Motorcycles

Hero's 2WD diesel-electric RNT radically rethinks the motorcycle as an all-purpose utility vehicle

Hero's 2WD diesel-electric RNT...
Hero Motocorp suddenly seems more than capable of replacing Honda's technology, it also seems capable of producing machinery better suited for the emerging market it currently serves, but also of producing truly ingenious solutions that existing long term manufacturers with deeply-rooted R&D structures could simply never envisage.
Hero Motocorp suddenly seems more than capable of replacing Honda's technology, it also seems capable of producing machinery better suited for the emerging market it currently serves, but also of producing truly ingenious solutions that existing long term manufacturers with deeply-rooted R&D structures could simply never envisage.
View 48 Images
The RNT's large flat front mounting surface will no doubt see plenty of use once the machine hits the market.
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The RNT's large flat front mounting surface will no doubt see plenty of use once the machine hits the market.
The more you look at the RNT, the more you see. note the footrests for the rear passengers that are incororated into the rear carrier rack.
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The more you look at the RNT, the more you see. note the footrests for the rear passengers that are incororated into the rear carrier rack.
The Hero RNT's distinctive profile - it mighjt look ugly to you, but it will be the answer to many people's prayers.
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The Hero RNT's distinctive profile - it mighjt look ugly to you, but it will be the answer to many people's prayers.
Hero Motocorp suddenly seems more than capable of replacing Honda's technology, it also seems capable of producing machinery better suited for the emerging market it currently serves, but also of producing truly ingenious solutions that existing long term manufacturers with deeply-rooted R&D structures could simply never envisage.
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Hero Motocorp suddenly seems more than capable of replacing Honda's technology, it also seems capable of producing machinery better suited for the emerging market it currently serves, but also of producing truly ingenious solutions that existing long term manufacturers with deeply-rooted R&D structures could simply never envisage.
The mountings for the extendable rear carrier look particularly strong.
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The mountings for the extendable rear carrier look particularly strong.
There's carrying capacity galore on the Hero RNT hybrid.
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There's carrying capacity galore on the Hero RNT hybrid.
The German-built Sommer diesel
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The German-built Sommer diesel
The German-built Sommer diesel
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The German-built Sommer diesel
The German-built Sommer diesel
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The German-built Sommer diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel recently completed its final production run - the company is known to be developing a diesel-electric hybrid and still builds bikes on customer request.
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel recently completed its final production run - the company is known to be developing a diesel-electric hybrid and still builds bikes on customer request.
These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
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These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
Track Diesel is known to be developing a diesel-electric hybrid - this is the only image that exists of the company's initial work on the hybrid
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Track Diesel is known to be developing a diesel-electric hybrid - this is the only image that exists of the company's initial work on the hybrid
These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
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These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
The Dutch-built Track Diesel uses an 800 cc three-cylinder CDI common rail turbo diesel engine
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel uses an 800 cc three-cylinder CDI common rail turbo diesel engine
The German-built Sommer diesel
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The German-built Sommer diesel
Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1
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Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Diesel Wiesel
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The Diesel Wiesel
The Diesel Wiesel
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The Diesel Wiesel
Kiel-based Neander Motorcycles produces a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm
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Kiel-based Neander Motorcycles produces a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm
These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
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These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
The German-manufactured Neander is a serious piece of heavy metal, running a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm
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The German-manufactured Neander is a serious piece of heavy metal, running a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm
The German-manufactured Neander
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The German-manufactured Neander
A gaggle of Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1s on the way to the United States military
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A gaggle of Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1s on the way to the United States military
A gaggle of Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1s on the way to the United States military
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A gaggle of Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1s on the way to the United States military
Hayes also has a production diesel motorcycle planned for civilian use named the Bulldog, which like its military cousin, will be based on the Kawasaki and use a 667cc diesel engine producing 35 PS @ 5400 RPM and offering 43 ft-lbs of torque at 3300 RPM.
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Hayes also has a production diesel motorcycle planned for civilian use named the Bulldog, which like its military cousin, will be based on the Kawasaki and use a 667cc diesel engine producing 35 PS @ 5400 RPM and offering 43 ft-lbs of torque at 3300 RPM.
Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1
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Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1
Look at all those robust mounting handles, grab rails, carrier racks and footrests. The equally robust mounting points for those handles will invariably lead to countless home-grown solutions for myriad needs.
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Look at all those robust mounting handles, grab rails, carrier racks and footrests. The equally robust mounting points for those handles will invariably lead to countless home-grown solutions for myriad needs.
The RNT's power outlet socket makes the bike a portable diesel generator. There's every likelihood that this might become a standard feature on motorcycles created for the developing world in the future.
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The RNT's power outlet socket makes the bike a portable diesel generator. There's every likelihood that this might become a standard feature on motorcycles created for the developing world in the future.
The Hero RNT is a two-wheeled iron horse designed for solutions beyond just mobility.
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The Hero RNT is a two-wheeled iron horse designed for solutions beyond just mobility.
The RNT’s LED headlight can be unclipped to serve as a powerful, portable light source – a feature sure to appeal to people who do not have electrical power connected at home, or who wish to work, camp or play somewhere off-the-grid.
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The RNT’s LED headlight can be unclipped to serve as a powerful, portable light source – a feature sure to appeal to people who do not have electrical power connected at home, or who wish to work, camp or play somewhere off-the-grid.
The RNT was just one of a number of ingenious new motorcycles shown by the marque at Auto Expo in New Delhi
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The RNT was just one of a number of ingenious new motorcycles shown by the marque at Auto Expo in New Delhi
Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal and the RNT prototype. Note that the bike shown did not have the optional front wheel hub motor.
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Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal and the RNT prototype. Note that the bike shown did not have the optional front wheel hub motor.
The Dutch-built Track Diesel is another that might cease to exist, having recently completed its final production run of 800cc three cylinder diesel motorcycles.
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel is another that might cease to exist, having recently completed its final production run of 800cc three cylinder diesel motorcycles.
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
The Dutch-built Track Diesel
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The Dutch-built Track Diesel
Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1
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Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1
The recently defunct Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
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The recently defunct Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
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The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
The Dieselfighter is a Volkswagen Golf 1600cc engine in a Kawasaki frame. Probably the fastest diesel motorcycle on the planet right now.
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The Dieselfighter is a Volkswagen Golf 1600cc engine in a Kawasaki frame. Probably the fastest diesel motorcycle on the planet right now.
The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
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The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
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The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
View gallery - 48 images

