The diesel engine has come a long way since Rudolf Diesel patented it in 1894, but it’s still used for many of the tasks Dr. Diesel envisioned, i.e, applications that require maximum torque, reliability and fuel efficiency. Sounds like an adventure-tour motorcycle like the BMW GS series, no? Until recently, the diesel’s heavy weight and low horsepower output have limited consumer appeal.
Still, Dutch company E.V.A., builder of small diesel engines as well as an interesting two-wheel-drive system for motorcycles, intends to bring such a bike to market in Europe, and perhaps even the U.S.A. this year. It’s called the Track, and it may be just the bike to have for the apocalypse.
The Track uses a three-cylinder 800cc diesel with an intercooled turbo. It’s good for a claimed 54 hp – not much for a bike that weighs a claimed 501 pounds dry – and about 75 ft.-lbs. of torque at a barely-spinning 1800 rpm. The transmission is a CVT. Front suspension is a 48mm WP upside-down fork (available with E.V.A.’s optional hydraulic front-wheel-drive system) and a monoshock is directly bolted to the rear swingarm/driveshaft unit. The frame is chromoly steel tubing, with a lazy 63.3 inch wheelbase.
Performance may not overwhelm those used to gas engines (E.V.A. lists “enough” for top speed), but for those whose definition of “adventure touring” goes beyond meeting other adventure-tour-bike owners at Starbucks every other Saturday during the Summer, the advantages of a diesel should be clear. Diesels are robust, easy to repair, and easy to find fuel for (the Track can even run on pure vegetable oil…Rudolf’s first prototype ran on peanut oil). Fuel consumption is also impressive, given this machine’s weight: E.V.A claims about 100 miles per gallon at a steady 55 mph. With the 6-gallon tank full, that’s enough range to avoid pushing your bike even in the most remote desert. The optional two-wheel-drive system should help in sand and muck.
According to E.V.A., the Track will go on sale in Europe for 17,500 Euros (about $24,000), equipped with aluminum luggage (ABS is optional). E.V.A.’s website indicates units could be available in the U.S.A. after September, 2009.