Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bio-Butanol BMW Bike?

Like all those "B's"? I do. Biologically-derived fuel source? Check. Butanol? Flammable alcohols are always great. BMW? Engineered for performance and cache. Bike? It's about to be summer, why not? Plus, who's not down for late-night beer runs without a helmet or shoes?

My neighbor (I'll call him Cool Hippie Guy) has had an old R90 Bimmer sitting on his walkway for about 2 years. The price is right, and getting better every day fuel goes up. The raggedy old girl runs but needs cosmetic work, ie new exhaust pipes, seat, handlebars, tank, tires...basically a prime case for a "cafe racer" makeover. *The bike pictured gives a nice idea of what I want to do (please focus on the motorcycle, not the kneepads and bare feet).

The ugly red demon with a huge 1970s fairing is at 750cc power output right now (something about a re-ring job and smaller pistons?). I've heard the 900 is the same motor anyway, just bored over at the factory. How that affects titling and performance I don't know yet. Regardless, I like the idea of burning a clean renewable fuel in it (and not that E85 stuff either). Not that bio-butanol is the answer, but Robert Rapier over at R-Squared makes a strong case for the potential. I told myself I wouldn't own another gasoline vehicle (though I'll drive/ride someone else's; hey Zipcar, the Mini Cooper, Prius, and Tacoma are winners. Has anyone actually driven a Mini? I love it, and I want to go back again and again.)

So yes, I just might be succumbing to the dark side because there aren't any affordable diesel motorcycles yet. Help me to hold out and give me reasons not to go through with this. Last summer's "One Last Ride on the American Dream" project was a 1979 Toyota Land Cruiser (mine not being nearly as nice as this one is). At 11 miles per gallon, that experiment failed horribly, and she was sent packing south to Alabama right before Katrina sent prices further skyward. Maybe this idea will make more sense. Until then, there's always the bicycles and Metro.


Blogger Brittastic said...

I agree with the bicycle idea.

You could ride around wearing that blazer, from the picture, again.

Interesting look.

10:47 AM  
Blogger fohan said...

hello, don't know if you managed to re-build the R90 you're talkin'about but i'm very interested to know if you've been successfull in your attempt to make it vegetarian. i'm working on an old lady too and i wonder if i could make it a less disturbing truth. anyway i hope you're on the road with it. regards from France

2:42 PM  
Blogger ek said...

Fohan, thanks for visiting.

This project has taken a backseat to a biodiesel project using a '62 Allstate (Vespa). I hope to have details in spring at the PW blog.

Regarding biobutanol, learning to make it at home is fairly difficult, and over at Robert Rapier's blog the topic has been discussed in detail. However, making a bike run on ethanol isn't too hard. May not be the most sustainable method it seems. My biodiesel will come from locally-collected waste vegetable oil, so it's a little better in that regard.


10:17 AM  

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