Volvo Super Olympian

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Volvo B10TL Super Olympian
Kowloon Motor Bus Alexander ALX500-bodied Volvo Super Olympian in July 2008
AssemblyIrvine, Scotland
Wrocław, Poland
Body and chassis
Doors2 doors
Floor typeLow entry/Low floor
EngineVolvo D10A285
Power output285 hp
TransmissionVoith DIWA/ZF Ecomat
Length10.6 and 12.0 metres
Width2.50 and 2.55 metres
Height4.40 metres
PredecessorTri-axle Volvo Olympian
SuccessorVolvo B9TL

The Volvo Super Olympian was a low-floor double-decker bus manufactured by Volvo. It replaced the 3-axle version of Volvo Olympian; the chassis had the designated manufacturer code B10TL.


The Volvo Super Olympian was unveiled in 1998, with one chassis being sent to Hong Kong for a motor show held by International Union of Public Transport in the same year; the chassis was later returned to the United Kingdom.

Chassis design[edit]

The Super Olympian chassis was based on the Volvo Olympian; the front radiator was moved behind the front axle on the 12 metre version, or in front of the second axle for the 10.6 metre version (due to its shorter wheelbase). In order to lower the chassis further, the assisted steering function of the middle axle was cancelled; the suspension system has also been largely modified so that it is electronically controlled instead of moving passively. One special feature is that after turning, the suspension unit does not return to normal, remaining tilted to either the left or right, until the bus becomes stationary.

An option for 11.3 metre length of Super Olympian was also available, but no orders were received. The Super Olympian was powered by the Volvo D10A285 (Euro II or Euro III), with a maximum power of 285 hp (213 kW), its somewhat insufficient engine power has earned some mildly derisive nicknames in Hong Kong. The most common are "豬" (pig), "扒" (meat cutlet) and "豬扒" (pork chop, derived from the pronunciation of the word "Super").

Initially, the Super Olympian chassis were built in Volvo's factory in Irvine, Scotland. After the closure of the factory in mid-2000, production was moved to Wrocław, Poland.

Hong Kong[edit]

Kowloon Motor Bus Wright-bodied Volvo Super Olympian in August 2005
Kowloon Motor Bus Volgren-bodied Volvo Super Olympian in March 2007

Kowloon Motor Bus[edit]

12m version[edit]

Kowloon Motor Bus ordered the first batch of 61 (3ASV1-61) Alexander ALX500 bodied B10TL Super Olympians with ZF 4HP590 transmission, and roller shuttle route displays in 1998; these entered service in 1998/99. All except the prototype 3ASV3 had narrow 2+2 seats on the upper deck; the first buses were retired in November 2017.

A further 80 Super Olympians (3ASV62-141) entered service in 2000/01; these buses have electronic route displays and ZF 5HP590 transmission. 3ASV78 was the 3,000th Alexander bodied bus supplied to KMB, and 3ASV141 was the first KMB bus to meet Euro III emission standards.

The last 351 Super Olympians (3ASV142-492), including 21 which were fitted with Australian Volgren CR223LD bodywork, entered service in 2001/02. All of these buses had their chassis built in Poland, their D10A285 engines were built to meet Euro III emission standards and had aluminium alloy front wheels supplied by Alcoa. 3ASV297 was coated with special metallic paint, which shows different colours (mainly green and purple), depending on the angle of light reflection.

10.6m version[edit]

Kowloon Motor Bus was the only buyer of 10.6 metre Super Olympians. The first 49 (ASV1-49) 10.6m Alexander ALX500 bodied Super Olympians were introduced in 2001. They are equipped with D10A285 Euro II engines and had Alcoa front wheels.

ASV50, which was put into service in 2002, is a prototype short-wheelbase Super Olympian (chassis built in 1999), and also the only short-wheelbase Super Olympian built in Scotland, it is equipped with a Euro III D10A285 engine and ZF 4HP590 transmission rather than the previous 5HP590 as fitted to older ASVs.

