Homebrew 6-HP Motorcycle Sets Biodiesel World Speed Record

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John Petsche with his record-setting homebrew 350cc diesel motorcycle running on vegetable oil

John Petsche with his record-setting homebrew 350cc diesel motorcycle running on vegetable oil

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Combine a whole bunch of parts from motorcycles, go-karts, industrial machinery, and even generators, and what do you get?

In John Petsche's case, he not only built a motorcycle that runs on store-bought vegetable oil, he managed to take home a world speed record for the 350cc Alternate Fuel class. (There are lots and lots of specialized world speed record categories, thankfully.)

The homebrew motorcycle uses an industrial diesel engine that puts out a whopping 6 horsepower, which is why the record-breaking top speed was just 56.535 mph.

But, hey, it's not like you can just go down to your local Honda or Harley dealer and write a check for a diesel motorcycle capable of burning peanut oil, right?

Petsche intends to beat his own record next year, replacing the single-speed final drive unit and centrifugal clutch with a multi-speed gearbox. He'll have to find one that's low-cost or free, of course.

The best part about the motorcycle may be its gas mileage: Petsche says he gets 100 miles per gallon of vegetable oil, which he buys at the grocery store.

Our staff motorcyclist adds that no self-respecting motorcyclist would be seen on a bike that does merely 50 mph. And there are certainly biodiesel bikes that achieve far higher performance.

But Petsche may have built the most creative record-holding motorcycle for the lowest total dollar investment.

The record-setting run was certified at the Loring Timing Association in Maine.

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