When I first started writing about diesel motorcycles it struck me as a bit unusual, I really wasn't aware of some of the latest advances in adapting diesel engines to a motorcycle frame but of course, the Thunder Star 1200 got me thinking about the possibilities. That bike gets 150mpg and looks like it should get pretty impressive performance to boot. Now there's biodiesel to think about and it's coming on strong.
Over the weekend, the TV show, Trucks, ran through the whole process of making biodiesel fuel from a large container of used cooking oil picked up at a local restaurant after which, the host, Stacy David, pumped the homebrew into a diesel pickup and ran it through its paces. The truck performed great, or according to Stacy, even better than on regular diesel.
He had a setup from a company called Freedom Fuel America, which consisted of a couple of plastic containers, some pumps and hoses and a test kit to determine how much lye was necessary to adjust the chemical properties of the used oil. Along with lye, the only other component necessary was methanol, same as used in racing engines.
The process looked very simple and straight forward. A few hours later, he had about 20 gallons of biodiesel at a cost of around 70 cents per gallon for a net savings of about $1.50 per gallon. With your basic 30 gallon truck fuel tank, savings can add up fast. How about with a motorcycle? A 5 gallon tank would yield a savings of $7.50, but with a bike like the Thunder Star getting 150mpg, you would practically be riding free. Think about it.
Of course, it would be hard to justify buying this setup just for a motorcycle but many of us have trucks and more than a few are diesels. Suppose you had a car that was diesel, too, do the math. The biodiesel guys have something here that looks very interesting and I think we're going to be hearing a lot more about this in the very near future.