The 2017 International Diesel Motorcycle Rally, Hamm, Deutschland.


We arrived on site Thursday afternoon after a leisurely four day jaunt across France, Belgium and Western Germany. We had it pretty good as far as the weather was concerned but the forecast wasn’t great for the coming weekend. We thought this might affect numbers but, I’m pleased to say there was a pretty reasonable turnout considering.

For us, it’s always great to return to Brauhof Wilshaus. The sights, sounds and indeed smells are all things to rekindle fond memories from yesteryear. Whether it’s the crisp, September mornings, multi-coloured tents saturated with dew or the familiar ‘donk, donk, donk,’ sound of diesel motorcycles yonder, it all serves to give one a sense of ‘homecoming’. What would the Hamm Treffen be without the vanilla scented tobacco smoke swirling from Reinhard's pipe as he walks about the field casting an engineer’s eye over the latest creations? I, for one, can’t get enough of the bars cosseting, warm fug, generated by the brewing of beer therein, the burning of fire logs and the smell of the premium Jacob’s breakfast coffee served from the silver urn.
Hang on; I’m getting carried away here! ;-)

The bar at Brauhof Wilshaus.

Thursday evening saw us spend some time in the bar where we ordered some food and greeted the regulars. Later that night, we joined some of the guys out in the field and admired some of the elaborate camping equipment that had been brought along.
In the far corner of the field, Bodo & the boys were in his covered trailer, knocking back bottles of Bitburger like there was no tomorrow. We lost no time in hijacking the Bluetooth and subjecting them to hard rock which, I must admit, thinned out the numbers somewhat.
I was interested to observe that this little gathering, tucked away as it was, was heated by a gas fire fuelled by L.P.G. I had a quick look at the pipe arrangement connecting this device and Sönke talked me through it.
The following day Henk gave me to lowdown on the whole business of filling these bottles up illicitly. If you don't have the proper in-line gauges or are not skilled in judging an air gap of between 10 & 15% then you risk calamity! That, of course, is why the petrol stations don't like people topping up gas bottles on their premises. But gauges do exist apparently, to help fill these containers correctly.
Several websites exist that sell these adapters such as these guys:

I think that by common consent, the 'E.M.W.' diesel conversion that attended the rally this year was the most praised motorcycle. The workmanship was outstanding and the bike just looked as if it had been made that way.
The frame was a 1954 B.M.W. and the builder had meticulously fitted a Deutz 673cc Diesel engine into it. It could easily pass for a petrol machine but for the size of the starter motor which was huge. This guy has been to plenty of rallies previously on his other creation, the Bulldog diesel bike.


A beautifully constructed machine with only the starter giving a hint as to the nature of engine used.

A view from the left side of the engine.

The electrical workings.

Friday saw torrential rain hit the Treffen and it was pretty much with us the whole day. Bikers being bikers, everyone had the correct waterproof gear so it didn’t really bother us much. And, of course, it was a good excuse to retire to the bar! That night I found myself sitting with landlord Willy just inside the bar’s door. Euros were exchanged for tickets this year to ensure all bar bills were pre-paid. It's a rather unusual arrangement to English eyes but it serves as a decent stop gap measure between the traditional way of taking money's owed in Germany and the modern method of paying as you go. It wasn't long before I was joined by my brother, a glass of Hellas in one hand and a bag of limes in the other! About this time we were joined by some hard-core guys, Martin, Dete & friend who were veterans of the Elephant rally. Before long my brother had promised to attend the event but I could tell it was the beer talking!
Liking a beer has he does, Jeff was not expecting these guys to offer him beer and schnapps over breakfast which they did!

Breakfast beers!

Unpacking gear from the Ruggerfield on the Thursday after the four day jaunt over from England.

We brought the Ruggerfield diesel bike to the rally this year along with my NC700s while others, perhaps because of the weather forecast, arrived in cars. But whatever the mode of transport and however many wheels are used, the good M.P.G. theme runs deep here and no matter what the fuel, the Treffen attendees all be counted upon to use economical methods of transportation to get here.Although the Treffen was again dominated by diesel motorcycles, (as you would expect!) it's always worth taking a close look at the other vehicles that turn up on site. I like to think that even the few petrol powered machines came about simply because manufacturers picked up on the hyper M.P.G. trends that were starting to come to the fore from rallies such as these.

Jürgen 'Shark' Hay on his Guzzi based diesel motorcycle.

A close up shot of the Yan clone engine.

Late Saturday I noticed a new bike yonder and trekked over to the far field to see that Jürgen 'Shark' Hay had brought along his Moto Guzzi based creation. He had apparently joined one of the minor ride outs that had taken place earlier and someone said his bike smoked somewhat more than would be expected. This was probably because of the turbo that had been fitted to the single cylinder Yanmar clone engine. Jürgen admitted that he had fitted it more for fun than effect but that didn't stop some of the more experienced diesel bike builders saying why it wouldn’t work.
I guess those that rely on creating saleable machines for a business are a world away from those that build for fun and when those two worlds rub up against each other then a few sparks may fly.
That said, I thought the bike a nice little build otherwise and will give it a higher ranking in this report simply because it was a new bike that I don't recall seeing before.

