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An $85,000 Diesel Cruiser. But It Gets Great MPG!

Updated on March 20, 2011

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!

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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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    • deathmetaller profile image

      deathmetaller 

      8 years ago

      I would give a MILL for a test ride with that bike!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      HDT has really dropped the ball for the public release, but I can't blame them. Their diesel KLR sells for close to the price of a Gold Wing, so their only legitimate market is "the $10,000 for a toilet seat" Pentagon. :) Track and Star Twin sell diesel bikes ON PAPER but there are really not any actual examples in dealerships other than what are little more than hand built prototypes. So yeah, if you have a few million bucks and want to turn it into a few billion in a year or two, open up a REAL AFFORDABLE DIESEL MOTORCYCLE factory! :)

    • profile image

      frankfan42 

      8 years ago

      Besides Hayes, which seems to keep postponing civilian production, anyone aware of any company working on a rational diesel for a cycle? One which mere mortals could hope to purchase? What a potential market!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Believe me, I would never cough up $85,000 for a diesel or any other kind of bike that didn't come with a bikini supermodel glued to the pillion... but I'm currently in Europe and I have petrol in my tank right now that cost exactly US$8.52 per US Gallon or over TEN BUCKS for an Imperial Gallon, and the thought of a 250-500 cc diesel that if ridden gingerly would get me 150-200 mpg is certainly appealing. I'd happily put up with rattle and stink since I'm really getting sick and tired of pouring $100 into my tank and having to repeat that painful procedure by the weekend. Cheers, mate!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Sorry Hal, although I appreciate your vast knowledge of motorcycles, I hate diesels except in earth moving equipment!

      A lousy 100 hp from 1400cc does not impress much either.

      When it gets old it will stink to high heaven and sound like the pistons are trying to leap out all over me.

      I keep hearing how good diesels are in cars too, but when one stops alongside me at the lights they still sound like someone dropped a handful of loose ball-bearings in the sump!

      Higher compression ratios means heavier crankcases and crank as well, which does cut the power back and make the motor heavy. I have not seen your latest motorcycle hubs and miss them. Will have to read and catch up.

      Ern.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Wow, I would have loved to check that bike out! :)

    • profile image

      Corey  

      8 years ago

      I was building a diesel 8 years ago using a H.D. frame and a VW diesel engine. It fit nice in the frame but didn't get to finish it.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      I've been trying to find an affordable one to buy but they're all priced at Gold Wing or higher levels. Too much money to spend in order to SAVE! :)

    • profile image

      motorcycle blue book 

      8 years ago

      Kind of steeply priced. But I love the idea. Great stuff! I would love to be the first person on my block to have a diesel motorcycle.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      And the price of petrol / gasoline is only going to get higher and higher!

    • profile image

      Vietnam 

      9 years ago

      Yes, in this moment when petrol is so high, fuel is very important

    • profile image

      Mehul Kamdar 

      10 years ago

      I don't think the point of this bike is that it is fuel efficient, though that is something that comes with it's diesel engine. What the Neander is, is a beautiful touring motorcycle with extremely high performance and I do hope that the company sell it in the US in 2009 like they plan to. It would e a superb machine to do the Route 62 from Chicago to Los Angeles in the summer, for example, thanks to its superb fuel efficiency and the design of its suspension, which gets far less attention than the engine does. If they sell it in the US, I will be buying one!

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