ASV51-100 were also equipped with the Euro III D10A285 engines, they are almost identical with ASV1-49, except for minor interior differences. Only the first 24 were put into service in 2003; the remaining 26 were stored for more than a year, and they were put into service between September 2004 and March 2005.

12m wider version[edit]

In January 2003, Kowloon Motor Bus received the first Wright-bodied Super Olympian with a 2.55 metre-wide body (once known as the Wright Explorer). Like the Alexander Dennis Enviro500, it featured a straight staircase and plug exit door, it was numbered AVW1 and was registered on 20 March 2003.

The next 49 buses (AVW2-50) with a slightly different design followed shortly after AVW1, they entered service in 2003/04; the last 50 buses (AVW51-100), which are almost identical, entered service in 2004/05, These were the last batch of Volvo Super Olympian ordered by KMB.

New World First Bus[edit]

New World First Bus Alexander ALX500 bodied Volvo Super Olympian in June 2008

New World First Bus bought 103 Super Olympians in five batches, all are 12 metres long and were fitted with Alexander ALX500 bodies.

The first 40 (5001-5040), fitted with electronic route displays, were introduced in 1999; the next 20 (5041-5060), with their side route number boxes moved to a lower position, entered service in 2000/01. The chassis of 5060 was the first to be built in Poland. New World First Bus began de-registering the buses on 21 November 2017.

The next 19 Super Olympians (5061-5079), with Euro III D10A285 engines and Alcoa front wheels, entered service in 2001. To mark the occasion of meeting the Euro III emission standard, New World First Bus designed a full body advertisement for one of them (fleet number 5070) to state that they were environmentally friendly, they were followed by 10 similar examples (5080-5089) later that year. Among these buses, 5080-5086 had their registration numbers originated from ex China Motor Bus buses and service cars.

The last batch of 14 Super Olympians (5090-5103), entered service in 2002, had their rear electronic route number displays raised above the emergency window to form a box, the design being unique among all similar vehicles in Hong Kong.


SBS Transit Volgren-bodied Volvo Super Olympian

Super Olympians were purchased by Singapore Bus Service. In late 1999, Volvo delivered one Volgren CR222LD-bodied Super Olympian (SBS9888Y) as a demonstrator, it was the first wheelchair-accessible transition bus in Singapore. The bus was introduced on 16 January 2000 and deployed into the then-SBS Service 502 (Boon Lay - Sengkang), later shortened on 27 July 2003. SBS Service 502 was the first wheelchair-accessible bus service, it was burnt in Ang Mo Kio Bus Depot fire on 7 March 2010 along with five other double-decker buses.

Singapore Bus Service (now SBS Transit) then ordered a further 51 Volvo Super Olympian chassis on 29 October 2000 after the successful trial of the demonstrator, mostly to replace the Leyland Olympian 2-Axle non-air conditioned which was fully retired in 29 May 2004; the buses were only delivered starting from April 2002 (from SBS9800A), followed by 49 B10TLs which were being delivered in the early part of 2003. They had Voith DIWA863.3 transmission, rather than ZF 5HP590 transmission. Fifty were fitted with Volgren CR222LD bodywork. One was assembled in Australia, while other bodies were delivered to Singapore as kits in 2001/02; some were retrofitted with the ZF 4HP500 transmission in place of the original Voith unit. The last order was fitted with ComfortDelGro Engineering bodywork, it finally entered service in March 2005.

  • 4 April 2002 - 29 March 2019: SBS9800A
  • 17 February-11 April 2003 - 2020: SBS9801Y - SBS9849K

All the VSOs in Singapore are retrofitted with electronic destination signages since 2012; these buses will be retired beginning April 2019 after 17 years of service (SBS9800A), and are due to be fully retired by 2020 in light of the Land Transport Authority’s goal to have a fully wheelchair-accessible bus fleet by then. They are replaced by the new MAN A95s.


Production of Volvo Super Olympian ended in 2004 and 2005 after completion of the last order from Kowloon Motor Bus and SBS Transit, its successor was the Volvo B9TL.

External links[edit]

Media related to Volvo Super Olympian at Wikimedia Commons