Home » This Chunky New Chinese Motorcycle Has A Weird 8-Cylinder Boxer Engine And It’s Absurd

This Chunky New Chinese Motorcycle Has A Weird 8-Cylinder Boxer Engine And It’s Absurd

8 Cylinder Boxer Spud Ts1
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Electric motorcycles have been stealing headlines lately, but manufacturers aren’t yet done playing around with ICE technology. A car company has a new motorcycle engine and it’s a strange one. Great Wall Motor has unveiled a chunky 2.0-liter 8-cylinder boxer engine. This weirdo is slated to go into the equally massive Great Wall Souo S 2000 ST motorcycle that’s supposed to be China’s answer to the Honda Gold Wing. Not only is that engine large, but it’s also the only one of its kind. What in the world is going over there?

I’ve been following the Chinese motorcycle industry for years, far longer than you’ve seen my byline on any website. It wasn’t even a full decade ago when so many Chinese motorcycles were still cheap rips of popular bikes from Japan. Now, many Chinese motorcycle brands are trying to carve out their own paths. This has been exciting to see. Some brands seem to be digging into the past, scooping up ideas abandoned decades ago by brands like Honda. You can now find tiny V4s putting around China and the old motorcycles of the 1980s have been reborn as modern steeds. For some reason, one brand seems rather enamored by girder forks, or at least the appearance of them.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Lately, some Chinese brands have been seemingly obsessed with motorcycles of a lot of girth. Felo seems to be trying to build the world’s largest production electric motorcycle and now Great Wall Motor wants to build a sizable unit, too. The brand has launched a motorcycle sub-brand, Great Wall Souo, a reference to “soul.” The brand’s launch bike is called the S 2000 ST and it’s like a bizzaro universe Gold Wing, but somehow even bigger.

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We’ve written a bit about Great Wall Motor, but it’s worth noting where this is coming from. Great Wall Motor began vehicle production in 1984 with the CC130, a very basic utility truck with a tray on the back. Then came the CC513, an eight-passenger SUV based on what was originally a military design.

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Weirdly, GWM’s recounting of its own history begins in 1990. That year, the nephew of founder Wei Deliang, Wei Jianjun “Jack Wei,” became General Manager of the company. GWM says it finally started turning a profit a few years later. Under Jianjun’s early control, GWM made its first car in 1993. The CC1020 rolled out and to many observers it looks like a clone of a Nissan Cedric. Its subsequent early cars would resemble a Toyota Crown and even the Rolls-Royce Silver Spur.

Great Wall Coolbear 2009 2013 Ha

Fast-forward a lot of years and GWM has grown into a large corporation and Jianjun is a billionaire. GWM has splintered itself off as a variety of brands. Haval builds crossovers, Ora makes cute electric cat-themed cars, Wey is the electric luxury brand, Tank is the off-road brand, and GWM is the truck brand.

Some of Great Wall’s modern cars don’t help stereotypes. I mean, the Great Wall Coolbear above seems more than inspired by the first-generation Scion xB.

1841211 115 长城汽车董事长魏建军与幸福250
GWM General Manager Jack Wei

According to Great Wall, Jianjun had a long interest in motorcycles, but his company has never built any. That appears to be changing this year as the company says it’s taking car technology and is distilling it down to motorcycle size.

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The Great Wall Souo company name and patents started appearing last month, now we get to see what’s been brewing.

The S 2000 ST

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This news comes to us fresh from contributor Tycho de Feijter, then I found the company’s press release on the bike. Great Wall Motor unveiled this motorcycle on May 17 in China and it’s hot off of the press.

Now, the English version of GWM’s website is a mess and describes the motorcycle as a “Great Wall Soul Station Wagon” and that it represents “Search Own, Unlimited Outlook” and “self-pursuit, unlimited vision.” It’s pretty garbled, but I can parse it out for us.

