Marines' Diesel Motorcycle

The Times profiles the "Hayes Diversified Technologies M103M1," a military variant of the Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle that runs of the ever-present JP-8 diesel fuel. The result isn't a performance beast, but does get 96 miles to the gallon and is easily field serviceable.
On a half-hour test ride, the M103M1, though sluggish at first, gathered speed with dogged insistence. The footpegs and handlebars buzz as the engine revs – the counterbalancer that controls vibration in the stock KLR has been omitted to save weight and reduce complexity. Shifting through the five-speed gearbox gets the M103M1 past 90 miles an hour, a speed it will hold, apparently, until the end of time.
Getting your hands on one if you're not a Marine is difficult; Hayes is pretty much backlogged making modifying the bikes for the military. Diesel-Sipping Motorcycle for the Marines [NYTimes]
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8 Responses to Marines' Diesel Motorcycle

  1. Marshall says:

    I’ve been following the development of this bike for a couple of years. I’m 5′ 4″, so riding one isn’t really in my future, but what long distance rider wouldn’t kill for a dual sport with a 500 – 700 mile range?

  2. wakka says:

    Regarding the vibration, just remove the handlebars, silicone caulk one end to make a “plug”, obtain a bunch of sand — I’m sure there’s plenty where the Marines are currently deployed — and pack it down in the handlebars. Caulk the other end. Reattach bars. Problem solved!

  3. slamorte says:


    i got a KLR650 (non-diesel model, damn it) for the girlfriend a few years back, and threw on a pair of $40 lowering links for the rear and dropped the front forks by an inch or two, and put on a corbin seat that also knocked a couple inches of foam off the height. the result was a very surprised and pleased short girlfriend. this is an amazingly well behaved motorcycle for the size it looks, and easy to handle for almost any rider.

    the 0-60 on this bike was pretty good as well. i seem to recall it won some desert speed trials!

    AND it’s rated to run off diesel, b-99 biodiesel, aviation fuel, kerosene, and probably peanut oil. :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    The company that makes these for the military has plans for a “civilian” model. The news first came out about a year ago and it’s now listed as “delayed” on their web site. Seems they’re making so many for the military that they keep delaying their production of commercial bikes.

    More info on their web site:
    (It’s Flash, so I can’t direct link to the model. Just click on the one that says “Bulldog”

    I have a 2001 KLR650 myself. It’s not the diesel version but it’s supposed to get around 55 miles/gallon. It’s a great dual-sport bike.

  5. ajdemma says:

    I find it amusing that it says “The footpegs and handlebars buzz as the engine revs…” As a former owner of the non-military model, it had that issue with the counterbalancer. I can’t imagine how bad it must be without.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That should be KLR650, not LKR. This has been in the works for 15+ years, and there have been other prototypes made.

  7. Not a Doktor says:

    HA! this is my post-apocalyptic dream; a grungy rat bike that will run on the processed fat of my mutant (or possibly non-mutant) enemies.

    How may I woot this?

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