100 MPG BioBike Racing Across Australia

John Davis

BioBike logoThe BioBike – a 100-mile-per-gallon, biodiesel-powered motorcycle – is racing 3,000 km (1,800 miles) across Australia.

The BioBike, designed by a group of seven Mechanical Engineering students from the University of Adelaide in South Australia, is in the race from Darwin to Adelaide in the Greenfleet Technology Class for environmentally-friendly engines. This story on the gizmag.com web site says the designers hope to get the fuel economy above 100 mpg while making it for the same cost as a conventionally-fueled dirtbike:

biobike.JPGDiesel cars are well-established in the market and renowned for their ability to deliver excellent fuel economy in comparison with their petrol brethren. But why haven’t we seen more diesel motorcycles? Well, diesel engines run extra-high compression pistons, and their sparkless ignition produces much stronger power pulses – which gives them excellent torque, but means that the engine casings need to be thicker and heavier to deal with the increased stresses.

In the leisure motorcycling world, where power-to-weight ratios are everything and horsepower rules over torque, diesel simply doesn’t make sense on the sales floor.

But, as BioBike project leader Heidi McNamara points out, in areas where motorcycles are used as essential transport rather than high-speed toys, these machines start to look far more practical – particularly on farms and in military applications where diesel is used to run pretty much every other vehicle and engine.

The engine and transmission were fitted to a modified Husaberg Enduro frame, so the chassis uses all the top rated gear from White Power and Brembo in all the right places. It’s heavier than the donor bike, at around 130kg, but still very lightweight for a road-going bike.

The students hope to race the bike in the Dakar Rally one day, but in the meantime, farmers and markets in Asia are interested in getting a version for their interests.