Hydrostatic Drive Diesel Motorcycle

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Jeff Parker and Brian Okeefe work around hydraulic machinery everyday and have a knack for building some pretty interesting equipment. It turns out they're interested in motorcycles, too, so after spending some time in the shop, they wondered how they might combine their knowledge of hydraulics with their love of motorcycles and the bike you see here is one very cool answer.

This bike belongs to Jeff who built it about 3 years ago but I never saw it until I was looking for information on diesels and ran across their website, Hydraulic Innovations. This bike has a custom built frame and mounts a Kubota 3 cylinder diesel engine but what makes the bike even more unique is the hydrostatic drive system, no belts, no chains, no gear drive transmission just hydraulic pumps and motors. Neat.

You still control speed with a twist grip and there's a front brake lever on the right but the "clutch" lever actually opens a bypass valve to let hydraulic fluid recirculate instead of driving the bike. There is only one foot lever on the right side which has a sort of neutral position in the center, pushing it forward gets the bike in forward motion and pushing it to the rear actually can reverse the bike. Jeff says, theoretically it could go as fast in reverse as forward but he limited the speed to prevent things from getting out of hand.

This is no garage queen either, Jeff rides it regularly. The bike gets about 65 to 70 mpg in normal riding but when he's out for a leisurely cruise, Jeff says he can easily get over 80 mpg, not bad for an 1123cc diesel engine in a 700 pound bike with another 200 pounds of rider. The fuel tank holds the diesel fuel and there is a 2 gallon tank below it for hydraulic fluid. The bike will cover over 350 miles per fill up. He's been to Sturgis for 3 years now and the guys he rides with fill up 3 times to his one when they're on the road.

The bike itself looks pretty nice when you consider all of the mechanicals, pumps, hoses and everything else he had to deal with, not to mention the diesel engine. There have been other bikes with more conventional setups that don't look this good.

Jeff's business partner is currently building a bike for himself and this one will have a lot of the hoses and fittings hidden within the frame to clean up the appearance a bit. Brian's bike will have a different hydraulic drive from the one Jeff used, but Jeff said he used the parts he had available at the time, collecting about 80 percent of the parts before starting the build.

They have DVDs for sale on their web site that you can use to figure out how the drive system works and they provide part numbers if you want to try one of these on your own. If you aren't sure just what a hydrostatic drive is or how it works, you might want to get the DVD. Who knows, there may be a whole new group of diesel customs showing up out there, with hydrostatic drive, no less!

They have some photos of a few other projects, past and present on their website. They're worth checking out. This is excellent engineering from a couple of guys that just decided to do something different. I like it!

Lots of photos and link below:

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Hydrostatic drive diesel motorcycle from Hydraulic Innovations

Link: Hydraulic Innovations

Comments

  1. todd says

    I dig the diamond plate swing arm and the exposed air bag suspension. This thing is sort of a clean “mad max”. Maybe on the next bike they can go whole hog and power the front wheel too.

    -todd

  2. says

    I was just speaking with someone about this exact thing! We had heard a few years ago about a diesel motocycle being built by a major mfg, but until i’d read your last two Blog entries, i’d thought things had died down a bit. It’s great to start seeing these as the prices of gasoline keeps climbing and we’re looking for alternatives to the same ol’ same ol bikes being produced. Good luck to them!

  3. Sean says

    I’ve heard a bit about hydrostatic bikes, there was an all wheel drive one made a while ago that used this to power both wheels. It doesn’t look as good as the other bike though.

  4. Jeff Parker says

    I have sold a lot of my videos to Rokon guys. The Rokon is a mechanical 2WD trail bike. A bunch of those guys have told me they are starting to build that type of bike hydraulically instead of mechanically. I would like to build one myself someday. When you’re only using less than 10 HP, the hydraulic components are very small and light weight.

    Jeff Parker

  5. GenWaylaid says

    Hydraulic transmission does have some potential as an automatic transmission for larger bikes where a conventional belt CVT would be hard to do.

    The Union Pacific Railroad once experimented with some German-made locomotives that used this type of drive (I believe they were made by Krauss-Maffei). It’s more efficient than the electric generator and traction motor transmission that most diesel locomotives use, but proved to be a pain to maintain.

  6. Andrewski says

    Why not just use a regular MC gearbox and save all the complexity, we all need to switch to biodiesel so why aren’t V twin or just any kind of diesel motorcycle engine commonly available???

  7. KarlP says

    I have operated a John Deere commerical lawn mower with a 48″ front cutting deck that had Hydrostatic drive. You just set the engine RPM for either best power or best economy and then vary the hydro drive for speed. It worked great! I would think a two cyclinder diesel would give you at least 80 mpg in a smaller, lighter bike.

