The 2016 International Diesel Motorcycle Rally, Hamm, Deutschland.
BMW Boxer Diesel conversion.
I must say that I thought the 2016 international diesel Treffen
was an outstanding event. As well as being treated to some marvellous motorcycles
from yesteryear, we were also served up some very new and well engineered
bikes from the present. Breaking cover for the first time were the BMW Boxer
diesel creation (see above) & a 1.6D Golf chopper riding in from France.
For a moment on Thursday though, we thought the numbers might be down this year. On our arrival and pushing on into Friday, the main field looked quite empty of bikes but we needn't have feared because, as usual, after lunchtime Friday everyone started arriving thick and fast.
The main field had the beginnings of a large fire at its centre and we were soon told that it would be lit come Friday evening. Unfortunately nobody told the bikers who then proceeded to pitch up about it thus rendering its ignition null and void. Accidental fires are usually the last thing we have to worry about at a rally almost totally devoid of petrol but I'm sure a tent or two would have been holed or gone up in flames had Willy torched the twigs thereabouts.
When we'd arrived late Thursday afternoon there were only a few
vans and bikes parked up along the access road. But one of the bikes, at this
early time, still on its trailer, was something rather special. Closer inspection
revealed a classic BMW Boxer with some very interesting additional parts!
Yes, this motorcycle had been converted to run on diesel and I had to wait
until the following day to get some video footage of it actually starting
As always, language is a barrier but I managed to learn that the original cylinder heads had been replaced by those from an old Hatz engine. I presumed the crank bearings had been upgraded but I was told for sure that the cylinder bores had been Nikasiled.
The bike itself carried a few badges with the SMD logo. As well as being on the bikes tank a sticker was also present on the drive cover for the injection pump which looked to be a Bosch unit. This itself was attached to the left side of the engine and it looked as if two of the four injector lines from it fed directly back into the tank.
I saw the bike started on several occasions during the course of the rally (see my video) and it sounded exactly as you would expect a diesel boxer to sound!
Down the years people have often given me vague references to school projects etc that supposedly had managed to convert such engines but it's always been very hard to find the evidence of such builds. Here, finally, was such a bike and it started and ran for everyone to see. I take my hat off to the man who made and transported this amazing creation to the 2016 Diesel Treffen.
Left side view of the Boxer diesel. Old Hatz heads were used to replace the BMW parts.
Somebody said that was a Bosch injector pump. What a great build!
Right Hand side engine cyclinder of the #BMW #Diesel #Boxer.
Looking round the field there were of course many Royal Enfields
to be seen. In amongst them were many Sommer bikes, the later models divergent
away from the aforementioned marque on which they were based. Then there were
other variants such as the Centaurus of which I counted two. I saw a Kipor
engined bike along with Hieko's Harley machine but no Hieko's himself. I'd
heard someone say there was a fire at his place so let's wish him all the
Also I saw some Innova guys in attendance and chatted briefly with several who had made the journey over to the U.K. in years passed. One chap who I know by sight but not by name (moustache!) was introduced as being the leading man as far as batteries were concerned and I got the impression that very possibly, something interesting was brewing in that quarter? But I maybe wrong?!
One of two Centaurus diesel bikes I saw this year.
Near the access road sat my brother with Thomas and others. Thomas had earlier told us how he had been told to rest up by his doctor but had ignored the instructions and had instead tore out his bikes gearbox and installed one from an Opel Manta instead. Robert, another regular is also present. He always wears dungarees with ample pockets but this year forgot to fill them with keys, keys that he needed to get his bike out from his enclosed trailer. Fortunately I was able to help here so all was well in the end.
Tom shows off his outfit with the new gearbox.
The new gearbox on Tom's NSU outfit.
Yonder I spotted the now familiar blue Triumph Tiger with its Lombardini triple power plant and nearby was Kees Smart Tiger in from the Netherlands.
Various familiar MZ's were also in attendance along with Rienharts Uprated Flitzbitz. Uwe's outfit was out near the centre of the field and across the way were Gaby and partner with their 3 wheeler Ford creations.
