Common Tread

Hormel builds a motorcycle powered by bacon grease. Why? Why not?

Aug 08, 2014

Hormel Foods, with the help of CS Engineering, built a cafe racer that runs off bio-diesel made from bacon grease. Yes, you read the correctly and no, I'm not kidding. If you can handle the hipster overload, stay with me because it's actually really cool.

Somehow, a PR agency convinced the nice people at Hormel that the best way to promote its Black Label bacon was to create a motorcycle that runs off of bacon grease and ride it from company HQ in Austin, Minn., to the 2nd Annual International Bacon Film Festival in San Diego. The donor bike was a Track T800CDI made by a Dutch company called Evaproducts — a bike that’s unfortunately never made its way stateside. Its 799cc, three-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine makes 45 horsepower and 74 foot-pounds of torque, and gets a reported 140 mpg.

The Hormel Bacon Bike. Hormel Photo.
Fabrication work was handled by Charlie Smithson of CS Engineering, also known as some guy’s garage in Minnesota. That’s not to say Charlie isn’t qualified, though. His resume includes work for a number of F1 teams with names like BMW, Ferrari, and Red Bull, and the pics on his website show a home garage unlike any I’ve ever seen. The Track T800 needed quite a bit of work to take it from its original BMW-framed stance to its final cafe-racer form. Charlie says it took him about a month, including seven all-nighters. He made everything from the modified frame, to the carbon fiber and kevlar tank, to the pigskin seat himself.

The next issue was to find a way to turn bacon grease into fuel. Enter Bio-Blend Fuels’ founder Dan Kaderabek. Dan’s team took 250 pounds of Black Label bacon grease and turned it into 200 gallons of the B100 biodiesel fuel required by the bike. Their creation gets about 75 to 100 mpg and they estimate a fuel cost of about $3.50 per gallon.

Nice leather work on the seat. Hormel Photo.
I think this is actually a fantastic-looking motorcycle. The brown pigskin leather work is gorgeous, the exhaust is really tastefully done, and I love how they’ve highlighted so much of the engine by letting it just hang out there. I thought this was a beautiful build before I realized its exhaust smelled like bacon, which is just too weird and cool to be angry at.

You can follow the team's journey to San Diego at the official DRIVENBYBACON website. The internet is a weird and wonderful place.