Report on the 2007 German Diesel Motorcycle Rally, Hamm.

We arrived at Brauhof Wilshaus at 6pm Thursday after a rather uneventful ride over from Dieppe on the previous day. On this occassion we met Larry on the way and rolled into Hamm as a threesome. As is becoming usual we were preceded by both Adi and Helmut who arrived on their Lombardini and Fuji Robin bikes. And, as is the custom, we were again given a free beer.

Probably the most popular machine, judged by the amont of requested test rides, was the latest creation from Beckedorf. This consisted of a Royal Enfield complete with Punsen V2 engine. The bike sported a twin battery setup for starting and a new 5 speed box which was linked to the engine via a toothed belt. Many had said that this engine was too big to be fitted successfully into such a small frame such as the Enfield but here at least, they seem to have been proved wrong. That said, some riders noted that the front brake was not up to the job of stopping such a heavy machine and that the front wheel came perilously close to the engine on braking. There was some doubt also that the twin batteries would supply the required amount of current over time to start the huge engine. But, criticisms aside, this bike was undoubtably the star of the show and we have to give top marks to Beckedorf for being the first to construct such a wonderful motorcycle. All that remains is for him to put some miles on the clock and prove the reliabilty of these chinese made engines. That will go a long way to ensure that this bike sells.

The popularity of the Beckedorf creation is undoubtedly due to the increased power on offer. From day one every Diesel bike builder has searched for an engine that offers power and economy in the correct proportions. Some have opted for lightweight creations which maximise the power of the smaller engines whilst others fit 2 litre car engines, forgoing economy for all out power. Only time will tell if the Punsen is the answer to our dreams.

There has always been healthy competition between private Diesel bike builders but at the more recent events we have come to see the emergence of real competition between the current concerns that convert bikes. The Sommer bike was in the majority (I counted at least 13 such conversions) but the Diesel Wiesel is starting to make its presence felt. No one can afford to 'rest on their laurels' with the customers eager for more power.

The Vahrenkamp Royal Enfield is similar to the Sommer offering.

A Punsen diesel engine displayed along with gearbox and frame.

Sam Brumby made the trip over with his wife and unveiled his new creation, the 950cc Ruggerinni powered Honda VFR. A closer look will reveal that the bike actually has two engines, the second being from a Yamaha RD350. Sam replaced the crankshaft with a straight bar and blanked off the barrels so he could use the superior gearbox (which being attached to a 2 stroke engine has it's lubrication seperate.) And yes that circular cover was made from an old disc brake. It was turned down on a lathe to be considerably less stubstantial than it was.

These guys from WDR came late afternoon Friday and did a 5 minute piece from the courtyard of Brauhof Wilshaus. The presenter requested that all the Diesel motorcycles be lined up around the edge of the cobbled enclosure and after Rally organisers Rheinhardt and Rafael had been interviewed he turned to us riders and said (in english) "Gentlemen, start your engines!" And, of course, their piece ended with the earth shattering sound of dozens of machines being fired up.

Rafael is interviewed live on German TV Channel WDR.

The British bikes on TV

Full marks to Diesel Dave Warham who rode his Royal Enfield affectionally known as 'Sluggy' all the way out from England. He was rewarded with a place on the poster advertising next years event and, like us other Brits there, had a few seconds of fame as he featured on live German TV.

Rheinhardt also showed his new creation, a bike designed to withstand the rigours of the Russian road system where it will be toured on later next year. With increased suspension above and beyond what we are used to seeing on a diesel bike the builder tells me he is considering fitting a condenser rather than a battery. Although this means the bike will have to be hand started I'm told the capacitor will fully charge in as little as 20 seconds.

Rheinhardts new Russian ready Diesel motorcycle.

2007 saw two Frenchmen attend with bikes. The first rode his 462cc Sommer Royal Enfield while the second brought along two oh his own creations. The first, a Peugeot engined Kawasaki, we had seen before, but the second of his offerings was altogether more impressive. Fitted with a Peugeot HDI lump this machine looked for all the world as if it were a proper production machine. Indeed all the body panels looked as if they had been custom made for this machine. The owner enthusiastically pointed out to us that it used many japanese motorcycles. But one part that wasn't japanese was the gearbox. That came from the good ol' US of A. It was 100% Harley Davidson.