Hero Motocorp’s presentation of the RNT hybrid turbo-diesel-electric motorcycle prototype at Auto Expo in New Delhi last week might well begin a whole new phase in the development of the motorcycle as an all-purpose utility vehicle. Most significantly, the RNT offers a range of life solutions well beyond mobility – it's designed to pull a plow or a harvester, carry heavy loads safely and adapt to play a practical role, particularly in rural areas and the developing world.

The RNT has an ultra-frugal 13.5 hp, 150 cc diesel engine which produces 35 Nm of torque at just 1600 rpm, with an optional turbocharger which will more than double both those figures. There’s also an optional front wheel hub motor producing 1.3 hp, giving the bike two-wheel drive. Even more significantly, the RNT’s powerful generator can output 1500 W of 230 V electrical power continuously, making it ideal as a portable power source, and the LED headlight unclips to offer a portable and powerful light source. Large flat loading surfaces front and rear plus numerous mounting handles indicate a long overdue rethink of how the scooter is used in many parts of the world.

These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries

The low-cost, cheap-to-run, step-thru scooter has become the default family transportation in many developing countries due to its light weight, low running costs and ease-of-use. While the cost of a scooter in these areas often represents many months, sometimes years of wages, it is still a relatively affordable form of transport and has become an enabler in many ways, playing the dual role of family car and all-purpose haulage vehicle for goods.

In many parts of Asia, Africa, South America and India, the scooter represents more than 90 percent of two-wheel sales, with two-wheelers significantly outselling cars, which are the domain of the wealthy elite.

