Well that didn’t take long. Right on the heels of the Audi diesel winning Sebring, Bruce wrote in with a few details of his homemade diesel powered bobber chopper.
The build started when his son began a science project on renewable fuels. When they got caught up in the idea of making their own fuel the next logical step was building a bike to try it out.
They started with a Honda CJ360 frame. Next up was a 9hp Yanmar diesel along with a tank and seat, all found on ebay. They added a Comet torque-a-verter, the choice of mini chopper builders everywhere, plus assorted pieces from other suppliers. As Bruce tells it:
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 molded with NAPA ultralight filler and painted dark grey using a textured paint called Hammerite. All 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 color shift effect that doesn’t show up in the photos.
Bruce says it pulls like a train right up to 70mph, smokes, shakes and smells like french fries. It also gets over 100mpg on homemade biodiesel. It has that old school bobber look, pretty cool.
The Yanmar diesels seem to be one of the primary engine choices among diesel bike builders since it’s easy to fab up a drivetrain. When you start with something a lot higher tech, like the VW 3 cylinder TDI diesel in the Thunder Star, fabrication gets a bit complicated but there’s no reason some of the larger motorcycle companies can’t do this. We’ll be looking a little closer at more of the recent diesel bike projects around and if you have one or know of one, be sure to let us know.