Japanese Cow in Cambodia

What Is This Thing?

This was my second time in Cambodia and I encountered this machine once again. This is a “Diesel Engine”. The one in the main image (taken from last year) is Tra Chang but for the rest of the post, I will talk about, and use pictures are of a Kubota RT140. I didn’t know that these were called the “Japanese Cow” by the Cambodian locals until we talked about it with our tour guide (we opted for a great bicycle tour around the Angkor Wat). Most probably because it replaces the function of a cow (in farming) and it comes from Japan. According to our tour guide (in Siem Reap)..


“The Kubota can be left in the hot sun and under the rain. It doesn’t fall sick and can work all day long.”




The RT140 took us through the villages in Poipet.


To describe the RT140, I shall quote their website


“The Kubota RT140 is a horizontal, water-cooled, four cycle diesel engine. With a capacity of 14HP at 2400RPM, the Kubota RT140 is renowned for its reliabilty and durability.”

So the number 140 indicates 14.0HP, and  that the “RT” indicates a model series. You have the RT100, RT125, and RT140., each with 10.0HP, 12.5Hp, and 14.0HP respectively. In one way, it is similar to a Subaru or Porsche engine (Horizontal). Subaru calls their engine the “Boxer engine” while Porsche calls theirs the “Flat 6”


The engine can be sold like this, so everything else can be an add-on.


The RT140 without appendages



How Do You Ride This?

It has a lever throttle, brake, and gears (I think there’s a clutch). Riding this through mud requires some skill. I noticed that the drivers usually stick to the side of the path to get some traction. When they start to lose traction, they turn the wheels left and right to try and get a grip. As a passenger, you just hold on for dear life. Our driver was very young so he was a little eager and aggressive.

Racing Game POV


Notice the horizontal gear selector in the middle of the picture



Too much aggression gets you stuck



Young aggressive drivers. When will they learn?


What Is It Capable Of?

A lot of things. I’m a big fan of modular design and these diesel engines are a perfect example of modular design. The Diesel Engine is used to haul stuff. It can haul loads up to 4 cows. No proper metric here, but that is what I saw. It is quite impressive what a single cylinder 709cc diesel engine could do. Just one cylinder and 14HP.


One 709cc cylinder producing 14HP



A scenic ride through the villages of Poipet.


Switch the appendages, and the RT140 could perform different functions..











Conclusion and some specs of the RT 140


In word – VERSATILE. I didn’t drive it so that’s all I could say. We had a blast in Cambodia.



Some specs just in case you are interested..


Type – Water Cooled Horizontal Diesel Engine (Boxer much)

Number of Cylinders – 1

Total Displacement – 709cc

Intake System – Naturally Aspirated (NA)

Max Output kW/rpm (hp/rpm) – 10.3/2400 (14.0/2400)

Cont Output kW/rpm (hp/rpm) – 9.2/2400 (12.5/2400)



Hope you had a good read.


Until then

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