These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries
These pictures were taken in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia and indicate the many uses people find for the humble scooter in developing countries

Hence, Hero Motocorp’s ingenious rethink of the scooter form factor offers significantly more practicality than the existing scooters in the marketplace which have, until now, been adapted from their western design for the many needs of the markets they serve.

The 150cc diesel engine is a first in that it uses a commonly available fuel which is much cheaper than petrol in India, and will likely produce remarkable fuel consumption figures in such a small capacity engine, especially when used in a motorcycle weighing just 136 kg. It’s no coincidence that the only diesel motorcycle which has ever been produced in real numbers was produced by Royal Enfield in India.

Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal and the RNT prototype. Note that the bike shown did not have the optional front wheel hub motor.
Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal and the RNT prototype. Note that the bike shown did not have the optional front wheel hub motor.

The low-grade technology employed by Royal Enfield in making the bikes resulted in noxious halitosis and the model was discontinued some 12 years ago, but the need remains, and with more than a billion people, the Indian Government is in no position to subsidize fuel prices as governments do in the rest of the world. A little known fact is that globally, governments collectively subsidize fuel prices to the tune of half a trillion US dollars annually. This is a machine designed to have a low environmental footprint, not just because it's good for the planet's respiratory system, but because as fuel prices rise, it will offer the lowest possible practical running costs.

Diesel engines are also extremely durable and reliable and the very few examples of diesel motorcycles that have made it to commercial production (see prior examples below) are surrounded by tales of ultra-low running costs and extreme high mileage.

Rural roads in developing areas rarely have good surfaces, so speeds beyond 35-40 mph (60-75 km/h) are often impractical or unsafe, and the further you get from big cities, the worse those roads get. So the RNT’s modest 13.5 hp is entirely adequate for these environments, even though it gives the bike a top speed of just 70 km/h. As scooters in such places are often pressed into service for carrying ridiculously heavy loads, the RNT’s diminutive but torquey motor is again ideal, producing 35Nm of torque at just 1600 rpm. That's a level of torque that sports bikes of double the capacity make at four to five times the RNT's engine speeds.

The RNT's large flat front mounting surface will no doubt see plenty of use once the machine hits the market.
The RNT's large flat front mounting surface will no doubt see plenty of use once the machine hits the market.

For places where more power and torque is required, there will be an optional turbocharger for the RNT which will more than double both those figures. Hence, the turbo option is, in effect, a larger capacity version of the same bike, much as traditional manufacturers once produced both a 250cc and 350cc version of the same machine, or a 350cc and 500cc version in earlier times.

The RNT was also announced as having an optional electric front wheel hub motor producing 1.3 hp horsepower, effectively giving the RNT two-wheel drive for slippery unpaved roads – diesel running using rear wheel drive only for less challenging conditions, or electric-only running with front wheel drive for places where silent, economical or emission-free running is important. Research on two-wheel-drive motorcycles done by Yamaha and Ohlins suggests around 10 percent of the rear wheel horsepower is ideal for the front wheel in a two-wheel-drive motorcycle, so the 1.3 hp hub motor seems to reflect that Hero has been keeping up with the Joneses (and Yamahas in this instance).

Look at all those robust mounting handles, grab rails, carrier racks and footrests. The equally robust mounting points for those handles will invariably lead to countless home-grown solutions for myriad needs.
Look at all those robust mounting handles, grab rails, carrier racks and footrests. The equally robust mounting points for those handles will invariably lead to countless home-grown solutions for myriad needs.

This enables the RNT to adapt to the particular needs of the moment. In much of the bike’s intended market, this combination of drive options will enable the RNT to cover a range of territories that the traditional scooter, with its internal combustion engine, cannot.

Many of the other design features of the RNT indicate a degree of thought about real world usage of scooter that is well beyond anything in the marketplace. One of the key themes for the RNT is that it offers solutions for life beyond mobility.

The first and most significant is that the RNT’s powerful oversized generator can continuously output 1500 W of 230V electrical power. This enables the RNT to double as a portable diesel generator on wheels – a practical power source for the vast remote tracts of land in the still-developing world that don’t have grid electrical power.

