Fequently Asked Questions



With fuel prices going the way they are and the modern day diesel engine being as advanced as it now is, it shouldn't be too long before a major manufactuer spots this growing gap in the market and produces a Diesel Motorcycle. The Military are going down this route and it surely will not be long before a machine is made available to the Public.These machines have MPG figures to die for. 140, 170 or over 200 miles per (imperial) gallon is not unheard of. Because of this a Common Rail Diesel Motorcycle would make an excellent Tourer or Dispatching bike.Having Power is what it's all about for bikers. It won't be power as most Bikers know it but the modern common rail Diesel engine promise's economy, some fexibility in fuel type (bio-diesel) as well as better roll on acceleration because of the increased torque available. Now that's gotta be better ain't it?


The question I get asked the most concerns what engine to use when building a bike. I always give the same answer. Check through my site and see what others have used. A lot of thinking has been done by a lot of people and what you see here in the way of bikes is the result of all that. That's not to say everyone here is right, of course, because new engines come along. But for the most part this site represents all that effort and until some big concern designs an engine specifically for a bike, this is the best we got. Just remember to get a decent speed you really need something that produces over 15hp. An engine that produces in the region of 20hp will give you the best balance of economy to power.

Additional: In my view it's best to pick a twin or triple cylinder engine because an engine that fires on every stroke or more will give you superior pulling power over a single - and you'll need this when your diesel is likely only to rev to about 3800rpm max. 3800 equates at 1 to 1 to about 68mph through a standard bike gearbox (but I'm no expert here!). I would also suggest you do your homework on the engines firing pattern. Some diesels (such as the Ruggerini used in the Centaurus) have both pistons going up and down together and this causes much vibration. Others, like their MD191 engine, have a 180 degree crank meaning one up one down and are far smoother. Remember, Automotive engines rev higher, typically to 4600rpm. This will give you a 100mph plus motorcycle!

It's 'horses for courses' with diesel motorcycles. The diesel is a working engine and thus is better on a long distance touring machine. It may also be better for urban commuting where not much speed can ever be achieved. Think carefully about the application before launching into a build.

Things to watch out for

One guy had a clutch cable break on him whilst pulling up to a T junction. You'd expect the engine to stall with the brakes applied - but it didn't - and carried on running for a crucial few beats - enough to push him over the white line and out into the traffic! Luckily there was none at that moment. Be warned or the you'll have a bloody personal injury motorcycle accident claim attorney on the phone!!

Make sure you have good brakes! There is little or no engine braking from a diesel (with no slides to come down in carbs to restrict air flow) and you should make allowances for this. The large flywheel won't make things any easier either!

Because of the centrifugal nature of some guvernor's, the tickover of diesel bikes can slow or speed up depending on whether the bike is vertical or on its side stand. Interesting!


Being a Diesel Motorcyclist isn’t easy at times. Diesel is arguably a motorcyclists worst enemy, causing many accidents. But I have to say you get some interesting comments when bikers come across a fellow enthusiast riding a machine that actually runs on the stuff. The other down side is, of course, the smell and noise. Ladies, along with everyone I suppose, love a nice clean bike with an engine that sounds sweet. Riding upon our generator based machines, spewing out black, sooty smoke and knocking like a 'good’n', don’t be surprised if you have trouble pulling crumpet ;-)


One question that I frequently get asked is "my bike is self built, will it be easy to get insurance?" Well, depending upon where you live, this can be a tricky one. The first company I approached to insure my bike were very unhelpful. They were not prepared to take the gamble on a non-standard machine and wanted an MOT certificate, even though the vehicle was brand new. I then went to Carol Nash who insured me without any trouble - but it's getting harder. And remember, Carol Nash will not give you a valuation on a self built bike. Some are now using Peter James Insurance here in the UK which was previously part of with Footman James. Another company is Bikesure. According to their website they specifically show that they will issue insurance for the Eco Rider diesel motorbike! Cool!

In the United States of America, companies like Progressive offer helpful advice.

Useful links:

Things are harder in Germany where strict rules, that were put in place during the early days of diesel development, mean that it is not easy to get a diesel motorbike on the road. The UK has the MOT man to get past while the German guys have to deal with the 'TUV Man'. Thankfully things are getting easier there I'm told with the advent of the European Union Regulations but still, some guys have still registered their bikes in the UK.


Not many people make diesel motorcycles but try these two pages from our website here and here. Best of luck!


Our website here is hosted by those lovely folks over at LCN .And we bought our domain names through them too. We are also known as DieselBike.eu.



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