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  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 07/06/2023

Whenever you read about a motorbike's specifications, you might encounter technical abbreviations such as SOHC, DOHC, etc. These are Single Overhead Camshaft and Dual Overhead Camshaft. A camshaft is an important part of the engine that rotates to help the engine function. The SOHC and DOHC engines have gathered attention due to their superior efficiency and have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Read on to learn about the SOHC vs DOHC difference to make a more informed decision.

Role of Camshaft in an Engine

First, let’s examine what a camshaft accomplishes before explaining how SOHC (Single Overhead Camshaft) and DOHC (Dual Overhead Camshaft) differ.

  • The camshaft is a rotating cylindrical rod with several oblong lobes that protrude from the engine's combustion chamber (whether air-cooled, liquid-cooled or oil-cooled).
  • During each rotation, different lobes push the intake valves to allow air inside the cylinder to mix with fuel and ignite. And then, the exhaust valves let the exhaust gases out.
  • Once the lobe rotates from the valve, valve springs provide the return force to close the valve.
  • SOHC refers to a setup in which one cam controls both intake and exhaust valves.
  • Alternatively, a design with two dedicated camshafts, one for pushing the inlet valves and the other for moving the ones that let gases escape from the cylinder after combustion, is called DOHC.
  • Both camshafts are above the valves for more accurate valve actuation.

Also, an Over Head Valve setup is less efficient than SOHC and DOHC and rarely used today. An OHV engine uses lifters, pushrods, and rocker's arms to operate the valves. The camshaft is inside the engine block. Because of this, an OHV engine is also called a "pushrod" engine.

Due to a more significant number of valve train components, an OHV design has the disadvantage of being hard to control valve timing at high rpm precisely. As a result, OHV designs are better suited for engines with large volumes and higher torque at lower RPMs.

SOHC vs DOHC Engine - Overview

  • SOHC: Only one cam rod drives a SOHC engine's intake and exhaust valves. The head has only one camshaft, and an inline engine will have one camshaft. V-engines and flat engines have two camshafts, one for each cylinder bank.

  • DOHC: Dual Overhead Cams or DOHC stand for Dual Overhead Cams (two overhead cams operate various intake and exhaust valves). There are two camshafts in each header. Consequently, an inline engine contains two camshafts since it only has one header. There are two headers on a flat engine and two on a V engine, which includes four camshafts. DOHC engines typically have four valves. For intake and exhaust valves, there is one camshaft.

What is the Difference Between SOHC and DOHC?

Listed below are the significant differences between SOHC and DOHC.

  • Volume Efficiencies: There is more air-fuel mixture intake and release with DOHC engines than with SOHC engines. You can get a better pickup and engine power with it. An engine with a DOHC design can produce more horsepower than a SOHC design.
  • Lower Band Torque: SOHC engines produce more torque at the lower ends because they are lighter than DOHC engines. SOHC bikes offer the best mileage as a result.
  • Weight: SOHC engines typically have two or three valves per cylinder. This makes SOHC setups lighter than DOHC setups.
  • RPMs: A DOHC engine can implement higher valve configurations smoothly to complete more cycles within a given period. Thus, valves can place themselves in such a way as to maximise their performance. Because of this, the engine produces far greater top-end power than a similar SOHC engine.

SOHC vs DOHC Fuel Efficiency

DOHCs deliver more power due to their ideal valve timing. Double camshafts provide more fuel to the chambers because there are two valve arrangements per camshaft. Fuel consumption increases as a result of more horsepower.

However, it depends on the vehicle plan and the driving ability of the driver to determine if the SOHC is more eco-friendly than the DOHC. The fuel efficiency of your vehicle will be affected similarly by how you maintain it.

SOHC vs DOHC Motorcycle Maintenance Costs

Due to its double camshafts, the DOHC engine has more valves. As you have more mobile parts, this affects maintenance expenses immediately. SOHCs are more efficient because they are less complex. It is less expensive than the DOHC motor.

With one camshaft, you will experience lower maintenance costs than with a DOHC in the future. Due to the complicated nature of the DOHC, maintenance costs and productivity are higher. Anyhow, the need to manufacture DOHC motors results from new vehicle technology.

SOHC vs DOHC Which is Better?

When it comes to DOHC, you can incorporate four valves per cylinder. There are two intake and two exhaust valves. DOHC can produce more gas from the ignition cylinders with this plan. Spark plugs are placed in the middle, making them more effective during ignition.

The power of your vehicle may also be an essential factor to consider. Compared to SOHC engines, DOHC motors produce more power because there is less inertia. You will experience more torque if you move the driving rod faster. Double camshafts allow you to adjust the intake and exhaust valves separately. It is possible to create low and high rpm with one DOHC motor.

It will depend on the potential maintenance costs of which one you choose. SOHC motors are easy to manufacture and use. Therefore, they have fewer motor parts, which makes them more affordable. They are more environmentally friendly. If you do not mind the maintenance expense, you may want to consider the DOHC motor for power and speed.

A bike insurance policy is essential once you choose and purchase your bike. Tata AIG's insurance for a 2-wheeler can protect you against unexpected risks and events. Selecting the right two-wheeler insurance is now easy when you can compare two-wheeler insurance and choose the premiums you can pay and a suitable policy that will protect your bike.


A motorcycle's camshaft setup is an essential factor when buying one. This is because the arrangement significantly impacts the output of power and torque. A bike engine with a DOHC configuration is ideal if you want your bike to produce a lot of horsepower at high speeds. Otherwise, a standard SOHC setup would be sufficient for your needs.

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