The RNT’s LED headlight can be unclipped to serve as a powerful, portable light source – a feature sure to appeal to people who do not have electrical power connected at home, or who wish to work, camp or play somewhere off-the-grid.
The RNT’s LED headlight can be unclipped to serve as a powerful, portable light source – a feature sure to appeal to people who do not have electrical power connected at home, or who wish to work, camp or play somewhere off-the-grid.

A further ingenious twist is the RNT’s LED headlight which can be easily removed from the bike to serve as a powerful and portable light source – another feature sure to appeal to people who do not have electrical power connected at home, or who wish to work, camp or play somewhere off-the-grid. It also means that whatever you're doing, wherever you're doing it, you can keep doing it after the sun goes down.

Perhaps the most interesting change evident in the RNT is that its low-speed, low-fuss, economical motor is also designed as a workhorse – the RNT is a two-wheeled “iron horse” beyond the loading surfaces front and rear designed to carry lots of things.

There's carrying capacity galore on the Hero RNT hybrid.
There's carrying capacity galore on the Hero RNT hybrid.

Amongst the many features of the RNT is that the frame has been designed to be easily extendable with multiple built-in mountings for attachments to suit the user’s needs and there is provision for the bike to attach both a plow and a harvester – Hero is obviously thinking well outside the purview of current motorcycle manufacturers in addressing the needs of the developing world.

Why has the diesel motorcycle been so long in coming?

Considering the virtues of Rudolf Diesel’s famous variant of the internal combustion engine, and the recent massive advances in overcoming its previous shortcomings, it is quite astonishing that there have been so few diesel motorcycles built. Royal Enfield is the only company to have ever produced a series production diesel motorcycle, with Hayes Diesel technology of the United States and the Russian-made Dnepr vying for a distant second in total numbers produced.

A gaggle of Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1s on the way to the United States military
A gaggle of Hayes Diversified Technologies M1030M1s on the way to the United States military

Hayes has only ever sold its Kawasaki KLR 600/650 mutants to the American Armed Forces, so that might offer some idea of the miniscule number of diesel motorcycles produced to date, particularly in comparison to the hundreds of millions of two-wheelers powered by the internal combustion engine that have been sold to the public in the last 125 years.

Hayes also has a production diesel motorcycle planned for civilian use named the Bulldog, which like its military cousin, will be based on the Kawasaki and use a 667cc diesel engine producing 35 PS @ 5400 RPM and offering 43 ft-lbs of torque at 3300 RPM.
Hayes also has a production diesel motorcycle planned for civilian use named the Bulldog, which like its military cousin, will be based on the Kawasaki and use a 667cc diesel engine producing 35 PS @ 5400 RPM and offering 43 ft-lbs of torque at 3300 RPM.

Hayes also has a production diesel motorcycle planned for civilian use named the Bulldog, which like its military cousin, will be based on the Kawasaki and use a 667 cc diesel engine producing 35 hp at 5400 rpm and offering 43 ft-lbs of torque at 3300 rpm. The bike has been delayed because military needs keep increasing, but if you're in the market for an off-road diesel, you can sign up for information on the Bulldog when it becomes available at the HDTUSA web site.

Kiel-based Neander Motorcycles produces a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm
Kiel-based Neander Motorcycles produces a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm

Of all the diesel motorcycles we’ve ever mentioned in 12 years of producing Gizmag, we can only find one other marque still operating: Kiel-based Neander Motorcycles produces a 1340cc air- and oil-cooled twin producing 112 hp at 4200 rpm and a whopping 214 Nm of torque at 2600 rpm – that’s the sort of grunt that was until recently only associated with a V8 automobile engine. Despite the heavy metal nature of the beast, it still delivers fuel economy of 4.5 liters per 100 km from its turbo-diesel engine which uses twin counter-rotating cranks to sooth its inner demon.