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Great Wall starts off by saying this absolute unit of a motorcycle is equipped with the world’s only horizontally opposed 8-cylinder engine in current production. This part is true. Subaru ended its H6 production in recent years and there’s a boxer six currently in the Honda Gold Wing, but nobody is going as far as making an 8-cylinder boxer. This engine comes in at 2,000cc and it’s a boxer in the true sense. The engine is built with separate crank pins for each piston. The pistons move in the opposite direction of their neighbor on the other side of the engine.

This engine is hooked up to an 8-speed DCT with a reverse gear. It takes on a layout similar to the Gold Wing where the transmission is mounted down low to save on space.

1841204 115 H8 8dct

2024 Gwm Suou Touring 7 1536x102

All of this is held up with what Great Wall says is the world’s first three-layer stepped front suspension, which also has a multi-stage adjustable electronic shock absorber. Again, that’s broken English, but it just sounds like the motorcycle has an electrically adjustable suspension on both corners, which is about as you’d expect on a flagship motorcycle like this.

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Great Wall also says the motorcycle is built with a welded aluminum frame devoid of any screws. Brembo 4-piston calipers stop the show in the front and the rear.

1841208 115 全球首创3

Saving space was necessary, too. This motorycle already measures 104 inches long with a wheelbase of 71 inches and a seat height of 29.1 inches. To put that into perspective, a Honda Gold Wing is 97 inches long with a wheelbase of 66.7 inches and a seat height of 29.3 inches. Great Wall doesn’t say how heavy the S 2000 ST is, but I wouldn’t expect it to be lighter than a loaded, 847-pound Honda Gold Wing.

As for the design, the S 2000 ST looks a little bit like a Gold Wing, but with far more curves. I’ll just let Great Wall take the mic:

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Great Wall Soul Station Wagon draws design inspiration from the “Chinese Lion Dance”, and every detail exudes the charm of Eastern aesthetics, reflecting the aesthetic characteristics of “meaning in things” in Eastern culture. The headlights are designed with “Smart Light Language” as the source of their design. They are smart and spirited, symbolizing wisdom and courage. The posture of the vehicle is based on the design direction of “ready to go” before a lion jumps, and every turn of the side lines of the vehicle is The curves and bends are just right, outlining the visual perception of a low center of gravity, like a crawling lion about to dance, showing a profound understanding of “agility” and “majesty” in Eastern aesthetics, which is powerful and shocking. The through-type taillights echoing the headlights reveal a kind of elegance and sophistication between light and shadow, like a work of art, fully demonstrating the unique taste and pursuit of the car owner.

Like many Chinese products, the Great Wall Sono S 2000 ST is loaded down with tech. There’s a 12.3-inch touch screen controlling the motorcycle that’s powered by a Qualcomm SA8155P Snapdragon SoC. It features over the air updates, but Great Wall otherwise doesn’t talk about everything the screen can do.

1841203 115 12.3英寸lcd

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What I can tell you is that the motorcycle has an automatic parking brake, electrically adjustable windshield, cruise control, heated grips, an eight-speaker sound system, a heated seat, and what appears to be a navigation system. Of course, like any good touring bike, Great Wall says you get storage cases. The side cases hold 118L each. Some of these functions are carried out through a dial just behind the handlebars. Safety systems include a collision warning system and a blind spot monitoring system.

Great Wall Souo is thus far quiet on exact pricing, sales markets, and the engine’s output. That said, the company expects to get the first S 2000 STs on the road in China soon.

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Honestly, I haven’t stopped laughing since I started writing this. Some might say that Great Wall is copying Honda, but I’d say they were more inspired by the likes of Ferdinand Piëch. It seems the theme of this motorcycle is “more is more,” which is exactly how Volkswagen used to be. This motorcycle has a bigger engine than a Gold Wing with a bigger screen and a substantially bigger body. Great Wall’s strategy to beat Honda seems to be “go bigger,” which is just silly when you’re talking about motorcycles.

Maybe I’m a masochist, but I’d love to see maybe just one of these come to America just so I could see what riding a two-wheeled tank would be like. At the very least, that engine sounds pretty awesome. I’m already thinking about the other vehicles I’d love to see it put into. An H8 Golf GTI, anyone?

