Bikes join shift to diesel

The de­mand for diesel power is see­ing mo­tor­cy­cle com­pa­nies mov­ing in that di­rec­tion too, writes MARK HINCH­LIFFE

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

JUST as the mo­tor­ing world has ex­pe­ri­enced a boom in diesel car sales in the past decade, mo­tor­cy­cles are ex­pected to be the next fron­tier for oil-burn­ing technology.

There are only a hand­ful of diesel bikes in the world at the moment, but most are one-off projects.

Dutch man­u­fac­turer Track is al­ready sell­ing mass-pro­duced diesel bikes in the Nether­lands and plans to start ex­port­ing to the world from next year, pos­si­bly open­ing the flood gates for diesel bikes.

Track claims its T-800CDI has fuel econ­omy of just 2.5 litres per 100km but it streaks to 100km/h faster than a Porsche 911 turbo.

It is based on a KTM Ad­ven­ture and is ex­pected to cost about $25,000.

The in­ter­cooled 800cc triple is mated to a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion and the whole bike weighs in at a hefty 225kg with­out fuel, com­pared with the stan­dard KTM 990 Ad­ven­ture dry weight of 209kg.

While the power-to-weight ra­tio of diesel pow­er­trains was con­sid­ered the biggest draw- back for mo­tor­cy­cles, mod­ern light­weight ma­te­ri­als are mak­ing them a more prac­ti­cal propo­si­tion.

Amer­i­can mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer Hayes Di­ver­si­fied Tech­nolo­gies has de­vel­oped a civil­ian ver­sion of its M1030 bike, due for sale soon at about $20,000.

At the moment, it’s called an M1030-M2 LE 670, but a more cus­tomer-ori­ented name is ex­pected when it goes on sale to the pub­lic.

The bike is based on a Kawasaki KLR650 but the en­gine is HDT’s 670cc four-stroke, in­di­rect-in­jec­tion liq­uid-cooled sin­gle.

Kawasaki Aus­tralia spokesman Martin Kypr says they have no plans to bring in the mod­i­fied model.

‘‘Many com­pa­nies use ’base’ mod­els and mod­ify to suit spe­cific needs,’’ he says.

‘‘If this was to be­come avail­able for civil­ian sales we would con­sider it along with any other model for Aus­tralia.’’

The HDT bike can run on seven dif­fer­ent fu­els in­clud­ing diesel, biodiesel, JP8 avi­a­tion kerosene and other mil­i­tary fuel vari­ants.

The en­gine may only have 33kW of power, but it has a mas­sive 100Nm of torque, a top speed of 152km/h and more than 650km of fuel range.

Other fea­tures of the bike are a wa­ter-ford­ing depth of 610mm, an op­tional in­frared head­light and camo paint job.

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