  8. Diesel says

    There was a Vtwin show bike making it’s rounds a few years ago that used a EVO twin and hydraulic drive. How is acceleration on a rig like this?

  9. says

    I haven’t seen any other hydrostatic bikes out there yet. There is a difference between a hydraulic system and a hydrostatic system. The bike you’re talking about might be using a pump and a motor to do the job of a clutch and still have a conventional transmission. I don’t know. I’d like to see how they built it if anyone knows more about it.
    One thing about building a bike with any of this technology is that you can be very creative. You could mount the engine any direction you want along with several of the components. The hydraulic components are not that expendsive if you know where to look. As far as the engine goes, you could use almost anything that spins and fits.

    Thanks, Jeff Parker

  10. says

    Now put all this into a neat tilting 3 wheel package and you will have a great handling economical fun machine. One step further stop at any fast food (or donut shop if you can get the cops to move out of the way) and fill up on used oil – biodeisel. I’m sending off for the DVD tomorrow.
    John

  11. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says

    Wow, that’s pretty damned impressive IMO. Any chance of a Hossack-style front fork? This is the sort of bike that could supplant my beloved BMW, but I’m addicted to the ride height, front fork and ABS…

  12. WALTER K BAUER says

    Hi,Do you have any plans to manufacture this bike?If not do you have a do it yourself guide?Most inportantly how much do you have invested in the beast?Thankyou in advance for you time and considerations,Walt Bauer (walterkbauer@earthlink.net)

  13. Bryan Benner says

    This made me think of the problem with twin-engine automotive applications: dealing with the competing vibrations of two engines on one drivetrain, usually requiring AWD and dual trannies.

    This would seem to be the answer: you could hook up 2 (or 3, or…) engines hydraulically to the same driveshaft, and if one of them quit, throw some valves to isolate and run on the remaining one(s)!

  14. Joe Holbrook says

    I stumbled across your site and am awestruck!I like to tinker with motorized bicycle and moped type rigs. Is there a hyd pump and motor out there small enuf to run with a weedeater type engine? This would be a blast to ride around at swap meets and races!

  15. says

    There are pumps small enough for a little engine like that. A variable displacement piston pump would be the hot ticket. That might be tough to find. I once built a small machine using a power steering pump. They are unique because they have the reservoir, pump, flow control, and relief valve all in one tiny package. It made enough power to stall a 3hp engine. That wasn’t the dumbest thing I ever built. LOL.
    Jeff

  16. floyd schrammeck says

    I wanted to show this to my brotherin law who I
    raced a 250 Ossa for him many years ago.
    Thank you floyd Schrammeck
    Some different bikes, I am impressed.

  17. louis du toit says

    i am extremly interested in your hydrolic invention would like to know the difference in efficiency between hydrolic drive and chain driven

  18. says

    Hi, to make a fair comparison you would need to compare power at the crankshaft vs power at the wheel. Chain drive is very efficient compared to the transmission gears just like pushing the oil through a tube is very efficient compared to producing the pressure and flow. Just by building this bike proved that hydrostatic drive could be a player in the industry.
    Jeff

  19. stan hansard says

    I have not seen a hyd hose that didn’t blow out.You know what would happen if it blew out about 60 mph.Very bad ideal in front and around rear wheel.Scary

  20. Jeff says

    Stan, I’m sorry to hear that you have never seen a hydraulic hose that didn’t fail. Perhaps you should stay away from all of that equipment. It sounds dangerous.
    Jeff

  21. ad says

    This is a brilliant concept, I work on ships and we have hydraulic mooring winches…those things can be pretty damn powerful, I wonder what kind of accel and top speed this bike has?

  22. james henigman says

    Iam wondering if a bent shaft two speed motor with electric shift would make a freway eater with extreme milag

  23. Sheldon J. Beckham says

    I would like to take my 3 wheel Honda and chanhe it to a hydrostatic drive.
    Mt tike was a gift from my wife in 82 but while we wer5e away for several years a grandaughter trashed it.
    With the problem finding original parts its easier to do a complete rebuild,someone like yourself might be able to help me source the parts I need.
    The work is not a problem for me.
    Love your bike and the inovations!!!

  24. Pyro says

    Bravo Bravo to the engineering . and the idea but i think it would be week on acceleration . would take time to give it a go. 2WD is not needed on a cruse bike thoe.

  25. Tom says

    Have you done a 0-60MPH time check?
    Does this bike have a hydrostatic pump or a regular pump?

  26. John says

    You notice multiple people have requested acceleration numbers…

    There can’t be too many reasons he isn’t bragging them up…

  27. Jeff Parker says

    Yes it is a hydrostatic pump..

