Ever wondered what happened to the diesel motorcycle project initiated by Hayes Diversified Technologies?
HDT claims to be the largest supplier of military motorcycles to the U.S. Defense Department, and the company says it has had to delay production of commercial models due to increased production requirements for its military motorcycles.
HDT's chief engineer, president and CEO, Fred Hayes has over 30 years experience in all aspects of government contract management and accounting. An experienced motorcyclist, he was one of the primary consultants to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the U.S. Marine Corps during the development of the Marine Corps' Military Motorcycle Operator Training Course.
Hayes' partner in the diesel motorcycle project is Dr. Stuart McGuigan. An outside design consultant, Dr. McGuigan is working as HDT's chief design engineer, responsible for the design of the diesel powerplants. His company, Criterion (Engineers) Ltd., designs, manufactures and markets specialist equipment for vehicles, including motorcycles. He also serves as a consultant to the Royal Military College of Science (RMCS).
HDT DIESEL TECHNOLOGY
The HDT motorcycle diesel engine is based on automotive diesel engine technology, engineered into a complete power unit suitably sized and packaged for installation in a compact on/off road motorcycle. HDT uses a Kawasaki KLR650 as the basis for its product.
HDT says the goal was to produce the best possible power and torque without the need for turbocharging. Of conventional mechanical design, the engine is capable of operation on either diesel fuel (mineral and bio-diesel) or aviation kerosene. To achieve good power, a free-breathing four valve cylinder head is used in combination with an indirect injection combustion system. The result is a simple, compact, lightweight power unit that HDT says provides more than twice the specific power output of conventional small diesel engines.
HDT was founded by Fred Hayes in 1961 to develop electro-mechanical switches and relays for defense and aerospace and unique injection and compression molding equipment for the electronics industry. The company expanded into commercial motorcycles sales in 1970, selling and racing the Penton brand under the name METTCO and developing performance modifications for both European and Japanese off-road motorcycles. From 1976 through 1979, the company served as a consultant to Honda's off-road racing and enduro teams, produced suspension components and provided two-stroke engine performance modifications.
DIESEL FUELED MILITARY MOTORCYCLES
In early 1981 the United States Army put forth a Request for Proposal for the production of the first official tactical military motorcycle since World War II. Then, in 1984, all NATO military forces adopted a long-term goal of a "single battlefield fuel" to reduce the logistics burden of supplying gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation gasoline, and aviation kerosene (jet fuel). The objective was to convert or replace all existing fueled equipment, including trucks, tanks, light transport equipment, and aircraft to operate on aviation kerosene.
To implement the single battlefield fuel concept, the U.S. Navy announced in 1997 that, beginning in the year 2005, they would no longer transport or supply gasoline in any form. They would only supply "heavy" fuels, such as, diesel and jet fuel.
At that time there were only two major tactical military systems still using gasoline, small field generator sets and motorcycles. The military approached both generator set and motorcycle manufacturers to determine what alternatives might be available. The generator set manufacturers responded immediately with some diesel fueled options. However, all the motorcycle manufacturers approached indicated that a diesel-fueled motorcycle was neither commercially practical, cost effective, or, in some cases even possible given the performance requirements.
As a last resort, the U.S. Marine Corps requested proposals from all interested sources, offering to pay for the development of a diesel/jet fuel powered military motorcycle through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). Although they received over 40 responses, HDT was awarded that contract, and since then has fulfilled more than 45 additional contracts resulting in over 2,500 military motorcycles being delivered to the U.S. and allied military forces.
HDT says it plans to update its potential civilian customers via the company newsletter. Visit www.dieselmotorcycles.com for more information.