Motorcycle USA continues its cultural exchange program with our pals overseas at MCN. There's plenty of bikes coming out of Europe that we may never get to hike a leg over but are nonetheless curious about the technology. Here's a quick ride report from MCN after a recent outing on the Track T800CDI, a diesel-powered production motorcycle.
By Chris Newbigging
Pics Courtesy of Phil Masters
With adventure-motorcycle styling and a chassis composed of a WP fork, Brembo brakes, and a trellis frame, the diesel-powered Track T800CDI looks to break into the market dominated by the KTM Adventure and BMW R1200GS.
Evaproducts Track T800CDI is the most-advanced diesel production bike built yet and MCN got the exclusive honors of test riding it. The Track T800CDI is a new adventure-style motorcycle from Dutch manufacturer Evaproducts using a turbo-charged, 800cc triple-cylinder from a Smart car, mated with a CVT transmission and shaft drive to keep the engine at peak torque.
The engine gives a claimed 45 hp and 78 lb-ft of torque, but more significantly Evaproducts claims the T800CDI has fuel consumption up to 140 mpg for general riding – twice the economy of the most efficient large capacity petrol motorcycles.
The chassis is designed to compete directly with the KTM
990 Adventure and BMW
R1200GS, so it has WP suspension, Brembo brakes and a modern trellis frame.
MCN’s Chris Newbigging is the first journalist to hike a leg over the prototype on a quick ride -here’s his first impressions:
Starting the Track T800CDI gives an unusual experience – it clatters into life like a tractor, giving off rumbling vibrations with the disgusting-smelling diesel fumes rising from the small forward-facing silencer in front of the right footpeg. Anyone who’s ever got stuck behind an old school bus will instantly recognize the smell. You can’t blip the throttle either – doing so will engage drive and send you shooting forward.
The turbo-charged, triple-cylinder engine powering the Track T800CDI is sourced from a Smart car.
Open the throttle to pull away and the feeling is like a CVT scooter – the drive itself takes up smoothly but the rising revs are accompanied by rising vibration. The shaft drive has no anti-rising mechanism, so you can feel the torque reaction cause the back end to rise slightly. It’s not a problem, but it adds to the unusual feel.
Opening the throttle hard doesn’t give the rush of drive you’d get with a turbo-charged car – acceleration is leisurely even though the engine responds quickly to throttle input. The 45 hp isn’t much despite the respectable torque.
It doesn’t get better with speed – vibration subsides a little but it’s still enough to be intrusive, and the CVT means the engine is always at the same revs giving a monotonous, tractor-like noise, which even on MCN’s short test ride became tiresome. Even with an open mind there’s no getting away from the fact is just isn’t quick or refined enough to be compared with petrol rivals on riding enjoyment.
It’s a shame the engine isn’t much comp – the rest of the bike is built to a high standard, and the chassis is as good as any major manufacturer. The look is distinctive too, and the riding position is adjustable so it should prove comfortable over distance.
Evaproducts hopes to have the Track T800CDI diesel motorcycle ready for production in the Netherlands by the summer of 2010.
The reason for the bike’s low power output is Evaproduct’s desire to make it last– an engine life of 250,000 miles is claimed – and give excellent fuel consumption. Those qualities only appeal to a limited number of people – for the rest of the world, they’re attributes of limited use that come at the expense of riding enjoyment, so until diesel bikes tune in to the needs to the wider biking public, it’ll stay as a niche machine.
Evaproducts aims to have this motorcycle available by the summer of 2010 in the Netherlands first, followed by the European Union.
Engine: 799cc, six-valves, liquid-cooled inline three-cylinder, turbo-charged diesel
Transmission: Continuously-variable transmission.
Fuel System: Common rail fuel injection
Power (claimed): 45 hp
Final Drive: Shaft
Front Suspension: WP upside-down 48mm fork
Brakes: Front Dual Disc, 310mm diameter
Rear Single Disc, 265mm diameter
Wheels: Front 1.85 in: 21 in.
Rear 4.25 in: 17 in.
Seat height (adjustable): 780/900mm
Fuel: 22.5 liters
Weight: 220kg (fluids, no fuel)
Colors: Silver, black or white