Stretched out along the fence were diesel Dave and Brenda, their bike this time sporting a trailer for what I think is the first time. Not far away is an interesting and I believe new creation with an MZ feel to it?
I don't think I've seen this bike before.
Left side view showing the primary side.
Whilst supping a drink in the courtyard Friday evening I'd heard incoming bikes and glancing up had seen a Harley followed by Frenchman Abel Josselin turning left towards the camping field's entrance. When daylight allowed I made for his spot and was delighted to see his new bike, a chopper sporting a 1.6d MK 2 Golf Diesel engine. It makes perfect sense if using a car engine to mount it low and I didn't think anyone could have got it lower than Abel. Nestled comfortabley in the long grass, I lost no time in photographing and posting it to the Dieselbike Facebook page and was immediately bombarded with questions about the build. It took me until that evening to get and post the answers.
Right side view of Abel Josselin's diesel Chopper. A 1.6L Gulf Mk2 engine was used.
Left side view of the French built Diesel chopper. I jusst love the engineering that goes into these bikes!
A closer shot of the right side using the later and smaller Mk 4 gearbox.
The driveshaft going into a 1:1 industrial bevel box.
Willy seemed to me to be closing his bar a bit earlier than usual over the last few years and yes, we were kicked outside soon after midnight.
Here I spotted the two French guys in the corner of the lean to porch and along with Ian and a few others we bundled over to join them. It was at this point that I learned of a few finer points of the build. The frame was homemade and I was told the rear bevel box was purchased from the Internet, contained 1:1 ratios. It was a typical industrial item with no makers name (that I could later see) and commonly available at farming or agricultural suppliers.
The gearbox was from a later model MK 4 and was smaller because of it. But the sourcing of the right size radiator had caused Abel the most head scratching. He eventually settled on using one from a Honda 1200 Goldwing which proved to be a good fit.
If you ever wondered why there seems to be an absence of custom made machines coming from France it's because of the laws over there concerning engine swaps etc. We discussed this as best we could and Abel described how the bike had been ridden to the Germany rally in a somewhat, shall we say, discretionary manner!
We had a laugh about this and I said the only thing I could think of to describe the French motor authorities. "Fuck 'em!".
Abel laughed even harder and drew a little closer to me saying, "This is my favourite English phrase!" and so it was that this darkened German courtyard, occupied by a few renegade French, English and German bikers, was again rocked by more laughter.
Those fortunate enough to arrive on their Smart diesel creations
(not me!) were given the opportunity to have their bikes remapped on the spot
when Christian Weisskopt visited the rally. Kees VAN Daalen was one man who
took advantage of this service, getting his bike hooked up to the computer
present in the Kangol Van parked just off the site access road. He later reported
back that throttle pick up was much smoother and that the engine now produced
significantly more power.
I think I'll have to get my Tiger done at some stage along with updating the throttle to a Magura Gasgriff model available on eBay. Kees also thoroughly recommended I go about fitting an inter cooler to the Tiger saying that the difference between having one and not having one is like the difference between 'night and day'.
In the field re-mapping was a feature of this years rally. Lets hope it's the same in 2017!
Friday and Saturday nights were unusually warm and consequently
the courtyard of Brauhof Wilshaus was a buzz with laughter and the clinking
of beer glasses. Of course, I wasn't privy to all that was said from every
quarter but it was great to pick up on a few stories both old and new concerning
the escapades of the diesel bikers gathered thereabouts.
It takes a special (some might say mad) kind of person to tackle a journey on a motorcycle that, on the face of it, seems entirely inappropriate for such a venture. But everyone at Brauhof Wilshaus this weekend knows there's no fun in doing things the normal way.
My brother Jeff was joined for the first time this year by his other half Sue. Together, we caught up with Dieter and Rienhart outside the bar entrance. Looking over his shoulder to make sure Willy wasn't about, Dieter lost no time in producing a flask of Russian vodka for us to sample. Jeff was supposed to be on his best behaviour but still necked a few full tumblers as Dieter regaled us with riding stories.
Oh, here comes the vodka!
