Diesel Motorcycles made by Students

Here at DieselBike.net we have found that this website has become an inspiration for some Schools, Colleges and Universities as they seek to get their students involved in worth while Eco friendly engineering projects. Building a motorcycle often serves as incentive enough to get youngsters interested and involved but building a motorcycle powered by an engine capable of running on bio-diesel adds a whole new dimension to things. These bikes can deliver incredibly good miles per gallon figures while at the same time teaching the kids about being good to the environment. All in all (as you can see from some of the bikes made below) they can be a very worth while and rewarding machines to create. I hope this website and the bikes on this page will be an inspiration to your School, College or University. Please don't hesitate to forward the address of this page to teachers who may be interested in this kind of project for their students.


Finished Diesel Motorcycles

Now the Napenee District High School build two V twin Diesel Motorcycles.

The Finished article. Checkout the video here.

Here we see one of the latest creations from the Ontario students midway through the build process.

We are back at it here in Canada and this year we are building two street legal bikes. The bikes have a Punsen engine at their heart and drive the rear wheel through a Comet 94C Duster CVT geared to a top speed of about 105kph. We have purchased to rolling frames from the salvage yard for conversion. These bikes will be built up as classic hardtail bobbers as we don't plan on using them for long trips. We are going to install the Comet 94C duster CVT set up with a geared top speed of about 105 kph. This will give us good bottom end in town and still allow for use on secondary highways as the limit is only 80 kph (50mph). I am doing both bikes in my high school class here in Napanee Ontario. The students are currently finishing there skill building projects and four are already onto our CAD program for 3D tube structures. I will start posting pictures as soon as we are out of the design phase.

Talk to Sean about his project via our Forum. He's signed on there as DieselFly.

Two Diesel Motorcycles from Napenee District High School, Ontario, Canada.

I found your site and a few others about 18 months ago and took the whole diesel bike idea into my high school class room at Napanee District High School in Ontario Canada. Well it worked out okay with a $4200 grant from the local learning foundation and we were off. Both bikes share the same 10 hp yanmar clones and Comet 40 series clutch to chain drives. The green bike has a 4:1 final drive and the black one is set at 4.8:1. The black one has been tested to 85 kph on the a flat stretch and a little over 90 kph on a slight grade. The green bike has not been run at full speed yet but does not keep up on acceleration to the black one. As these bikes belong to the school they will never hit the road. My plan for this fall is to build another bike or two, one for me that will be licenced for the road by next spring. I like everyone that has riden these things just can't belive how well they work. They are loud, blow black smoke and vibrate how good can it get. Here is a link to the video we shot the first day we had them going . I will get some video latter this summer of them at speed. You can post the pictures and video on your site if you like. Thanks for spreading the word.

Video. More Video.

Sean White
Kingston Ontario

This green bike built at Napanee District High School has a 4:1 final drive

The drive on this bike is at 4.8:1. Save both images for a bigger view of the picture.


University of Adelaide Yanmar Diesel Motorcycle MKII

I've just recieved another email form Colin Kestrell informing me that his students have built a 2nd diesel powered motorcycle.In his own words he is what he has to say regarding this second machine:

"This year my students set out to build a fully compliant motorbike and register it for road use. They achieved this my modifying a Cagiva and combining it with a Comet CVT and a Yanmar LA100. Once tried and tested we entered it in this years Greenfleet class of the World Solar Car Challenge, which is a particularly gruelling event (for lecturers and students) involving a 4000km trek across Australia (including the compulsory detour to Ayres rock and back from Alice Springs).

Anyway, we had a few dramas (mangled drive spools, lost wheel nuts, blown engine etc - all repaired or replaced enroute) but persevered and completed the event. Not only did we complete it, but I'm proud to say that we won our category with the 'lowest environmental impact' averaging 3.5litres/100km (I'll let you do the maths to convert it to mpg) and by having the best net carbon emissions. Very happy!" DieselBike.net says, "Well done you blokes in Australia!"

University of Adelaide Yanmar Diesel Motorcycle

I recieved an email from Colin Kestell back in 2005/6 who said his students were going to build a diesel motorcycle and could I help them out. I sure could and sent along a dvd of footage shot at several of the Hamm diesel bike rallies. Next thing I know these talented guys have built themselves a bike! They used a Yanmar L100AE engine because of it's power to weight ratio and fitted it into a Husaberg frame which had to be substantially modified.