The French do things in style with this huge offering.

In recent years we have seen Sanders custom Diesel bike featured within the pages of Back Street Hero's. This year he brought the bike along with a second creation from the garage of Vim. This machine, like the previous bikes created by these talented Dutch guys was based around the Daihatsu Charade 1 litre triple.

The Hamm rally was again blessed by the presence of Ola who had made the 19 hour drive from Sweden earlier in the week on his Farymann 250cc Rat bike. But if he thought he was going to be the only Farymann riding diesel biker at the event this year he was wrong. One sure way to attract a crowd at these gatherings is to start your bike and that is exactly what the owner of the other Farmann bike did on arrival. On hearing the frantic 'knocking' several of us made our way over and were rewarded with the sight of a highly original and bizarre creation that could itself be mistaken for a Rat bike.

It quickly became obvious that this was a 'themed creation' built along the lines of a haulage or winching vehicle. Apart from it being adorned with various hooks and linkages the 2hp engine actually operated a rear mounted winch via a pulley belt. Black in colour and covered with grease this (yes, ridable) bike could not have looked more workmanlike.

The headlight of this bike was something else. A real candle burned away here just like in a Miners helmet.

Here we see a sidecar outfit which had a disinct military feel about it right down to the small german badge (not visible) on the rear mudguard. The owner told me the frame housed a Robin 420cc engine which produced 10hp.

The Saturday rideout took a good number of bikes about 20 minutes up the road to the annual BSA owners club meeting. Several of the members here own Dieselbikes, including Rudy who once made the trip to the British Rally.

The Diesel Motorcycles visit the BSA Owners club.

Whilst there we were introduced to Rainer Traupel who had brought his self built bike along. When I say self built I mean that this guy actually built his own engine! Only the Gears came from elsewhere (kawasaki). Needless to say I hope he is inspired enough to consider building a high speed diesel motorcycle engine.

Rainer Traupel's Petrol engined motorcycle.

Camping next to me again this year was Peter Assmann. His latest creation consists of a 667cc single cylinder Hatz engine in a Dnepr frame. Named the Bulldog this machine certainly had a 'bark' to it. When started the engine note proved to be a loud, solid thumper. Beautifully turned out, as all his bikes always are, this machine was a real head turner and got plenty of attention.

The Bulldog Hatz Dnepr.

Another biker, a friend of Johnny Flatau turned up on the bike pictured below. Like Johnny's bike it too has a Daihatsu 1 litre engine.

A Daihatsu Dnepr

Late Saturday saw the arrival of two almost identical machines based around the Ford Escort car. These three wheeled vehicles used 1.8litre engines, had turbos and produced 90hp (ps).

One of the two Ford Escort based outfits.

The Danish Adventurer Mr. Henning Bitsch is planning a World Tour round the northern hemisphere - for the environment. He will drive on a Motorcycle powered by CO2 neutral Pure Plant Oil (PPO). Check out his website here.

This Danish bike sports a Kubota engine that runs on Plant oil.

Below we see Nanko's Citroen/Peugeot Moto Guzzi based motorcycle. More information here.

Visit the builders site to see the You Tube movie of this bike running.


Here we see one of the more interesting trailors pulled in by a Diesel motorcycle

Everybody agreed that this years rally was probably the best attended yet with a large number of both people and bikes showing up. I personally counted over 70 Diesel powered machines mostly of Royal (Enfield) Linage but will show here only the new. We also had a Hatz scooter turn up and I will post a picture of that when I can.

The Courtyard at Brauhof Wilshaus

Jeff enjoys the hospitality at Willy's place.

The trip out to the Hamm rally resulted in my bike breaking a head stud which caused much vibration. Fearing that my tank may fracture fellow Diesel biker Axel pointed me in the direction of Mr Frank Just who performed a temporary repair which is still holding good. Frank has a workshop in the German speaking part of Belgium, specialising in repair and refurbishment work and has a liking for British made machine's. You can visit his website here.

Frank Just helps me out of a tight spot by repairing the head steady support.

I must thank the organisers of the Hamm rally for putting on a good show this year. My brother Jeff and I would also like to thank Axel & Bridget for their hospitality and showing us the sites of Aachen and the surrounding district.

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