An $85,000 Diesel Cruiser. But It Gets Great MPG!
The German Neander OilBurner Has It All, Including Price!
North America has been far behind the curve in adopting diesel engines as a powerful and economical alternative to our gas-guzzlers. Europe and Asia are far ahead of us in offering a plethora of diesel engines in everything from luxury cars all the way down to tiny citycars. We Americans are still of the mindset that diesel is for 18-wheelers and tractors, when modern diesels are just as clean, quiet and civilized as any gasoline engine and return far better fuel economy and in some cases, twice the lifespan of their gas cousins.
Therefore the thought of a diesel-powered motorcycle on American shores is generally welcomed with a shrug if not a laugh. Visions of two-wheeled Kenworths come to mind, dragging trailers full of corn between I-95 truck stops. That's too bad, since that very corn can be used to make an oil that will power the diesel. Bio-diesel could be the "next big thing" as it can run an engine without fossil fuels, however it presents engineering challenges of its own. The most significant one is that bio-diesel solidifies in the cold so good luck starting your car/bike on a frosty Minnesota morning!
Europeans being far more conscious of the inherent advantages of diesel engines, it wasn't going to be too long until some engineers figured out a way to shoehorn an oilburner into a motorcycle frame. There have been several prototypes from various cottage-industry European manufacturers such as Star Twin's Thunder Star, Track's T800CDI and the much-delayed Hayes Bulldog. And let's not forget that Royal Enfield in India marketed the gloriously underpowered Taurus for many years until they finally gave up trying to sell a motorcycle with the power of a wind-up toy.
One of the manufacturers that seems the most "serious" about building a real, useable and impressive diesel bike is the German Neander Motors. Yes, Neander like Neanderthal, and you'll certainly be reminded of the caveman's squat bulk when you see Neander's TurboDiesel engine. Built like a brick house, it's an air/oil cooled vertical twin, twin cam, four valve per cylinder 1400cc intercooled common rail turbodiesel with counter-rotating crankshafts to keep down the powerful vibrations of the monster engine while delivering 100HP and 144 footpounds of torque through the six-speed tranny to the gargantuan rear wheel. Yes, you can definitely leave your chug-chug-chug expectations at the door as the Neander will launch you 0-60mph in less than 4 eyeball-flattening seconds. Take that, Porsche Carreras.
The bike currently has a very Teutonic-cruiser look, but is due for a restyling before it hits the streets in 2008. Whether they'll go the conventional Metric Cruiser direction or towards the lunatic styling of the BMW R1200C is anyone's guess.
The final production versions of the Neander-Thal will be introduced in Europe in 2008 and only 250 motorcycles are expected off the assembly line that year. Exactly how much success these bikes will garner in the European market is unknown, as the current expected MSRP is $85,000! Yes, you read correctly. For the price of a new Harley Dyna SuperGlide for you and six more for your good friends you can own a Neander Diesel Motorcycle.
Yes, the Neander will likely get at least 50% better fuel mileage than the Harley. But... don't you think that's a little... expensive???
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