The Yanmar engined University Diesel Motorcycle from Adelaide.

The EDIMO Smart Diesel Project

This bike made a showing at the 2005 Hamm Diesel Motorcycle Rally. They had trouble sorting the electronics out to run the Smart Engined project bike but got some help from the boatbuilders here. The engine is a Smart 800cc unit while the gearbox is Harley D.

The EDIMO Smart Bike

Honda Yanmar Chopper Bike

This Motorcycle project was pointed out to me some time ago after it was spotted up for sale on Ebay. I've taken the liberty of posting up the builders discription here as it is by far the best way of describing its construction.

No need to depend on Middle-East oil when you can drive this chopper that runs on bio-diesel (or regular diesel fuel if you don't want to buy bio-diesel).This bike started life because of my son's Middle School Science project on renewable fuels. The idea of making our own fuel from used vegetable oil caught our attention and after reading up on the idea, we decided to build a bike that runs on it. The chopper started life as a 1977 Honda CJ360 with a trashed motor but it had sound frame, front/rear end and a clean title. We bought a new engine on ebay, a 9hp diesel made for Yanmar by Launtop. The old used tank and spring seat are also ebay finds. Drive is through a 40 series Comet torque converter and heavy duty jack shaft (bought new from an Internet go-kart place). Lights and other electrical parts were picked up form Jireh. Most everything else was made by us. All bearings were redone, and it has all new rubber and fittings.The rigid frame was fab'd out of 1020 mild steel tubing, 1 1/2" for main down tubes and 1" for all other tubes. All welds were mig done by an experienced welder. The frame was moulded with NAPA ultra-light filler and painted dark grey using a textured paint called Hammerite. The battery and all the other electrics are hidden in a metal flower-pot under the seat (to keep with the bio-friendly theme). To complete the bio theme, we airbrushed the tank and fender using gold base coat, leafs were done in black using freehand stencils, then it was covered by 7-8 coats of green apple candy (all Createx AutoAir). Cleared using Napa rattle can. It gives a nice colour shift effect that doesn't show up in the photos.

This is a full size motorcycle and I ride it around town almost every weekend (I'm 6'5" and 235lbs). It is street legal and the 9hp diesel is plenty strong for road use. The seat is very low and it can easily be driven by a child (my 14 year old son rides it in the neighbourhood) and it has platforms for your feet not pegs (see side view photos). It is a hard tail but the seat is sprung as is the front fork. Ride is rough but smoother than an old hard tail I had in my youth.The engine is pull start but does have a compression release. There is no shifting required (the torque converter has variable 'gearing') and it pulls like a train from zero to 70mph. It smokes and shakes like a diesel, but the smoke smells like French Fries! And, we get well over 100mpg from fuel grown here in the good old USA. This was a great project for us, and the only reason we're selling it is to make room for our next project, a gas/electric hybrid chopper. But the biggest surprise of this project is that as gasoline prices continue to rise, we now look at fields of corn and soybean differently - they're a potential fuel source for our future that really works.

Bike has very few miles on it since it was built. It comes as is with no warrantee. It has a clean MN title, all paper work for the parts we used, a small tool kit for the road, and a box of extra parts scavenged from the old Honda and the new diesel engine.

Top end of this engine is approx 3500 engine rpm (which it does easily). We recently changed the jack shaft gear to a 12 tooth so it would slow down the top end so my son could drive it without putting my wife in a panic (12 tooth gear and 3500 engine rpm the top end is approx 68mph but this gearing has a very nice low/mid end ride). I use it this way and blast around town when the weather allows. The engine has loads of torque and with the 13 or 14 tooth gear it has a much better top end speed and you hardly notice the low end hit (it could possibly handle a bigger gear depending on where you drive but torque on this engine is a killer). Speaking of torque, we now have heavy duty bearings on a big jackshaft. The original ones we bought from the go-kart place couldn't handle the torque and failed quickly so we now have a 3/4" jack shaft and strong pillow block industrial bearings that are rated at 30hp and 5000 rpm. So far after lots of riding around town no problems.I have used mainly around town, local roads and local highways. I haven't taken any long rides on this bike because it is a hard tail, and, well, you know why.The Comet torque converter is an amazing thing and it accelerates well, not like a big gas bike, but as well as my wife's Buell Blast (at least up to 40mph). On the road it runs fine. Big hills are a little slow because the torque converter (as its set up) seems to "down shift" and the bike slows and rpm rises. The engine has loads of torque and I was planning on changing some "springs and pucks" in the torque converter itself (as explained in the manual) to change the torque curve to better handle big hills. Little hills are no problem.Remember it is a pull start but it does have compression release. Still, starting it is not for the timid. I can easily start it, but my son (14 years old) cannot. They offer an electric start for this engine and with the battery that is now on the bike you could add it without any real extra effort.