'As he and Rienhart rode into a Russian town one time, the setting sun totally obscured a loose and dangling power cable. It was Dieters misfortune to hit the wire and Rienhart recalled how he glanced down into his mirror to see his unfortunate riding companion, bike and all, somersaulting though the air!
Being an ex-fire fighter, when the emergency services eventually turned up, Dieter insisted that he be taken not to the hospital but to the local fire station. Here he was successfully patched up but not before a bottle of vodka was produced and many toasts were had to International relations!'
A view of the busy access road from the main field.
As you can imagine, another topic of conversation that came
up for us in particular was Britain's choice to leave the European Union.
Being Brits we were quizzed on this throughout our entire time away but it
was what the other rally goers told me of their attitudes to immigration that
made us laugh.
"We'd take in any number of immigrants," said one, "as long as they are Catholic." Another was laughing and said "They would be well suited to here but they'd have to eat pork and drink beer!"
Loved the look of this 'Oldimo' bike I'd not seen before.
Kees told us of his dream to partner up his Tiger to a sidecar and tackle the infamous Road of Bones whilst Rienhart was equally in favour of visiting places away from the usual tourist destinations. There was also some mention of the epic sounding ride back from this year's Big Knock to Germany when the weather turned bad and some of the scooter guys were a little underprepared! Unfortunately Kees had trouble getting back this year when an internal spring broke on his Tiger's gearbox. But the bike had only recently proved itself capable of longer journeys by travelling over to the UK Rally.
Kees Tiger was re-mapped in the field to give a better, smoother throttle responce and more power.
The September evenings were perhaps the warmest I could remember
and we all took advantage of this at Brauhof
I caught up with Pascal after he suffered engine problems at the Big Knock rally. He explained that the injection mechanism on his Hatz bike had been the source of the problem all along and it was now running fine.
Was good to catch up with Bernd Panzer, he of the 1984 K100 Diahatsu bike, after he arrived lateish Saturday. And good to see that he had eventually acquired a Big Knock hoodie after missing out earlier in the year. His son had made one especially for him grabbing the artwork from FB. It was Bernd who furnished me with a card from the ECU man Christian Weisskopt after I missed the opportunity to grab one for myself.
It was nice to talk with Hubert Teller and fellow bike builder Michael again with Mike going out of his way to explain the vagaries on the K series gearbox to me. Hubert told me of the obstacles he had to overcome in making the diesel gear set for the BMW boxes. I mistakenly thought there was another problem with the current set recently collected but no, it was simply down to a misunderstanding, language being the barrier as usual.
T shirts were sold out quicker than ever this year and even my early bird brother almost missed out on one. Had it not been for the generosity of Organisor Rafael, who gave him one, literally, off his own back, he would have come back disappointed. Black in colour they sported the DMT logo and were offered along with a sticker emblazoned with the same design. In the run up to the event I'd seen the shirts modelled, for the first time, on some young ladies but plain forgot to ask Rafael about this new sales tactic. Is it something I should copy for the next Big Knock Rally I wondered!
For the first time we could remember, there was no official
runout from the treff this year. The organisers said they had exhausted all
possible destinations of interest and so it was that some of the more enthusiastic
riders organised their own rides.
My brother hitched a ride with Teun and the Zeus crew to Northkitchen where dramatic events unfolded soon after their arrival. After looking over the many other bikes parked up thereabouts they stepped back only to hear a sharp crack from above and witness a sizeable branch crash down onto the machines!
A crashing tree missed our bikes.
But it got somebodys machine!
Jeff said there was absolutely no warning of what was about to happen but luckily nobody was hurt in the incident. Diesel Dave and Brenda were on the scene and snapped a few shots as events unfolded.
Alexander Westenberg led the other rideout which was joined by Vim (Diahatsu), the TunderStar and Andreas on his electric Kawasaki amongst others. In total there was probably a good 15 or more bikes on this run but due to the random nature of the whole thing, the pack was eventually separated up.
My small Grom has its handlebar mirrors turned inward to make my life easier but this means I have to do what I used to do on my old Ducati 749s, lift my arms to see to my rear. It's sometimes referred to as 'doing the funky chicken' in the UK (after the Goodies TV show) and on doing it on the runout, it was a delight to see the ThunderStar placed perfectly in the gap under my arm. Of course, I was overtaken several times by said bike and can hereby testify to the acceleration, speed and general awesomeness of the Dutch made machine.