Rudolf Diesel’s native Germany is still the undisputed heartland of diesel motorcycles with a number of small boutique manufacturers producing handfuls of hand-built motorcycles. We're not sure if this concentration of diesel manufacturers is because the practicality, durability and frugality of the diesel somehow appeals to the Teutonic mindset, or if it's some by-product of the German education system which quite rightly eulogizes the genius of Rudolf Diesel.

The best-known of the German boutique brands are Dieselwiesel and Sommer which have respectively produced 200 motorcycles and 130 motorcycles to date.

The Diesel Wiesel
The Diesel Wiesel

Current offerings from Dieselwiesel are all based around a 7 kW, 406 cc single weighing 149 kg and costing under EUR10,000.

The German-built Sommer diesel
The German-built Sommer diesel

Sommer diesels are still available, but don't plan on getting one any time soon. The company has produced around 130 motorcycles and has unfilled orders for the next 80 machines it produces, so the waiting list already stretches well into 2015 production for the company's 8 kW, 462cc machine, which retails for EUR9200.

The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI
The Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI

Sadly, the Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI is no longer in production. The bike used a heavily modified 1.2-litre Volkswagen diesel engine producing 70 hp and 160 Nm torque.

The Dieselfighter is a Volkswagen Golf 1600cc engine in a Kawasaki frame. Probably the fastest diesel motorcycle on the planet right now.
The Dieselfighter is a Volkswagen Golf 1600cc engine in a Kawasaki frame. Probably the fastest diesel motorcycle on the planet right now.

One machine that has the potential to replace the Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI on your wishlist if you are a superbike enthusiast with a penchant for something very different and diesel is the Dieselfighter – essentially a Volkswagen Golf 1600cc diesel engine in a Kawasaki GPZ 1000 RX frame and running gear. Once again, the bike is of German manufacture, and orders are built upon customer request, though the company that produced the Dieselfighter will build you anything you wish, using the frame and motor of your choice.

The Dutch-built Track Diesel uses an 800 cc three-cylinder CDI common rail turbo diesel engine
The Dutch-built Track Diesel uses an 800 cc three-cylinder CDI common rail turbo diesel engine

The Dutch-built Track Diesel is another that might cease to exist, with a final production run of 800 cc three cylinder diesel motorcycles having been recently completed. The company web site states that it is not producing motorcycles any more, but there are also indications of the coming of a diesel electric hybrid motorcycle.

When we contacted Track Diesel to enquire, the reply was equally as noncommittal: "On the E-TRACK we cannot give more info. And maybe never will. We now build only on special customers request. No production planned whatsoever!"

Which brings us back to the original question. There doesn't seem to be a logical reason why the diesel engine hasn't found its way into many more two wheelers. Diesel engines are now in the majority of new cars sold in Europe, yet only a few hundred diesel motorcycles are produced in the entire world each year. Perhaps it's that motorcycles are significantly more fuel-efficient than cars and the oil crisis hasn't materialized as yet. Readers are welcome to share their views on this matter in the comments section below.

Finally, the Hero RNT is not a definite production machine at this point in time, but it represents such a quantum leap in motorcycle design that its production and proliferation seems inevitable.

For Hero Motocorp, it's a coup of considerable magnitude. The company that just four years ago was faced with the herculean task of replacing the design and manufacturing expertise of the world's largest and most technologically-sophisticated motorcycle company by the end of 2014 when its relationship with Honda broke up, now seems more than up to the task.

Indeed, Hero seems also seems capable of designing and producing machinery better suited for the emerging market it currently serves than its former partner, but also of producing truly ingenious solutions that existing long term manufacturers with deeply-rooted R&D structures could simply never envisage.

Bravo Hero Motocorp for thinking outside the square.

The company's promo video for the RNT concept is below.