Images: Great Wall Motor

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WM
WM
2 months ago

I think this thing is great. I’ve been getting a little tired of midsize bike after midsize bike getting released its fun to see something so absolutely bonkers! But the writing on that website, surely a billion dollar company could invest in someone who can write in other languages, I mean I get there’s a language barrier but just put one more person in the chain just to make sure reads like it wasn’t written by a robot

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
2 months ago

GTI? Feh! Shoehorn it, somehow, into a Karmann Ghia. Or an off-brand, fibreglass 356 replica. Or a 912, for maximum trolling.

Ignacio Gonzalez
Ignacio Gonzalez
2 months ago
Reply to  Gilbert Wham

Honda S600 is the right answer, then you can buy an S2000 badge for it

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
2 months ago

My god that is probably the most fetid load of designer word salad bullshit I’ve ever read. And having sat in a few presentations from SAIC, I’ve heard some nonsense.

Lars Washburn
Lars Washburn
2 months ago

would love more info on the flat 8 engine. if up to the task, my dream application would be to toss it into a Citroen DS.

Ineffable
Ineffable
2 months ago

put this thing up there with bro-traders and skyscrapers as signs of an inflating (chinese) bubble

Vee
Vee
2 months ago

That’s too damn big even for a touring cruiser. The forks have a pretty significant rake to them because of how far back the seat is, and they don’t want you hunched over like it’s a superbike. And the engine shoves the center of gravity very far forward instead of being in the middle of the wheels, which never feels good on a bike. All that must make this thing a bitch to ride at low speeds and extremely prone to death wobbles at high speed.

Bhtooefr
Bhtooefr
2 months ago
Reply to  Vee

It doesn’t have a conventional suspension geometry, though, apparently it has a Hossack-style suspension like BMW (“Duolever” on the transverse K bikes) and Honda (on the current Gold Wing) use (based on what Cycle World reported: https://www.cycleworld.com/motorcycle-news/great-wall-souo-flat-eight-revealed/). So, it can have a lot of rake while having completely different suspension travel behavior. Compare a Gold Wing, with 30.5 degree rake: https://powersports.honda.com/motorcycle/touring/-/media/products/family/gold-wing-tour/hero/hero-left/gold-wing-tour/2024/2024-gold-wing-tour-hero-503×257.jpg

This also means that, especially with the Honda version of Hossack suspension, they can probably put the steering axis in an arbitrary location relative to the fork (and I think they did, it looks notably behind the fork), as Honda uses tie rods to connect the handlebars to the steerer.

Vee
Vee
2 months ago
Reply to  Bhtooefr

If that’s true then it doesn’t sound as bad as I was imagining. But that does bring into question where exactly the front fork’s Y-axis rotation is relative to the front wheel and the rider. If it’s further forward and lower down that’s not bad. If it’s some weird shit where it’s above the waist like some of those aftermarket sport bike-to-longtail conversions I’ve seen it may be only a slightly lesser problem than I originally imagined.

Bhtooefr
Bhtooefr
2 months ago
Reply to  Vee

Given that this bike copies the Gold Wing in a lot of ways… here’s an animation of how the current Gold Wing’s front end works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xoeH1u7kOc

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
2 months ago
Reply to  Vee

Ot is so very, very boomertastic, is it not? Look at the seats!

James Carson
James Carson
2 months ago

Needs lift mechanism for when you drop it. Goldwings are a bugger to right whenthey go over. CBX were lighter but still a struggle.

Pointy Deity
Pointy Deity
2 months ago

Looking forward to a RevZilla video where they put one of these up against a Boss Hoss. On an indoor trials course.

Santiago Iglesias
Santiago Iglesias
2 months ago

automatic… park… brake… they put an EPB on a motorcycle?????????????? can you find a picture of the rear wheel that’s not covered up with bags??

