Introducing... The Juggernaut

Published in the October 2017 Issue August 2018 Feature Trevor Mason

Have you ever seen something that just defied explanation? Something that you just had to get proof of, otherwise no one would believe you? Sam Turner has created such a thing, and lucky for you, we’ve got proof.

What you see here is a hydrostatic twin turbo all-wheel-drive diesel motorcycle custom-built from the ground up. What it looks like is a cross between the Batpod in The Dark Knight and something out of Mad Max. But before we get into the specifics, let’s back up a little bit.


Stretching His Muscles

Sam works for the US Postal Service in Atlanta as a diesel engine tech maintaining their vehicles. He’s a diesel enthusiast through and through, and wanted to put his skills to use. To that end, he decided to modify an old bike with a diesel engine. He says, “It was a Mary ‘Plain’ Jane. It was a Suzuki GS750 frame that I put a single-cylinder Yanmar diesel on. I ended up putting a turbo and an intercooler on it. It was a very normal-looking motorcycle besides the diesel engine.”

After getting his feet wet with that bike, he decided to dig a little deeper and really make something special. “I went with a V-twin diesel and put twin turbochargers on it,” he says. “Then I was thinking it’d be awesome to have something kind of robust-looking that had all-wheel drive for a motorcycle, so that’s what led me down the hydrostatic route of making it hydraulically driven.”

The result? You kind of have to see it to fully appreciate it.


More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

This is Sam’s creation. It’s not every day that you see something as cool, unique, and flat-out badass as this beast of a bike. It doesn’t have a name yet (though Sam says “Juggernaut” might be an appropriate title), but it may not need one.

Sam says, “The original idea was a bomb-style fuel tank. The fuel tank ended up not working out very well having them down that low, so they ended up becoming the air tanks. I put some fake fins on the back of them so they’d look like bombs. In all honesty, I never really designed it to be super practical. I just wanted something that looked really cool that functioned as well as it could and also pushed the limits of what I’m capable of building, since I only have a little home machine shop and do this kind of stuff on the side.”

Sam has a pretty deep well of knowledge to draw from, since this isn’t the kind of thing that he can just refer to the owner’s manual for when he runs into trouble. If you watch the whole run of videos he’s posted as he’s gone through the build process, you’ll see how things have moved around (like the fuel/air tank swap) and certain pieces have had to be thought out differently to make them work right. “It’s not like it’s something I can search online to see how to make something work better because I’m having a certain issue, since it’s kind of a one-of-a-kind build,” Sam says. “It’s pretty much been playing it by ear, just building it and fixing it as I go along. There’s always room for improvement.”

For example: “At first, the bike ended up weighing so much—it weighs about 1200 pounds—that the airbag suspension wasn’t even able to lift the bike off the ground, so I had to relocate the airbags to give them more mechanical advantage to help raise the bike up. The steering was very difficult to turn, so I ended up lengthening the control arms going down to the steering cables, so that made it a lot easier. The turning radius was less, but the mechanical advantage of turning the bike was easier.”

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