The drum brakes have been redone and wheels are from the donor CJ360. The speedo is on the front when and is also from the donor bike.The addition of the torque converter and jack shaft required right hand drive on the rear wheel. So, the front brake is in the normal place (right hand) and the rear brake is now on the LEFT foot (as seen in the photos) not the right foot as a normal bike would have. Since there is no shifting, I thought moving the brake to the left and keeping all braking components original CJ360 was a good idea. That way, finding parts is easy.

The bike has no generator. The optional electric starter (I think) serves dual purpose. As it is now, I charge the battery using a separate trickle charger when needed but it isn't needed too often because all it runs are the front and rear lights.Diesel engines are a little odd if you've never played with one. Unlike gas engines, there is no separate throttle and electrical system. So, unlike a gas engine where you can simply ground the spark to stop it, a diesel (at least this little one) stops when you shut off its fuel by throttling it way down. The torque converter doesn't engage at idle or when shutting down so this is not a big deal. Starting is a little odd too, because it requires some throttle to get it going. Not a problem once you get used to it, but it does take some getting used to.Oh, one last thing. Riding this odd bike will get you noticed. It make some odd sounds and you'll spend a lot of time explaining to others about bio-diesel and the whole 'green chopper' thing.


Howell Cheney Technical School Students build a Diesel Motorcycle

By Nancy Thompson ( © Copyright) Journal Inquirer, Manchester. Connecticut

The students fire up the diesel motorcycle.

When the students in Joe Hollay's diesel class work on their pet project, the roar of the engine and the smell of french fries fill the shop. The engine noise is what you'd expect to find in the diesel shop at Howell Cheney Regional Vocational-Technical School in Manchester, where students prepare for careers as mechanics. The odor is something else. It's not lingering from a take-out lunch or wafting off a hot snack. It's pouring from the exhaust pipe of the 1982 Honda motorcycle the students are working on.

The motorcycle, which was donated by Cheney Tech alumnus Jim Bennet, has been fitted with a diesel engine that is being run on-biodiesel fuel, which is essentially vegetable'oil that's been used by restaurants to fry food. Along with this new engine, the motorcycle has a cardboard license plate that proclaims "veggie power."
While the idea of pumping restaurant grease into an engine sounds strange to most people, the diesel students are as intrigued with mounting a diesel engine on a motorcycle, something that's rarely done.
But on both fronts, the idea is working, they say. "It's been a really good project," says Eric Koehler, a student and motocross rider from Ellington.

It all got started with a homework assignment. Hollay asked his students, who are juniors, to bring in articles about diesel, and one came in with a newspaper story about Tom Leue, an Ashfield, Mass., man who makes biodiesel - and uses it to power his tractor, truck, and family cars.
Until about a month ago, Leue also sold biodiesel to about 30 customers, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency recently shut down small producers.

The idea caught the class's imagination, Hollay says, and he took the students on a field trip to Leue's company, where he brews Yellow Brand Premium Biodiesel with equipment formerly used to make maple syrup.
Leue collects waste vegetable oil from area restaurants on a weekly basis. By adding lye and wood alcohol, he separates glycerin from the fuel, which he uses to heat his home as well as run his machines.
The process, Leue notes on his Web site, is far simpler and cheaper than what's needed to refine petroleum. And bidiesel, sometimes called "griesel," comes from a renewable resource - usually soybeans which is readily available, rather than depleting a finite supply.

The Cheney students can rat tle off the advantages of biodiesel: it creates less pollution, is less dangerous if spilled, and is biodegradable. Engines run smoothly, Hollay said, because the biodiesel doesn't build up. Biodiesel can be stored anywhere petroleum diesel is stored and has comparable miles per gallon and horsepower. It can be mixed with petroleum diesel or used full strength.

