Bikes join shift to diesel
The demand for diesel power is seeing motorcycle companies moving in that direction too, writes MARK HINCHLIFFE
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.