Gosh - this should drive the Highway Man totally berserk. Nothing soils chaps worse than diesel, and lord only knows what sort of colorful neologisms he'll need to coin in order to appropriately villipend this development. "Glow-plug atrociteurs" has a nice ring to it...
This month's issue of the Brit mag "Ride" has a long article on the subject bike and diesal bikes in general. Bought my copy at Borders Books. Max torque same as the KLR but at 2500 rpm instead of 5000.
The purpose of the KLR diesel is to fulfill NATO demands. Everything that happens as a NATO operation that requires fuel burning engines (except aircraft of course) must be diesel, in order to increase supply efficiency.
That Ride article is quite good. I never realized the potential of diesel in a bike before. Lotus engineer speculated there could be a 1200 cc 9hp diesel bike with 160 ft/lbs of torque. Would sound strange and shred tires I bet.
Actually, it's the same motor adapted to run on JP-8, the same fuel that goes into HMMWVs, F-18s and M-1 jet engined Abrahms tanks. The same fuel goes for all to cut down on logistics of acquiring, storing and dispensing multiple fuel types into (hopefully) the appropriate vehicle. Fog of war, and all that, you know......
This would be a very interesting engine. If my recollection is correct (it's late) the formula for horsepower is Torque (in pound-feet) X RPM / 5250 = HP. If that is correct and I did the math correctly, this engine would be turning under 300 RPM. Not bothering with decimal pints I get 160 X 295 / 5250 = 9HP. Sounds like some kind of industrial engine, it wouldn't shred a bicycle tire, sorry.
Somewhere in my stuff I have a brochure that shows a dieselized CR500 concept bike that was developed for the same set of requirements. This was done about 5 years ago and demonstrated at Quantico. Power output was in the 45-55 HP range, and obviously, would kick any dieselized KLR's butt. Interesting what our military product development yields.
FWIW, we are the only military power that doesn't make extensive use of motorcycles. All the European armies, and even the Canadians, have many motorcycles for dispatch, communications and scout duty.
Been reading about it for some time on the KLR list. The military has standardized on diesel fuel. They had to keep a few barrels of gasoline around for the recon/courier bikes which was a logicistical hassle, and the increased flammability of gasoline over diesel was considered an unnecessary risk.
Considering the KLR has always been about reliable, low-tech, low-end grunt and never about fast acceleration or horsepower, I don't think the bike sounds too bad.
The supermotard style is particularly hard on tires, but I think the lack of a cush drive on most of 'em (KTM street models excepted) is also a major contributor. My CR250 makes 45 rwhp/32 lb-ft torque, and is downright abusive on tires. Or maybe that's my penchant for 4 and 5-gear hacks approaching slow corners...
And back on the topic...diesel bikes would make interesting commuter rides. I can't help thinking you'd smell rather strongly of diesel after a few miles on one, though.