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Basem Wasef

EPA Lobbies for Diesel-Powered Motorcycles by 2017

By April 1, 2013

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Diesel Motorcycles

If you think motorcycles are all about freedom, the U.S. government wants you to think again: though they've traditionally steered clear of manipulating the motorcycle industry when it comes to emissions and fuel economy standards, a movement is afoot within the Environmental Protection Agency that's lobbying to convert 75 percent of motorized cycles to clean diesel power by 2017.

"An environmentally friendly, diesel-powered, 100 mpg motorcycle alternative is coming quicker than you think," a government statement suggested, which was released to manufacturers, dealers, and the Motorcycle Industry Council. The message was accompanied by technical arguments in favor of onboard particulate filters, high-pressure injection systems, and ways the two-wheeled world should more closely echo the auto industry, which has seen highway fuel economy figures in the 40 mpg range with the application of advanced diesel technology.

"Together, we can work towards a cleaner, more fuel efficient, and more sustainable goal of two-wheeled transportation," the statement urged, though it was met with anger and outrage from manufacturers, who conveyed in a joint statement that they were not prepared financially or logistically to convert their internal combustion offerings into diesel power. One exception, however, was expressed by Russian sidecar builder Ural, who indicated that they already have a diesel-powered offering in development that should debut later this year.*


* Yep, it's that time of year again-- Happy April First!

Photo © Getty Images

April 1, 2013 at 6:19 am
(1) Joe says:

I can’t wait! Diesel bikes are going to be so cool. The loud knock of the motor, the blue smoke out the tailpipe. I want mine with a kicker, only a real man will be able to kick over a diesel.

April 1, 2013 at 7:52 am
(2) dabber says:

I can’t wait! I could put a big chrome vertical exhaust stack on it and be Rockin!!

April 1, 2013 at 8:09 am
(3) Pete says:

Damn! This all started when Audi bought Ducati…apparently the 2014 Desmosedici is going to be 1350cc diesel single. It comes complete with a 8hp Honda engine to start it.
Spies & Hayden want nothing to do with it, and have already signed with Vespa.

April 1, 2013 at 8:57 am
(4) Z says:

BIG BROTHER will destroy motorcycling along with any other manifestations of freedom!

April 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm
(5) darcy says:

Sorry….what’s the date again :-)

April 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm
(6) alex says:

Shame it’s the first of April. I would look forward to more diesel bikes, especially ones like this German homebuilt Lombardini Triumph Tiger, with blower, by MotoHeiko
It might not be to everyone’s taste, but I think the sound is to die for.


April 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm
(7) Pete says:

Sounds like a …….diesel. Rattle, bang, clank ……

Sorry … don’t get it. Bet it’s a stump puller though..how big is the engine?

April 2, 2013 at 3:58 am
(8) Erik says:

Ready for this moment for years now. ;-)
http://Www.dieselmotorfiets.nl yes its Dutch

April 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm
(9) alex says:

@Erik, I’ve long admired the Dutch ‘Track’ bike, with the modified Mercedes Smart Car engine. It’s a shame it’s so expensive, due to small production runs. Definitely a bike fit for purpose, though!

@Pete, here’s another vid with some more spec, with wheelies and all the usual hooligan stuff. It seems to be a 3cyl 900cc unit, originally with 27hp, but this one has plenty of modifications that would indicate significantly higher power output, plus the supercharger, which gives it the powerful whine, when revved, reminding me of those brutish 18wheeler traction units revving up. (automotive diesel units only ‘knock’ in tick-over, but run very smoothly, once load is applied)
I should imagine low down torque is massive and he states fuel economy is 78 to 118mpg(US),
or 94 to 140mpg(UK)
I have seen the drastic deterioration and exploitation of out planet in my lifetime, and most of it is done in our name. I, for one, am slowly but surely weaning myself off the cancerous consumer/consumptive lifestyle. My van is long sold and I’m delighted with my 650 V-Strom. I wouldn’t change anything on the bike, yet I would trade some hp for extra torque and the massive fuel economy of a good diesel, such as the ‘Track’.

April 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm
(10) Zebco says:

The bait was cast and appears several fish went after it.

April 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(11) Erik says:

That s what we like about bait. when the taste is good we bite. Always love an april fools item. But also the catch is a good conversation. We do think the US has great potential regarding our product direction. And our goal is to do more with less. It s not only Dutch but i think you would love that too..regards from Holland

April 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm
(12) Pete says:

Strictly from an aesthetic point of view and a somewhat ‘purist’ stand point, I’m not ready for a Diesel – yet.

All sorts of conversation points though … I believe that was already pointed out.
I figure 95% of the MC riding public is firmly in the ‘not a bad idea, but not for me’ arena.

Why are Diesels going to have to battle a tough acceptance curve?

Lack of education or knowledge?

Age old preconceived notions and biases?

I could easily fall into either both of those categories.

As far as I’m concerned, Diesels stink, they’re noisy, sound like a bucket of marbles…very utilitarian…not much fun or refinement. Kind of like a Lada beside an Si.

For at least the last couple years Diesel costs more here than does gasoline…what’s the price in the States?

Do they pollute less than gasoline? I don’t know, but I bet not.

They’re wayyyy ahead of the handful of electric bikes that will go 100mph for 3 minutes or 40 mph for 3 hours. It’ll be a long time before the electrics come in to their own. A Diesel is very useable and very rideable right now.

I would be very interested in riding one….I’m a big fan of torque.

Amazing how an April Fools gag turned into a honest, intelligent conversation!! Basem…you sure blew that one! Next time you’ll have to find something really absurd!! How about “HD is going to start building airliners in China”??

April 3, 2013 at 11:08 am
(13) Jim R says:

who’ll be the first to fill their tank with auto gas??

April 3, 2013 at 11:21 am
(14) Ninja Kev says:

If I decide to buy one down the road a spell, will it mean that I’ll have to get a CB radio for it, start listening to country music and wear a “Caterpillar” baseball cap instead of my helmet?

April 3, 2013 at 11:36 am
(15) Peter says:

Diesel stinks and is very carcinogenic………..Boo!

April 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm
(16) Pete says:

They race ‘em at Bonneville, so why not mass produce them.

April 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm
(17) Mike says:

Diesels stink.
Motorcycles get good enough mileage without them?
Thanks, Mike
Class A commercial drivers license holder
motorcycle rider

April 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm
(18) John Stewart says:

This story is funny, but the truth is even stranger.

The EPA is at fault for the current rash of 4 stroke dirt bikes. The EPA ultimately backed off on emission requirements but we are still stuck with a lack of 2 strokes because of “threatened” regulations.

April 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm
(19) Rider says:

A Harley with a diesel, now it will sound like a diesel school bus.

April 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm
(20) Jimbo says:

Think about it – why does my 900cc bike @ 600 # not get way better mileage than cars on the road today. The mc industry should have been on the mileage game a long time ago.

April 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm
(21) Pete says:

A lack of 2-strokes? No such thing. They’ve had their time…they’re done. They’re history. I had my share, and for the most part I don’t miss them.

May 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm
(22) Joe Bar says:

I sold my four stroke and went back to two strokes. Better for woods racing. Yay, KTM!

October 13, 2013 at 2:41 am
(23) arlan says:

I am very impressed with Europe technology which is way ahead of USA on diesel motorcycles and cars. Europe is very understanding and open with people better than USA. I don’t know why the USA govt does not allow us to have diesel bikes.

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