It’s no secret that I am not only a diesel enthusiast, but I also enjoy motorcycles. That said, when you can combine both into one exciting ride, my interest gets piqued really quickly. So, when a colleague at the office brought this oddity to my attention, I was more than a little interested. Allow me to introduce you to the M1030-M1.
While DieselArmy.com does not typically write about motorcycles, this one made me pay attention. Meet the military-issue Kawasaki KLR650. While it might look like a traditional decommissioned military cycle with its drab green paint, a better look reveals something you might not know ever existed. This two-wheeled freedom fighter is actually a rare bike that has been converted for military use to run on JP-8, a grade of jet fuel similar to kerosene or diesel.
You might be asking, why anyone would go to the expense of converting a gas-burning engine to run diesel, and the answer is simple logistics. If all military vehicles burn the same fuel, only one fuel is required to be transported to wherever the military is needed. To that end, the bike runs on the same JP-8 fuel as the B-2 Stealth Bomber and the Hummvee.
As you can imagine, converting Kawasaki’s KLR650 gasoline engine to run on JP-8/diesel was no easy task. Many gasoline-specific parts of the engine had to be completely replaced and a host of other modifications needed for military use were employed.
Converting the M1030-M1 engine to burn JP-8/diesel was tackled by Fred Hayes, chief executive of Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDT). Hayes Diversified Technologies started by utilizing the stock, water-cooled Kawasaki KLR650 main cases and five-speed transmission. Other components were changed in order to develop the very high compression ratio diesel engines demand. The 652cc single-cylinder engine does incorporate a new liquid-cooled cylinder jug and cylinder head, as well as a new connecting rod, piston, fuel injection system, and exhaust.
This design does not create a lot of horsepower (approximately 30) but the torque it does deliver affords it plenty of pulling power when needed. The engine and transmission combination would help the bike reach speeds around 85.
Hayes Diversified Technologies built a 670cc version for the Bonneville Salt Flats that went 121.2 mph. After accomplishing that, owner Fred Hayes entered it in the Vetter Fuel Challenge as a streamliner and it got 162 miles per gallon on diesel. Hayes won his class from 2010 to 2014.
In order for the military to even consider the bike, there were more considerations than just fuel requirements. For instance, the HDT M1030-M1 had to meet the rigorous requirements set forth by the Army and Marine Corps. It needed to be able to cross streams at least two-feet deep, be equipped with black-out lights, and be able to travel 400 miles on a tank of fuel.
I actually found a few of the Hayes-converted motorcycles online, but they were on auction sites and the auctions had ended. What’s more, the money these oddities garnered was quite high. I guess that means two of the things I enjoy in life will have to remain mutually exclusive, what a shame.