Diesel Dave and Brenda brought along their new retro styled Stirling motorcycle and generously let a few of the chaps ride it up and down the access road and beyond. Using a cloned engine it obviously delivers more power than a vintage unit but looks for all the world like something straight out of the 1800's!

Good to see regular Thomas again and he looked good in the face despite recent things. He arrived on site with his trusty N.S.U. sidecar outfit (now with a Daihatsu fitted) and a friend who was riding a Honda conversion. Not easy for Tom to camp these days but he did again this year so top marks to him for coming.

Tom's Sidecar outfit, now with a Daihatsu engine.

Another regular was Helmut who came with his excellent little caravan and we were surprised to see Mr Woolie after hearing he might not make it this year. I think the rain stopped him putting out his wares this year, the weather being pretty bad on the Friday.

Tom looks over at his mates diesel machine based on a Honda.

Talking to various people on the diesel bike scene and digging down into their motivations, I come away with a variety of different lines of thought on the subject of personal transport. Of course, the economy of it all is to the fore but so is speed for some, the latter is never cheap though is it? The poor old Royal Enfield gearbox is always being asked to do an awful lot on the scene, by both camps and it often ‘gives up the ghost’ when a diesel engine of any size is made to put its maximum power through that aging mechanism. That said, year on year, both camps are steadily improving in their respective pursuits and that can only be applauded.

Royal Enfields are still big on the scene because of their seperate gearboxes.

And nowadays the alternative motorcycle scene is slowly but surely welcoming those along who have constructed their own electric machines. We saw none this year but at previous rallies, the International Dieselmotorradtreffen has seen guys roll in on bikes powered by used laptop batteries. The nearest we got this year was to see Gausi, a former Honda Innova rider, turn up in an old electric car which is now running on modern Lithium cells and monitored by an elaborate setup consisting of several digital LED panels. It's important to match the batteries correctly so as they charge ok. This monitor shows that some pairs are better than others.

The battery monitoring display inside Gausi. It's cheaper to run this car than a Honda Innova, he says!

One of the 3D printed battery packs used to house the re-claimed 18650 Laptop batteries.

When I spotted him late Saturday it wasn't long before I was encouraged out from the warm bar and ended up with my head stuck under a bonnet looking at an old electric car. The tour concluded with a look at the new battery packs (installed to replace the failing Ni-cads) and a quick demo of how the battery monitoring display operated. All good stuff and I was barely able to take it all in given the lateness of the hour and my state! The car used is an E SAXO with 85000km on the clock.
An Internet forum thread is available on this electric car upgrade and I'm indebted to one of the Innova riders for directing me to it here.

This was good news for Rafael who had of course, many T shirts to sell. As always, I got in there quickly and purchased one before they all went. This year’s theme was inspired by the movies and as usual, all the shirts sold.

The T-shirts were transported to the site by bike trailer this year.

The normal Saturday ride out was already hanging in the balance before Friday's rain finally sealed it's fate. Some guys did go out but the majority made the most of a sunny Satuday, stayed on site and enjoyed the motorcycles. There wasn't many new machines this year, only those featured atop this page, but as always, it was worth the trip over.

Friday's weather forecast - it was wet!

I came away from the 2017 Hamm rally sensing that the unsettled weather thereabouts was perhaps a metaphor for unsettled times ahead for the alternative scene. The winds of change are increasingly blowing on both the hobbyists and small motorcycle businesses alike, it seems with the aim of blowing diesel fumes away forever. There were mutterings aplenty about increasingly tighter regulations, the insistence of ABS on newer bikes and a whole range of other things that make working with older motorcycles and diesel engines harder by the day.

There's a rather pointed, old Chinese saying which goes something like: "May you live in interesting times."

Well, in light of recent announcements from world governments regarding the phasing out of fossil fuelled vehicles, I think that message applies to us, as well as anyone else with an interest in road going transportation of any kind!



Many Jochen Sommer bikes were present at Hamm including this, the all new 1B50 model.

The Diesel Wiesel crew never miss a Hamm motorcycle rally.

Gaby's Ford diesel.

The Flitzbitz diesel motorcycle.

It's been a while since we've seen this bike but it was back this year!

The new Sommer 1B50 motorcycle.

Riders on the Storm! A pretty trick looking diesel bike with off road styling.

The newer 5 speed box is used by some owners.

Teun's Zeus was later used to help someone on the Autobahn & to pull his camper-wagon from the mud!

Dete and Martin checkout Mikes diesel bike.

You should be drooling now if you missed this. New to the menu, 'shrooms in mild chilli sauce - yum!

Dave and Brenda prepare for a ride out.

Thanks to all who came to Hamm and see you next year!

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