We’ve all been there. It’s something-P.M. and you decide to hop onto Youtube. Four hours later you’re a master bolognaise-maker or you’ve watched every possible way to fix that rusty latch on the bathroom window. All because you got bamboozled into clicking on a suggested video which ‘looked interesting’.

It’s like you’re a fish, and the fisherman (aka Youtube) tossed in a line with some irresistible bait tethered to the hook (aka The Video). Fair to say they hooked me proper.

Which is why this article now exists.

Rollin’ coal.

Diesel Power.

Why don’t we see more of this torque-infested fuel used on motorcycles? It’s cheaper to run, has fewer moving bits in the engine meaning fewer bits that could break, and the mileage is brilliant.

The simple answer is size. Size matters when you’re essentially building an engine with a seat bolted to it. Due to things like higher compression ratios, longer strokes and higher temperatures the traditional diesel block is a bit of a granite boulder.

This hasn’t stopped some manufacturers from trying, however.

Some failed, but a handful stand out as Not Too Shabby. Chances are you have never heard of the oil-burners mentioned below; until now. You can thank me later for making you sound Smarter at the next braai.

Royal Enfield Taurus

Royal Enfield Taurus Diesel Motorcycle
Royal Enfield Taurus

The first one almost all sites mention is the Royal Enfield Taurus. Simplistic, durable and – most importantly – ridiculously cheap to run, the Bullet-with-a-diesel-transplant was mainly directed at the Indian market. A market in which it thrived until new emissions laws wrung its neck around the year 2000.

Now the Taurus wasn’t going to blow your toupee away – depending on your sources, it maxed out at forty to forty-five miles per hour – but what it would do is chug you two-hundred miles away on a single gallon of fuel; low quality fuel, too. That’s like eighty-five kilometres on a litre of diesel. Given a tank fifteen litres in capacity, you could fill up once and ride all the way from Randfontein to Mosselbay. It might take you a bit longer, but you’ll sure have more beer money!

Perhaps the 325 cubic cees of the Taurus is too lame for you. You want something cooler. Bigger, angrier, built like a tank.

HDT M1030-M1 diesel military might

HDT M1030-M1 diesel military army motorcycle
HDT’s M1030-M1

Have a slice of HDT’s M1030-M1 cake. Not only is it built like a tank, but it will run on the same fuel, as well as jetfuel, petrol, probably anything liquid and flammable.

This Frankensteined Kawasaki KLR was created for the US Marine Corps as a durable, indirect-fuel-injected 670cc terrain killer. They even gave it night vision. How much cooler can you get? Sharing is caring though, and the UK okes got them too; only in those parts it hailed by a very English name: the Bulldog.

But a bike by any other name still kicks ass. Or something like that. This mental creature could muscle around four hundred miles out of a single fill-up, and with that a top speed of 95MPH – that’s a smidge over 150km/h – which it probably did over most any terrain it damn well pleased. It could even wade through rivers up to two feet deep.
I want one! Alas, even though there is a public model, the mere mention of an $18,500 price tag gave me cold sweats.

Track T-800CDI adventure diesel

Eva Track T-800CDI diesel adventure motorcycle
Eva Track T-800CDI

Made of more mechanically adventurous material, are you? Look up the Track T-800CDI – it’s something of a looker, too; reminding of the late 2000’s Triumph Tiger in more ways than one. I’m all for that. What makes this motorcycle so different is the fact that you can literally buy the blueprints to build your own T-800CDI. If, like some guys I know, you’re prone to blowing yourself up if you come into contact with tools, you could still buy an already built model for ‘just’ $25k.

For your small investment you get a reasonable maximum speed of 180km/h, accompanied by 100Nm of twisty force. It’s turbo’d and will spool you up to 100km/h in less than four seconds. Heck, they’ve even thrown in some Brembos.

All of this adventure biking not your kinda thing? Fret not, my dear fellow, for the guys at Neander have got you covered!

Neander Turbo Diesel

Neander Turbo Diesel motorcycle cruiser
Neander Turbo Diesel

Welcome to the stage the Neander Turbo Diesel, a mean-looking muscle cruiser with 214 Newton Metres of Meanness – very nearly as much as a Rocket III, which we all know could potentially reverse earth’s rotation.

This chrome-adorned beast is no slouch, either. It is said to max out at 220Km/h, which is Not At All Slow. For some inexplicable reason this was the only one I felt the need to actually hear, so I set out on a recon mission, finding some videos.

The first had no engine audio, and so I carried on to the next. This showed a simplistic CAD-drawing-thing of its counter-rotating crank shafts – which was pretty cool. They spoke a lot of German, but still no engine noises. Right, third time lucky, as they say.

Or not. Video Number Three consisted of some panning shots of a showroomed model with zero rumbles escaping its 1340cc engine. Poop. You’d think something so insane would’ve been recorded somewhere. There are quite a few of the HDT M1030-M1, though. It’s, er, not quiet. It’s no symphony, either.

Hero MotoCorp RNT Diesel Hybrid

Hero MotoCorp RNT diesel hybrid scooter motorcycle
Hero MotoCorp RNT

Covering one final base, we come across an odd-faced scooter created by Hero Corp – you know, those guys who brought us their cheap, reliable little chug-along bikes.

But this ‘scooter’ – known as the Hero MotoCorp RNT – is far removed in many ways from its petrol-snorting siblings.
It’s a diesel-electric hybrid.

Yes, it has an adorable 1.5hp electric motor, as well as a 150cc diesel packed in a body that could best be described as subjective. My apologies, but luggage space is no excuse to make it that uniquely odd-looking. That said, you wouldn’t buy this hybrid duck for its looks. It’s more of an economy-buy than a heart-buy. If they let us buy them one day, that is.

In its defence, it will apparently do 70km/h.

A can of oily worms has undeniably been opened here, and yes, I am fully aware that there exists quite a number of other diesel-burners. If you take into account the numerous custom builds done by pros and weekend-home-builders alike, then there are an insane amount of these monsters out there.
Rollin’ coal, like some Mad Max badasses.

~ Karr