TRACK T-800CDI Diesel Motorcycle Rider Report.

I began organising Diesel motorcycle rallies for the fun of it and never really gave much thought to where it might all lead. Five years later and I’m stood in a field watching a guy unload not one but three of the most cutting edge machines I’ve ever seen. This year has seen me viewing bikes at both the Birmingham and London Motorcycle shows and now, in the middle of the Sussex countryside, I am presented with three motorbikes I’ve only ever imagined in my dreams.
Whereas I’m normally surrounded by many privately built conversions, usually based around the Royal Enfield, I now find myself confronted by commercially conceived prototypes of a kind not seen before on British soil.
After an exchange of pleasantries, Erik of E.V.A Products explained that he had brought over examples of the first production machine along with the last prototype made. As far as I could tell the only difference between these first two bikes was the wiring harness which was slightly visible on the prototype model. Erik explained that they had eliminated the need for a total of fifteen connectors during the final stages of development thus making the loom next to invisible on the production machine. The third bike was a display model presented without its panelling or tank to show the engine layout and drive configuration.

Over the next two days I looked on as the Dutchmen became the centre of attention at the rally. I watched as they rode out on the prototype motorcycle to find a café each morning and again as they returned to answer yet more questions from an interested public. On dismounting I observed them using laser temperature guns to measure and record readings from various engine parts including the CVT mechanism and discussing the bikes performance in some depth.
It was then and only then that I started to get a feel for just what E.V.A. were all about. To see such dedication to their product, such thoroughness, imparted to me a real sense of trust in the bike. It’s at little moments like this when you actually observe Erik’s degree of dedication to his motorcycle that you realise the work and effort that this man is putting into every element of the build. If he is to compete successfully with the ‘big boys’ everything has to be exactly as he requires it. And if his aim is to create a new class of motorcycle then his machine has to be different.
It’s so easy for some people to turn up, twist the throttle, go home an hour later and write a shallow review of such a motorcycle. It’s altogether more satisfying to spend a few days in a field with the guys who have created such a machine from scratch and get a feel for just what they are trying to achieve.
Indeed we are told that this motorcycle is targeted squarely at BMW riders and that E.V.A. has already succeeded in getting much interest from this sector. Up to 75% of orders received are said to be existing owners of the German Marque.
Next up came my chance to actually ride the machine.

As I sat on the T-800, Erik, looking a little more serious than usual, demonstrated the starting procedure. A handlebar mounted button was flipped and the machine sprang into life. The sound that greeted one’s ears was all that you’d expect of a modern common rail diesel. As I had been told to expect, there was no knock, smoke or discernable smell but then many hours had gone into setting up the ECU for just that purpose. Only the purring of a well tuned, bike sized diesel triple impinged upon my ears and it sounded pretty healthy to me. Things were looking promising! I later learned that this engine has been set up with longevity in mind, the ECU programmed to make the engine last anything up to 250,000 miles.
With no clutch lever or shifter in evidence I looked to the right side of the machine and to the brakes and throttle. Right from the off I had trouble taming my normal biker instincts. I was told that the CVT would engage and the bike would move off if the throttle was turned and even then I couldn’t help but give it the merest of blips. Sure enough I felt a slight forward motion from the bike before it subsided. Part of me wanted to hear that engine rev up but that was something I’d only experience by taking the bike down the road.

Erik threw his leg over a 1985 Honda XL600L while I did the same to the Track T-800CDI. Having not ridden anything like this before I was (understandably I think) a little apprehensive, especially with the motorcycles creator watching my every move.
With no traffic and only a few people standing outside the Bat & Ball I tentatively opened the throttle and moved the bike forward to the end of the Pub’s access road. The way being clear I then opened her up and rode the 100 yards or so up to the main road T junction and experienced the CVT really doing its thing for the first time. The two things that struck me straight way were the nature of how the CVT automatically adjusted itself to find the right torque setting depending on where I had the throttle and secondly how different this made the bike sound from a ‘normal’ non automatic motorcycle.
Once at the top of the road I turned left up the B2133 towards Loxwood and opened her up. Again the engine responded instantly and the revs rose and dropped back as the CVT did its thing and transferred the power down to the rear wheel via the drive shaft. The bike accelerated away from the Honda at a comfortable rate of knots while the CVT coped well with the torquey diesel power-plant it was coupled to. As I slowly became accustomed to the T-800’s kind of power delivery and acceleration it really hit home to me just how different this motorcycle was from anything else that had gone before it. Here I was, astride, essentially a big, high end trailie, whose engine was injecting fuel multiple times per cycle while its forward mounted exhaust disclosed the work being done by the constantly variable transmission hitherto only found on machines of a totally different ilk.

It was all a bit overwhelming really but not so much so that I was distracted from seeing a broken down car that materialised out of nowhere as I leant the bike into a shadowy left-hander. Swinging the machine out sharply and over the centre reservation I weaved round the obstacle effortlessly. Nimble and well balanced the T-800 certainly was. And who’ve thought that with a diesel engine sitting in the frame?
As I wiggled the bike from side to side, braked and accelerated and made sure I hadn’t lost my riding partner - the bike behind was Japanese – I began to get a good feel for what was between my legs and who it was aimed at. It a world where most motorcycles still turn in atrocious MPG figures the E.V.A. bike is designed to be in a different league altogether.

It claims anything up to a refreshing 140MPG and I can quite believe it having ridden other oil fuelled machines. The engine delivers 45BHP and 78lb-ft of torque and the bike comes with a CVT transmission designed to make best use of that power. Saying that, the CVT option maybe a hard sell to many bikers used to a shifter but without the backing of a major corporation it’s easy to see why E.V.A. chosen the most efficient drive system right from the off. This is an important element I’ve tried not to lose sight of in reviewing this motorcycle. It may not be to every ones liking but a time will come when riders will come to see the advantages of such a drive.
Anyone looking for a bike anything like what they currently ride really shouldn’t contemplate the T-800. The only thing it has in common with motorcycles of today is its handling and the fact that it has two wheels. Every element of this machine has been thought through to provide a certain type of performance and, as far as the average knee slider is concerned, it’s not the kind of performance they would want. No, this is a machine built not only for the more discerning rider but for another age.

Finally, one word keeps cropping up in my mind no matter what element of this machine I contemplate. That word is sophistication. The workmanship is as good as you’ll get anywhere and the styling is eye-catchingly sharp. The engine is purposefully frugal and it’s coupled with a simple and efficient drive. If someone somewhere doesn’t want this motorcycle then I’ll be very surprised indeed. The bottom line is that there is more energy locked up in a litre of diesel than in the equivalent amount of petrol. Like E.V.A. you’ve just got to be smart enough to get at it, that’s all.
Unlike anything else on the road the Track T-800CDI does this and in doing so it looks likely to lay claim to being the first production motorcycle of a new age.
So, should other manufacturers be worried? They should certainly be watching!

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