View gallery - 48 images
33 comments
Slowburn
Too bad they went with the expensive electric system for the hybrid especially for the third world.
BeWalt
What a lovely read, thank you very much for this awesome article!
Great project and concept. However: One does have to realize that all this effort of having a dual drive (Diesel and electric) only has one advantage over a pure electric, solar-charged drive: Range. For now.
But that range comes at the expense of having to buy fuel, and having to deal with a considerably iffier system (combustion engine) than with a solar powered battery system. Helping rural communities lastingly means getting them of that infusion of outside energy, aka oil.
The solar cell power price is getting real lower and lower, we are approaching a dollar per watt (for small consumers, large have long passed that) and that means the 1500 watts this hybrid produces can be permanently supplied with a one-time $1500 investment (I'm really simplifying things here but you get the point). Those 1500 bucks will be recouped by savings for (hard currency) spendings on fuel, which would essentially never stop. Being dependent on buying oil is economically deadly, the poorer the people, the deadlier. It's the gun on their head that never goes away.
Within a few battery generations (I say 10 years) we will see a new situation for these kinds of things: Solar electric is easier, cheaper, more versatile, and longer lasting than everything else. Not there quite yet, but mark my words. It's quiet. It doesn't stink. No seizing pistons. No issues from dirty fuel. I could go on and on...
Mel Tisdale
I would like to second BeWalt's sentiments and thank Mike Hanlon for a very informative article. I learned a lot from reading it, as I am sure will many others.
Rowan Brown
theres also the altuis scimitar (which seems to have disappeared), that was actually reviewed by a motorcycle magazine. the market is there for an offroad diesel production bike, and it still surprises me that one hasnt materialised.
Doug MacLeod
Diesel work bike plus generator: not a new concept,
http://blog.motorcycle.com/2010/08/26/motorcycle-news/ecorider-diesel-powered-motorcycle-video/
The Eco-Rider failed because it was positively dangerous to ride. After a go on it on a farm I refused to get back on it.
The Hero looks a bit more rider-friendly!
Bob Stuart
I've seen a lot of working motorcycles, and the Hero does address many real issues, but traction is not one I've noticed. KISS.
EH
Good concept, particularly the racks and mounts. Some thoughts: * 1.5 kW is nice to have, but really not big enough. Need 3 to 5 kW option.
* Need direct mechanical power take-off for farm machinery. A high-capacity water pump add- on would be perhaps even more useful than plow and harvester. (Could be used for amphibious conversion, too.)
* The headlight needs to be removable only with the key. A small, marginally-adequate permanently built-in headlight is needed in addition; the vehicle will certainly sometimes be operated without the main headlight at night.
* Two or more transverse mounting holes connected to the frame at the bottom of the bike and running all the way through from one side to the other would allow pipe or pole racks to be attached. The mounts should have cross - bolts or other means to lock the pipe frame pieces in place. A couple other pieces of common hardware would allow connecting outrigger/ lengthwise pipes to the cross pieces which run through the bike. This would allow carrying truckloads of material on the bike.
Keith Lamb
I'm pretty sure Hayes Diesel has given up production of the Bulldog, regardless of what their website says. They've had that "production delayed" statement on their website for years.
Suman M Subramanian
Having owned two undependable lead-acid battery-powered electric scooters (I was an optimist), and reading about the problems Nissan Leaf owners and Boeing have with their far more sophisticated batteries, I'm convinced that batteries are just not durable enough to replace internal combustion. Hybrids are better since the combustion engine acts as a generator to protect the batteries from overly deep discharge. Capacitors or fuel cells (or some radically new battery design) may offer a better solution in the future, but until then, hybrids are a great way to reduce oil consumption.
I was really interested in the Bulldog back in 2005, but when I contacted Hayes I was put off by the high price - around $15k, which is more than double what a donor KLR 650 costs.
I'm very impressed with this new Hero design. Having spent some time in India and Vietnam, I've seen how people use scooters to transport loads that boggle western minds, simply because cars and trucks are too expensive for most locals to own.
I recall reading that Hero Motorcorp and Erik Buell Racing formed a partnership in 2012. Not to take anything away from Hero's role, but was EBR involved in the RNT's development? This new design is so radically out-of-the-box it practically screams "Buell!" :)
Tjoe
I can see having a wide front end (3 wheel version) with carrying capacity, perhaps electric assist... especially if it would regenerative brake and charge batteries.