Biodiesel Bike Goes for Record

John Davis

You might remember this motorcycle from the National Biodiesel Board Conference in February (and my post from January 30th).

The folks from the Oakland, California-based The Crucible… a non-profit educational collaboration of arts, industry and community… will attempt to break the world speed record on a motorcycle when they try to crank their machine up to 160 miles an hour at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in early September.

The “DIE(sel) MOTO” project is featured in the latest issue of Popular Science:

To double the engine speed, the team created a bicycle-chain-like add-on to the gearbox. The motor spins one sprocket, while a chain wrapped around it turns a second sprocket with half the number of gear teeth so it spins twice as fast, cranking up to 8,200 rpm.

To help the bike cut through wind, they hammered together pieces of aluminum to make a fairing. Then they built a custom aluminum fuel tank to match.

The bike is stable and street-legal (Sturtz has driven it around Oakland), but initially the danger was in just getting it moving. Since one foot pedal acts as the clutch and the other controls the shifter, they had to add a switch so the bike could start in gear with the clutch in, allowing the rider to balance. The team is working on a handlebar clutch.