The Cheney students didn't have to modify the diesel engine they're using on the motorcycle to handle the biodiesel fuel, which can be used in any diesel engine, but did have to work on the bike to fit in the engine. Students Dan Bosco and Ben Hebner from the machine shop helped them fit the engine onto the frame, Hollay says.
TSI Harley Davidson of Ellington and its owner, Harry Levesque, sponsor the class, and also helped, Hollay says. The teacher says the class hopes to set a miles-per-gallon record with it, aiming for 200 miles per gallon.
The students, who rotate through four weeks in the shop and four weeks in academic: classes, began working on the motorcycle in November. They also spend much of their time at the National Guard armory in Manchester working on vehicles.

The diesel students all say they've enjoyed experimenting with the biodiesel fuel and would welcome the opportunity to use it themselves because of the benefits for the environment. This could be the future," Marcel Guay of South Windsor says.

Homestead Inc. was the only commercial biodiesel producer in the Northeast. The alternative fuel is more popular in the West, where school buses, municipal vehicles, and other fleets use biodiesel, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Josh Roberts of Stafford says he had heard of biodiesel before the class began its project, but wasn't aware of how widely it is used.

The process, Leue notes on his Web site, is far simpler and cheaper than what's needed to refine petroleum. And bidiesel, sometimes called "griesel," comes from a renewable resource - usually soybeans which is readily available, rather than depleting a finite supply. We didn't really know how big the biodiesel industry was," he says, adding that's an important issue for the future mechanics.
Chris Larsen of East Hartford thinks biodiesel would be more popular if more people knew about it. Once people see how cheap it is, they'll want it," he says. If you hook up with a Chinese restaurant, you can get it free," Guay says.
The only drawback, Hollay says, is that using biodiesel, with its fried food smell, makes you hungry. "On the way home from the field trip" to Leue's operation, "we were all starving We had to stop for food," Hollay says.

Seabury Hall Diesel Motorcycle

Project Members were: Maddison McGain, Rocky DeLyon, Keoni Grundhauser, Zoe Chotzen-tsuruda from Seabury Hall, Hawaii.

Checkout the webpage detailing this build here: Seabury Hall Engineering.

Bikes in Development

The HPDM Project

The High Performance Bio-Diesel Motorcycle (HPDM) Project is a final year mechanical engineering project at the University of Adelaide aiming to set a new land speed record for diesel motorcycles. Checkout what these guys are doing here.

Duplicated from the Private Development page, a bike that was produced by students. Written text submitted by Sascha.

I attach 3 pictures of the Yamaha showing the main part of the conversion. A Yamaha DT250MX which has been converted to Diesel. The original engine (2-stroke) was converted using a custom made cylinder head and an Opel Kadett injection pump. You can see the Diesel cylinder head made from scratch, the Kadett injection pump and fuel filter, the glow plug in the center of the head, the injector at the side of the head and the air filter from a Gilera, I guess. I should have cleaned the bike before taking the pics ;-)
There's a guy from a German bike magazin who waits to make an article about it as soon as it's in a clean and running condition... so there might be better pics available in the future, I hope.

The project itself died due to several reasons: One of the professors retired, they recognized that many of their ideas were already out-dated by the common progress and the problem with the hydraulic valve control seemed to be insolvable. But I guess the Inline Boxer is still alive for demonstrations.

Some more info:

The engine is still a 2 stroke. The only changes are:
- new custom made cylinder head to achieve a higher compression rate,
- injection pump from the Opel Kadett, driven by a chain belt (pulley on the flywheel of the generator)
- Diesel injector (don't remember the make, but it was from an engine with indirect injection but is now used for direct injection)
-Yamaha Autolube is still active, it injects 2 stroke oil in the air between air filter and the reed valves
-carburator and ignition are removed, exhaust is stock

It's not easy to start. The bike is equipped with 6V only, so you need an additional 12V car battery to supply the glow plug. But even then it's hard to start with the kick starter. I used an electric heat gun to pre-heat the intake area which helped a bit. You can't push it, even in 5th gear and pushed by 3 guys the rear wheel will skid due to the high compression.

When it's running, there's pretty much smoke and a special sound. It's not so much like a Diesel, not that hard hammering, it still remembers the typical 2 stroke sound, but different from the gasoline 2 stroke sound. There's pretty much power (for a 250cc Diesel) between 2000 and 4000rpm, but above that there's not so much. I've been told you can go around 80km per hour, so it should produce something around 8kW. Up to now I have only tested off road.


Sascha Huy, Winterburg, Germany

Similar info on page: http://www.dieselbike.net/privatedevelopment/privatedevelopment.htm



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