Vim's Daihatsu and the Thunderstar on one of the two rideots.
The Kipor and electric Kawasaki on the runout.
Sticking with the leaders I found myself out near the local dam and we ended up parking up and waiting for the others. But time was getting on and Andreas was concerned about the exact range of his electric bike, running on salvaged laptop batteries as it was.
Eventually I decided to lead the way back using my phone & helmet headset. It was a slow ride, watching out as we were for Andreas who was concerned with conserving power but we eventually got back using the quickest route. Incidentally, Andreas used a special meter to measure the internal resistance of these reclaimed batteries before fitting them. Circuit boards that restrict recharging in the greater battery packs were discarded prior to the individual 18650 cells being salvaged.
Always frustrating on the Dieselbike runs is the average speed of things. But the capabilities of the bikes vary so much that we are never going to please everyone. Perhaps we should have seperate rideouts in future for slower and faster bikes?
A closer look at the Electric Kawasaki built by Andreas.
Some of the heavy duty components in evidence on the Kawasaki.
Having been instrumental in setting up a Facebook page for Sommer motorcycles it was good to catch up with Jochen and his wife Andrea. We discussed photo Apps and how fellow Brit Sandy who'd missed out on seeing a bike at the UK rally had finally got his hands on one of their bikes by actually visiting Bavaria instead.
Many Jocken Sommer bikes were present at Hamm.
Always a treat to see the TunderStar make an appearance at the diesel Treff because we don't see it every year. I was over with Bert talking about the vagaries of the Track shaft drives when I heard a tremendous roar and looked over to see the companies van with complete with the Star Twin logo.
As well as joining us on the Saturday afternoon runout the bike was started up several times during the day and drew the inevitable crowd of drooling onlookers. Only Vim amongst us had ridden the bike before and Kees was told by the bikes builder that he would start work on another for a down payment of €40k. With front forks costing in the region of €10k alone the overall cost of building a complete second bike was said to be upwards of well over €100,000. Phew!
The awesome Thunderstar makes a rare appearance at the Hamm rally.
Dutch dreams are made of this!
Unfortunately we had some visitors to the rally who left without paying their bill Saturday and so landlord Willy decided to implement a ticketing system whereas Euros were exchanged for tokens prior to entering the courtyard. This caused some consternation amongst the boys, some being midway into a session, and it inevitably led to crossed words. The result was that a certain amount of boozing was done in the field out front from then on and well into Saturday night. I heard the aftermath in the early hours when there was something of a kerfuffle close to our tents with the name, 'Ozzy Osbourne' being shouted out repeatedly! Lol.
Tickets please! Euro's were exchanged for these and then exchanged for beer and food.
Checkout some additional rally shots below.
The Flitzbitz revamped.
Arno's diesel outfit.
Mike and Jeff chat with Willy on the first night.
A regular at the rally now is this blue diesel Tiger.
Hats off to this guy because he built the diesel boxer. Note the returns on the bikes tank.
Spotted under a seat.
Our Ruggerfield out from the UK and in Hamm. Primary side was put back to a better geared chain drive.
A most unusual fan cover but nice, none the less.
Some bloke flogging off some gear. I didn't see any takers.
Always liked this jacked up example of a diesel bike.
Good to see this bike back at the rally.
Tom rides in and is given directions by Jeff.
The Diesel Wiesel crew never miss a Hamm motorcycle rally.
This yellow Triumph Tiger came with us on the runout to the dam area. Lombardini 3 cylinder engine.
There were two Track T800's in Hamm this year.
The Vahrenkamp diesel motorcycle.
Sommer primary cover.
The Zeus bikes at the rally this year. Teun's bike is in there somewhere.
Uwe's sidecar outfit fitted with a 1000cc Hatz twin.
Thunderstar fact sheet.
Thanks to all who came and made it such a great Treff. And thanks again to the organisors for putting on the event. See you next year!
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