Joe L
Joe L
2 months ago

I was always hoping that, once Porsche hit 4.0L in the 911, that they’d move to a flat-8.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe L

Porsche made some flat 8 racing engines in the 60s before building the flat 12 917 and various turbos.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
2 months ago

Ehh, won’t sell. As popular as the Goldwing is, it’s still a blip on the sales sheets here in the US. I don’t see this giving the Goldwing a run for its money at all. Heck, the terrific K1600B doesn’t sell worth a damn.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

Anecdotally, based on my Facebook Marketplace browsing, it seems like they sell a LOT of Chinese Groms. Like close to as many as Honda sells actual Groms.

IDM3
IDM3
2 months ago

A motorcycle. So this is how Great Wall will enter the US market. Then the trucks and SUVs will follow.

Great Wall is definitely targeting Honda, but they (and SIAC, Geely, and nearly every other Chinese brand) are also imitating Volkswagen with multiple brands under its umbrella. I’m guessing tractors will be next (shades of International Harvester).

Watch out, BYD.

Luix PLS
Luix PLS
2 months ago

I’m sure they will cash that motor selling it as retrofit kit for all VW air cooled vehicles, love to seen a thing with this B-8, or a Vocho ( VW sedan for Mex homies), or even a westfalia!!!

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago

Does the crank have adjoining opposing journals or are they separated by mains? I know 250cc isn’t large, but off hand and with limited reference to gauge size, the heads look fairly short for 9 mains unless it’s pretty undersquare. I wonder what it sounds like.

Reasonable Pushrod
Reasonable Pushrod
2 months ago

I saw the picture of the bike and thought it said ‘Soup’ on it. So I’m going to call this the Soup.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
2 months ago

One of the upgrade options for the rear box is going to be a bootleg customized InstantPot so you can make soup, rice, dumplings, etc while on the open road.

OldJackBurton
OldJackBurton
2 months ago

It is certainly a souped up bike.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago

I thought it was “Spud” with shadow hiding the lower part of the “p”.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
2 months ago

“This motorycle already measures 104 inches long with a wheelbase of 71 inches and a seat height of 29.1 inches. To put that into perspective, a Honda Gold Wing is 97 inches long with a wheelbase of 66.7 inches”
Wonder what the current record for longest production motorcycles is.
Böhmerland, a Czechoslovakian motorcycle manufacturer in the 1920s and 30s, produced a 4-seater (!!) model, the Langtouren, which had a wheelbase of 3.2 meters or 126 inches.
http://zabytkowemotocykleirowery.pl/file/bohmerland_2/img_3.jpg
http://zabytkowemotocykleirowery.pl/file/bohmerland/img_2.jpg
(In case the above two links don’t work, here’s another picture: https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/1937-bohmerland-603cc-langtouren-panoramic-images.jpg)
Böhmerland also produced sidecars to go with their various models so it’s possible that a Langtouren so equipped would’ve been a 5-seater motorcycle… in any case, Böhmerlands are lovely and colorful examples of early 20th century motorcycles, especially with sidecars:
https://cars.bonhams.com/_next/image.jpg?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimg2.bonhams.com%2Fimage%3Fsrc%3DImages%2Flive%2F2012-12%2F08%2F8690645-3-1.jpg&w=1200&q=75
https://cars.bonhams.com/_next/image.jpg?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimg2.bonhams.com%2Fimage%3Fsrc%3DImages%2Flive%2F2012-12%2F08%2F8690645-3-3.jpg&w=1200&q=75

Last edited 2 months ago by Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
2 months ago

Ha, yeah. As for “The wheels are in different postal codes!” here’s this custom motorcycle called Roadog built by an engineer and customizer in 1965 and was some 17 feet long: https://nationalmcmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/roadog_32-6.jpg

Last edited 2 months ago by Collegiate Autodidact
Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
2 months ago

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Alabama has one of the 4-seater Böhmerlands. I don’t remember if they have any of the sidecar rigs.

Mercedes, have you ever been to Barber? For motorcyclists, it’s akin to Catholics going to the Vatican (but way better, for reasons). That seems like a destination worthy of an Autopian group expedition, lead by you. The folks that run the place are very cool, and I can imagine you convincing them to let a few of you get up to some shenanigans on the track.

At the very least, maybe an Autopian group photo astride the long Czech?

