An inventor unleashes the world's baddest bio-bike
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MOST VEGGIE-OIL VEHICLES serve as humble concessions to ustainability, but Oakland metal sculptor Michael Sturtz’s Die Moto chopper is a rogue statement of power and style. At September’s Motorcycle Speed Trials, on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, Sturtz expects to set the record for a bio-cycle. “I’m hoping to hit 175,” says Sturtz. “But I could end up eating those words in salt.” Sturtz, 37, who runs Oakland’s Crucible industrial-arts school, hit upon the project while helping his girlfriend shop for a diesel car and finding only uninspiring technologies in the U.S. With help from creative friends, he found a 163-horsepower diesel engine from a European-model 2004 BMW 320d sedan, converted it, built a frame, and wrapped the whole thing in a hand-formed aluminum fairing. He’s already gotten Die Moto up to 130 miles per hour on a section of Bay Area freeway (unbeknownst to the California Highway Patrol). “We’re doing this so the world will see biodiesel as a high-performance fuel,” says Sturtz. “So that people will stop thinking of veggie oil as being only for slow-going hippies.”