Hydrostatic Drive Motorcycle - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-25-2012, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Hydrostatic Drive Motorcycle

I've been wondering why no companies have produced and sold hydrostatic drive motorcycles, eliminating both the transmission and chain or shaft drive.

They're used on everything from tractors and combines and both my mowers use them. They're obviously not short on torque and although the creation in this clip is a little crude, it seems like a motorcycle-sized pump, drive and associated hoses would be rather small. The two drives that power my Gravely zero-turn mower are about the size of my fist. The pump probably wouldn't take up any more "engine space" than a regular geared transmission.

I guess it would kind of suck to ride a motorcycle without a classic geared transmission, though.

I see some "chopper fabricators" are coming out with diesel powered, hydro-drive creations and it's not like they have huge components and 1" rubber hoses sprouting out everywhere like this "Racoon" does.

I suppose it's all a matter of cost, though. Those systems aren't cheap but it seems since they're being applied to all manner of wheeled things, the price would go down.

On the other hand, having a hydraulic hose blow in front of your rear wheel on a curvy highway would be bad news.....Seems like this would be more of an application for a kind of off-road "utility" motorcycle.

This "Racoon" is pretty cool.




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post #2 of 23 Old 05-25-2012, 03:28 PM
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Honda, in recent years, had a hydrostatic drive ATV drivetrain, or . . . MISTAKEN? AGAIN??????????

Honda now markets lawnmowers with hydrostatic drive; and--Wikipedia tells us,
Quote:
The Honda DN-01 motorcycle is the first road-going consumer vehicle with hydrostatic drive that employs a variable displacement axial piston pump with a variable-angle swashplate.
Link about the DN-01:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_DN-01

More likely, I'd expect new CVT (continuously-variable transmission) motorcycles with belt drives and variable-radius "clutches," or torque converters; most highly prevalent on ATV's today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continu...e_transmission

Last edited by LoneRider; 05-25-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-25-2012, 08:42 PM
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Huge power suck on the hydro. Same reason everything doesn't have shaft drive. Also a nightmare when you lose a hose.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-25-2012, 11:07 PM
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I love the "damn the torpedos" riding style desplayed by this guy. Never seen anything hydro-driven go fast enough to make a serious highway contender, but I do like two-wheel drive that's faster than the old rokon. Build a "selectable" two-wheel drive TW 200 and I'm buying a new bike.

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post #5 of 23 Old 05-25-2012, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PHBiker View Post
I love the "damn the torpedos" riding style desplayed by this guy. Never seen anything hydro-driven go fast enough to make a serious highway contender, but I do like two-wheel drive that's faster than the old rokon. Build a "selectable" two-wheel drive TW 200 and I'm buying a new bike.
The Christini stable might fulfill some of your requirements, PHBiker:

http://www.christini.com/
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-25-2012, 11:32 PM
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Huge power suck on the hydro. Same reason everything doesn't have shaft drive.
I was unaware of excessive power losses from shaft drive. Few chain-driven automobiles, nowadays.
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-26-2012, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetable View Post
Huge power suck on the hydro. Same reason everything doesn't have shaft drive. Also a nightmare when you lose a hose.
That makes sense to me. My Gravely zero-turn mower has a 24-horse 2-cylinder Kawasaki engine and all it does is run the blades and the pump that delivers the fluid to the wheels to move it along at about 12 mph. I'm sure the blade belt drive only requires a fraction of the energy produced by the motor.

These hydro drive systems seem to be largely engineered for low-speed/high torque applications such as farm equipment, etc.

It would seem that to achieve higher speeds, you'd need a high-capacity/high flow pump that would demand even more power from the engine driving it.



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post #8 of 23 Old 05-26-2012, 01:21 AM
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That makes sense to me.
Respectfully, to me, not so much!

The 680 cc DN-01 would keep up with a KLR650 rather convincingly, although a heavier machine (i.e., approximately 600 lbs), according to Wikipedia:

Quote:
The 2009 model DN-01's performance, measured by Motorcycle Consumer News, was 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in 7.41 seconds, a 1/4 mile time of 15.41 seconds at 87.42 mph (140.69 km/h), and a top speed of 113.1 mph (182.0 km/h).
This performance is respectable for a 600-pound, 680 cc street bike, regardless of drive system, IMHO.

Somehow, Honda made the DN-01's hydrostatic drive system deliver power with reasonable efficiency.

Last edited by LoneRider; 05-26-2012 at 01:27 AM.
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-26-2012, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneRider View Post
Respectfully, to me, not so much!

The 680 cc DN-01 would keep up with a KLR650 rather convincingly, although a heavier machine (i.e., approximately 600 lbs), according to Wikipedia:



This performance is respectable for a 600-pound, 680 cc street bike, regardless of drive system, IMHO.

Somehow, Honda made the DN-01's hydrostatic drive system deliver power with reasonable efficiency.
Interesting article, but it only deepens the mystery. If the hydro drive is practical, why hasn't it been adopted? The only instance of mass production seems to be this DN-01 and it was obviously dead in the water.

Article noted price and ergonomics were more of a downfall than the drive system itself. Wonder why they just didn't try to fix at least the ergonomics and give the technology another shot?



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post #10 of 23 Old 05-26-2012, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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As a personal viewpoint, I think the whole thing is the psychology of the buyers/users.

I mean, who wants to ride a whining (or even relatively silent) motorcycle with ATV-type controls? Not me, for one.

I wouldn't care if a hydro drive KLR had twice the torque and speed. I'd still pass it up for a geared transmission model. It's just part of the experience of riding.



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