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BMW Cycle Powered By Biodiesel
With home-brewed biodiesel powering his truck, tractors and other farm equipment, Dave Hubbard decided to use it in a motorcycle, too. He bought a 1986 BMW R80RT and replaced the gas engine with a three cylinder, Daihatsu D950 industrial diesel from Briggs and Stratton.
"I chose the BMW for its inline engine. The drive shaft goes straight out the back of the engine to the transmission and the differential on the rear wheel," says Hubbard. "On most bikes, the engine sits sideways across the frame. The three cylinder would have been too wide if placed sideways."
The industrial engine had multiple holes for mounting in different positions, making the conversion easier. Hubbard cut the original frame in two and then attached the front and back halves of the frame to the front and back of the engine.
To mount the transmission to the new motor, Hubbard had to fabricate a bell housing. He cut the top off a 40-lb. propane cylinder and welded steel plates to either end. Using paper templates, he ground down the steel plates and drilled holes to match the transmission and the motor mounts.
To cool the motor, Hubbard mounted three small radiators in gaps in the faring where the original motor had stuck out. The radiators originally were mounted under seats in a school bus. He connected them to the water pump salvaged from the original BMW motor. A small electric fan on one side of the motor kicks in as needed.
"It runs great," says Hubbard. "It will go 70 mph wide open and has a lot of torque. I just shift up through the gears fast, open it up and leave it there."
Hubbard explains that with the governor system on the diesel, he can set it to work like cruise control. The motorcycle will cruise up hills and down with the motor speeding up and backing off as needed. Best of all, it is economical to run.
"Making the biodiesel myself, it only costs 65 cents per gallon, and I can get about 70 miles to the gallon." says Hubbard.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Hubbard, P.O. Box 245, Wellsburg, W. Va. 26070 (ph 304 737-0363; bmwbiodiesel@verizon.net).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1