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Friday, July 5, 2013

Around the world on a Royal Enfield diesel motorcycle

Let's go for a test ride on a diesel powered Royal Enfield Bullet.
Harry Lyon-Smith went around the world on a Royal Enfield Bullet powered by vegetable oil and diesel fuel. He called the motorcycle "Batty," not because of the sound it made but because he conceived of it in Battersea and he knew the idea of going around the world on vegetable oil sounded a bit batty.

Even so, you won't believe the noise the motorcycles makes in a recent YouTube video of a test ride on Batty.

It's a bit unfair, since both Lyon-Smith and test rider RJ comment that the diesel motor isn't really so loud. Apparently the helmet cam microphone emphasized the diesel clatter.

Nevermind. Going 'round the world on this thing is one impressive feat. Starting in May, 2011, it took just over two years for Lyon-Smith and Batty to complete the journey. Their story is charmingly told in Lyon-Smith's travelogue style blog, Vegibike Around the World.

The 1971 Royal Enfield Bullet was converted to bio-diesel power by Price Part Motorcycles in the UK.

The 50,000-mile world tour took Batty to the highest road in the world in the Himalayas. She ran all the way to Nepal on 70 per cent vegetable oil.

Batty loaded at the start of her journey.
But this proved in part her undoing, as the bike went through four engines; only the first burned vegetable oil well. Lyon-Smith eventually ran on diesel only, accepting that modern diesels, optimized for low emissions, run best on petroleum.

With 435cc, RJ reports that Batty is capable of 130-plus miles per gallon. But it makes only 10 horsepower.

At one point, in Mexico, Lyon Smith writes:

"Much to the amusement of others, the only way Batty could make it up the final hill into the town was by offloading all my luggage boxes etc (about 50 kg) into a passing rickshaw."

He sent away for a smaller front sprocket!

Let's go for a ride:

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