this bike style.

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Is the 103 Harley engine reliable?

Of course, it is. It has passed many tests for reliability and safety under the harshest conditions! This includes torture testing by Harley-Davidson engineers who repeatedly revved an engine at full throttle until failure to test durability. They ran engines without oil or coolant over 150°C (300°F) below zero in Canada and destroyed five engines before the first one could pass their standards.

The engine is also well-known for its components, such as wide base bevel drive cams and valves; large radius crankshaft bearings; aluminum pistons with cooling fins; chrome alloy cylinders; and more! All of these make it reliable!

Why do Harleys Davidson motorcycles vibrate so much?

The main reasons for Harley-Davidson motorcycles to vibrate so much are the design of the frame, engine vibration, and weight distribution.

Harley Davidson motorcycles have a stiffer frame than most other bikes because they are built on heavier machines that need more support. The engines in Harleys are longitudinally-mounted, which means they are mounted lengthwise. This makes the engine vibrate more than a transverse engine centered under the rider’s seat rather than in front of it, like most other motorcycles. Weight distribution contributes to vibration because when you put weight forward, it will cause your bike to weave or sway, and tires wear out faster. It also causes excess stress on the front of the motorcycle.

How many miles will a twin cam 96 last?

A twin-cam 96 is an engine with two cams. A camshaft has lobes that open and close valves in the cylinder head to allow air and fuel inside an internal combustion engine. The more lifters you have on your cam, the faster it opens and closes valves, allowing greater airflow into your cylinders. This is why a twin cam 96 engine will outlast one with fewer cams, typically 100,000 miles without requiring major servicing with regular maintenance.

What is the horsepower of a Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engine?

This engine makes 80 horsepower at 5,200 pm. The torque of this engine is 82 ft-lb at 3,500 pm. Depending on what motorcycle it is installed on, the engine’s bore and strokes and its horsepower and torque ratings may vary.

Is Milwaukee 8 better than twin cam?

The cylinder heads of the M8’s are more efficient than those of Twin Cams. The combustion chamber is better fuel-distributed due to two intake valves and plugs, allowing for more thorough fuel consumption. The high-temperature area surrounding the exhaust valves is also cooled, lowering NOx emissions. Cleaner burning also implies more efficiency.

What is the cost of rebuilding a Harley engine?

The overall expenses of a motorcycle engine rebuild can range from $500 to $8,000 for a professional to finish it. If you are doing the rebuild yourself, a small-block engine can cost as low as $300.

Can a Harley Davidson 96 cubic inch engine run on veggie oil?

Harley engines cannot easily convert to alternative energy sources such as vegetable oil or biodiesel because these fuels require different temperature ranges and viscosities than gasoline. To make this conversion, you would have to purchase an aftermarket kit.

What is the cost of a Harley Davidson twin cam 96?

The initial retail price for a new Twin Cam motorcycle engine ranges from $18,000-$38,000, depending on which model it’s being put into. The engines are hand-assembled by trained technicians so that the prices can vary depending on their time and labor.

Is the Harley-Davidson 96 and 103 heads identical?

Both motors have the same valve and chamber sizes. The only difference is the 103 has a thicker deck. The 96 motor has an exposed spark plug, while the 103 looks like any other Harley with its enclosed plugs.

Final thoughts – Evo vs. Twin Cam

No matter which one you choose, both of these units will provide a satisfying ride. They both have their unique benefits and features, and differences that may make one more suitable for your needs than the other.

In general, though, we can say that Harley-Davidson Evo is designed to be lighter and faster with its four-speed transmission. Meanwhile, the Twin Cam is heavier, and a bit slower with its six-speed tranny but offers a more relaxed ride thanks to its automatic gearbox design.

By Jacob - The Rider

Hi, my name is Jacob. I'm the founder of Backyard Rider Mag - a blog about motorcycles. I've studied engineering in college but decided to make blogging my career because it really aligned with what I wanted to do creatively - talk about bikes! I've been riding for 16 years now- everything from sportbikes to cruisers, dirtbikes or even dual sports. And after all these years on the road, there are still new bikes that excite me just as much as when I first started riding.


  1. I traded my fatboy and did all work on it myself. Put 99k on it without many issues. Electra glide standard on trade. Just picked up Evo n was wondering is clutch adjustment same on fatboy as evo

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