Last edited 2 months ago by Dead Elvis, Inc.
Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago

Anytime, it seems, motorcycle brands try to package silly engines: the whole package ends up compromised.

Both the Honda CBX and anything Boss Hoss come to mind. With engines too large for ground clearance, extend the frame to either have an oversized wheelbase (compromising handling), or shortening the swingarm (compromising handling & suspension damping).

I know the CBX often gets a pass, as it has some fans, but it’s a rather silly thing next to a similar (overall) scale CB750.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
2 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Not sure why you think this engine is so compromising. BMW offers a 1.6L inline-6, and the bikes are great.

Triumph offers a far larger 2.5L inline-3 and it’s fucking awesome… though, yeah, I guess it’s compromised.

And then brands like MotoGuzzi and Curtiss offered 8 cylinder engines, though, they are old enough that I’m not ready to call them compromised. They weren’t really any more compromised than any other bike from their respective eras.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

I didn’t explicitly lay that claim, more my musings out loud.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

The Curtiss was a pioneer era machine and the Guzzi V8was carefully packaged for handling because it was intended as a GP bike. Interestingly the Honda NR500 oval piston V4 was intended to be a V8 but Moto GP had banned V8s in response to Moto-Guzzi in the 50s. The last serious attempt was the 1994 Morbidelli V8 which was dropped as too expensive to build after a few prototypes.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
2 months ago

Finally! Something to cross-shop with the Boss Hoss!

Bhtooefr
Bhtooefr
2 months ago

Wonder if you could get good cotomer sevis buying a frame for one of these.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
2 months ago
Reply to  Bhtooefr

No one ever do good cotomer sevis.

Last edited 2 months ago by Gilbert Wham
Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
2 months ago
Reply to  Bhtooefr

AliExpress will have it before too long.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
2 months ago

That engine needs to go in a Porsche Boxster, to genuinely horrify the purists. An homage to the 904 and 906 and other cars fitted with the 2-litre Typ 771 flat-eight engine.

Also, am I the only one who looks at the Souo logo whose brain sees “SPUD”?

Adam Rice
Adam Rice
2 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

My brain wanted to read it as SQUID

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago

Did Ferrari ever make a flat-8, like for the Mondial, or are all Ferrari 8s in a Vee configuration?
Has anyone ever done a flat 8?
Bonus points to Great Wall for making it a real boxer, unlike those Ferrari fakers.

CU_Wallaby
CU_Wallaby
2 months ago

My favorite Ferrari one was probably the 365 GT4 BB. Just something about calling it a Berlinetta Boxer and then giving it a flat non-boxer engine amuses me.

Dodd Lives
Dodd Lives
2 months ago

Not automotive, but Lycoming has been making a 722 cubic inch flat-8 for light aircraft since 1961. https://www.lycoming.com/engines

Joe L
Joe L
2 months ago
Reply to  Dodd Lives

Ah yes, as seen in the Piper Comanche 400, my dream piston single. Engine and airframe both made in Pennsylvania!

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
2 months ago

All the Lion Dance lions I have seen have been very brightly-colored oranges and reds, often with dragony scales and lots of whiskers. Does anyone know a good airbrush artist?

Piston Slap Yo Mama
Piston Slap Yo Mama
2 months ago

I can’t wait to see my local bro pull up to a light, put his Yeezy-clad foot down on an oil spot and dump this monster like a beached whale.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
2 months ago

The “SOUO” badge on the fairing looks like “SPUD” in the pictures.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

I misread it as SCUD (like the missile) and thought that was a great name for a big motorcycle.

And then I re-read, incorrectly again, as SQUID and thought it was a dumb name.

I finally determined it was SOUO and doubled down on it being a really dumb name.

Bearddevil
Bearddevil
2 months ago

That engine would probably be pretty cool in a Caterham chassis.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
2 months ago
Reply to  Bearddevil

To be fair, what wouldn’t? I’m sure it’d be possible to have fun with a Briggs & Stratton- powered Seven.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
2 months ago

Summary: The new S2000 will have a flat-8 engine

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