On A Tangent

    While this website is about the classics, every once in a while everyone has to take a look into the future. As this relates to motorcycle engines, there are three others that i can see being experimented with in the future. The one i think would be most beneficial is known as the Kugel Ball Motor. It's a rotating sphere inside a casing, with ports that open and close as the sphere rotates. This system allows for complete compression, combustion, and exhaust. Complete combustion as it relates to an engine has never before been achieved to my knowledge. With a piston engine there is always unburned fuel left in the chamber, which gets dumped into the atmosphere with the exhaust. The Kugel has only three moving parts, and is only limited in peak rpm by the ammount of fuel fed through it. Like the Wankel rotary engine, the Kugel does not loose momentum like a piston engine, when the piston reverses direction.  The following link to youtube is an animated build and in operation video of the motor. 
    The next one on my list has actually already been built and run by Orange County Choppers. It is an electric engine powered by six 12 volt batteries. Although i can't recall the rated horsepower, the bike moved along nicely. What i had in mind were two things. One, the extra weight and space required to accomodate the batteries is rediculous. Someone would need to create one battery that puts out 72 volts, and hopefully it would be smaller and lighter than the alternative. The other issue with the design was the fact that it had to be recharged after x ammount of time running. What about building a 72 volt alternator to keep the battery charged, and eliminate those recharges?  It could be run directly from the output shaft on the motor. This wouldn't be an off the shelf item, but Leece-Neville Corporation has been building 24 volt systems for  military vehicles for decades, and i'm sure they could wind one in 72 volt if asked.
    In a world where gasoline is getting more expensive by the minute ( due to greed), one has to look at either efficiency, alternate fuels, or alternate means of propulsion.  Diesel powered motorcycles are another very viable option, and are already in production for military use. Jawa experimented with them in the 1960's and one of the Japanese factories built them for the Paris To Dakar race, but these were specials. Royal Enfield marketed one for the Indian market and although it was sucessful, it was very primitive. Rokon built a special version of their trail breaker with a diesel engine, for use in mines in Mexico.  The U.S. Military began exclusively procuring diesel powered vehicles for their various fleets for several reasons. Diesel has a low flash point and is safer in combat situations. It's cheaper to purchase and gives much greater fuel economy than gasoline. The diesel engine produces much more torque and has a longer service life aswell.  It was also a case of streamlining the supply system  by only requiring one fuel for land vehicles.
    Naturally, when it came to replacing their fleet of motorcycles, it only made sense to look into the possibility of having a diesel powered version. Currently, their base platform is the Kawasaki KLR-650 which is extensively modified by an American firm, to produce a combat ready diesel motorcycle. Most of the technology and gagets we enjoy, and take for granted today, were invented during times of conflict, or for military use. This being the case, i suspect there will be more diesels in the future, and they won't all say freightliner. Below are some photo's of a few of the diesel bikes.