Harley-Davidson is working on a new, water-cooled, middleweight engine. Based on patent drawings recently submitted to the European Union Intellectual Property Organization, it looks like the Milwaukee-based brand is working on a new, water-cooled V-twin engine.

This is not the marque’s first water-cooled engine, but it could be the first large scale production one. The move to a more compact water-cooled engine is likely in anticipation of tighter emissions control regulations. Four-wheel vehicles are already meeting the tighter emissions controls and it’s only a matter of time for bikes.

Harley-Davidson files patent for water-cooled middleweight engine image

The patent drawings don’t show very much, but judging by their appearance, the V-twin lacks the distinctive air-cooling fins typically found on air-cooled engines. In addition, several tubes appear to be connected to the center of the cylinders, suggesting the existence of a water-jacket: a feature unique to water-cooled engines.

Besides the drawings themselves, there’s little other detail on the patent like displacement, power, or even compression ratio.

Harley-Davidson files patent for water-cooled middleweight engine image

Nonetheless, the drawings give an interesting glimpse of where Harley-Davidson is planning to hedge its bets on and it bodes very well for emerging markets like ours where middleweight bikes are quite popular.

We’re not sure about which upcoming models will receive this engine, but it’s likely to go to the new non-cruiser models Harley has been planning. Harley may not be your first choice for a sport or adventure bike, but with this new development, it appears they want to be.