    I’m sorry I haven’t responded with 0-60 times. I have no idea what they are. I don’t seem to remember claiming this bike to be a race bike. It accelerates pretty good actually. Send me a g-force meter and I’d be glad to tell you the results.
    Jeff

  28. CYNDY says

    Well done gentlemen! I will be purchasing your video right away. I find it strange that there seems to be a universal mind at work here. Every time my husband and I start to work on an idea we find that many others are also woking on similar technologies. We are not working on a motorcycle and plan to use a different powerplant but your beautiful bike, and the resultant real data it provides is inspiring to us. We thank you and the planet thanks you I’m sure. Cheers!

  29. Casey says

    Had hydrostatic drive tractors on the farm as a kid. Some folks had reliability issues with them, but ours were fine. For non-racing/non-sporting aps, should be fine, in fact, I’ve wondered for a long time why no one had built one – especially 2wd. Dirty little secret is that motorbikers and major manufacturers are UBER conservative for the most part re design. I wonder about accel also. Hydro tractors had definite lag compared to similar standard trans. And there is a distinct knack to operating them in a manor that yields satisfying results…especially through a set of curves…

  30. ROBERT CONN says

    A DIESEL-HYDROSTATIC SNOWMOBILE WOULD BE AWESOME. — MIGHT BE A GREAT CHALLENGE FOR YOUR NEXT “THEY SAID IT COULD NEVER BE DONE” PROJECT, JEFF! AND I THINK IT COULD BE DONE WITHOUT THE BIG FEAR (WEIGHT) BEING A PROBLEM IF ONE OF KUBOTA’S SMALLER DIESELS COMBINED WITH A TURBO WERE USED. TRUE, IT WOULD NOT BE A HIT WITH THE SNOW DRIFT HOT DOGGERS WHO LIKE TO FLY 100+ FEET FROM MOGLE TO MOGLE. BUT FOR THE LOGGER OR WOODSMAN WHO EARNS A LIVING UP IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH IN THE WINTER… AND 4 BUCK+ GAS… RIGHT-ON!
    B.T.W. THAT BIKE LOOKED AWESOME AT PORKY’S DRIVE-IN OVER IN ST. PAUL LAST SATURDAY NITE! AND , AS YOU KNOW, PORKY’S IS BIG LEAGUE FOR MOTORHEADS. IF YOUR MACHINE LOOKS GOOD & DRAWS A CROUD THERE LIKE IT DID, YOU’VE GOT SOMETHING!

  31. trikikiwi says

    I want one, Please.
    At my cost, I will photograph this bike cruising around both Islands of New Zealand.

    If you can just send the bike over and collect it afterwards, I think we’re onto a good deal here.

    Cheers, Mike

  32. Frank S. Smith says

    This is the most awesome bike that I have ever seen or heard about and I have worked on and been around bikes all my life, very good work guys!

  33. Murray Halbert says

    Impressive,there is quite a bit of equipment squeezed into the frame.Looking at the engine I would guess it is around 22-26 HP.So 0-60 mph time on a 700lb bike wouldn’t strain your wrists.The best thing is that no matter what the engine rpm torque on the rear wheel would be the constant.That is providing engine power overcomes pump relief pressure.And since engine on rpm Kabotas is around 2400-2600 this is a good way to overcome that limitation..Putting this together and making it work and look great is a job well done!

  34. w.h. says

    JEFF HOW MUCH WOULD YOU CHARGE TO BUILT ONE TO SELL ? HOW WILL IT HANDLE SAY AS TO A STOCK 79 LOWRIDER ON THE HWY.. YOU HAVE GOT SOMETHING I WANT , NEVER HAVE WANTED ANOTHER BIKE BESIDE A H.D TILL I SEEN YOUR’S 62 YEARS OLD NOW , HAD BIKES SINCE I WAS 15, YES PEOPLE SAY THEY RIDE FOR YEARS AND NEVER CRASH , I CRASHED AS I STARTED RIDING AND HAVEN’T STOP YET. HAVE A GREAT ONE

  35. LeopardWAR says

    There were hydraulic over belt driven smomobiles in the 1970′s they were the yamaha tw433′s they have a high and low speed to them

  36. onsitewelding says

    Awesome idea. Great way to use off the shelf parts.
    I had a design for a Diesel bike. Using an early 1.6L VW diesel and shaft drive in a modified tour bike frame. Bring that bad boy into production!
    It really makes me think…What would Gale Banks build? He did build a 222mph Dodge diesel truck that TOWED its own trailer to the salt flats 5k miles. Diesel is the next big thing FO SHO!

  37. Peter McGarr says

    I have a Kubota powered tractor and find that the powerplant is very well done.
    What you’ve done for mileage though is even more impressive for a motorcycle.
    Why don’t you go into production. How much could it coceivably cost?