The Bikes

The Diesel Bike

Three years in development the diesel bike is on the road.

Following a year of extensive research into engines and other options, the build started with the arrival of the engine you see in the bike.

The engine is taken from a Smart car and was unavailable in the UK at the time so was bought from Germany. I had no idea how I would get the engine to run, what transmission I would use or how it would all be mounted. I had little experience of metalwork and was just beginning to learn the electronic fuel injection systems used on modern diesels.

After starting the engine for the first time, thick acrid black smoke poured from the exhaust and the engine revved so hard it sounded like someone was pounding it with a cold chisel. Within a few seconds it was impossible to see. The neighbours thought I had set fire to the garage. This turned out to be a bad injector that someone had purposely swapped into the engine before it was sent to me.

Perhaps a sensible person would have known when to call it a day…

The issues continued with faulty engine electronics that were sold to me by a company who I shall decline to name. I did not know this was the case at the time and in fact stripped the engine right down to the piston rings trying to figure out what was wrong which turned out to be a total waste of time. Just over two years into the project, I gathered the parts (which were not available in the UK) to rebuild the engine and it kicked over into life like nothing had ever been wrong!

From there the project seemed to take on a life of its own. My biker friend Jonny helped with the construction and laying everything out into the bike. We spent quite a few nights cutting and welding various things to make them fit, gradually getting better at it along the way. Sometimes seemingly bad things happened for reasons that turned out to be advantageous later.

T0p speed is around 100mph. I tend to get around 100mpg (imperial or 3l/100km) fuel economy in everyday driving. To date I have not had less than 80mpg!


Bought just over a year ago due to being short and upright (the bike that is!). A few minor changes include lowering links to make the ground a bit easier to reach and that’s about it. The GS and Dakar are well used for motorcycle touring so hopefully will be reliable. Reported issues with this model include the rear shock, water pump and electrics so we are taking spare water pump kit and some cables and hoping for the best!

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2 Responses to The Bikes

  1. Chris Cowper says:

    Sounds like a great adventure. I rode overland to the UK from Australia and back to Japan via Norway and Russia in 2008 and am at present in The UK again, after riding from Vladivostok, via the Gobi this summer.
    I will follow you blog with interest. I always have a spare bed or two for an “Adventure Rider” in Sydney. I don’t know anyone who knows anything about Smart diesles though!

  2. chris berg says:

    Awesome bike! If you ever decide to publish some instructions on how to convert a Tiger please let me know! Let me know when you are in Sydney, would be great to meet you guys… safe riding! CB

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