Volvo B10TL


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Volvo B10TL
Other names Super Olympian, VSO
Manufacturer Volvo Buses
Bodywork Volgren CR221LD
ComfortDelGro Engineering
Year 1999–
Local Operators SBS Transit
Technical Data
Length 12m
Width 2.55m
Entry Low Floor
Engine Volvo D10A-285
Gearbox Voith DIWA 863.3
ZF 4HP 590
ZF 5HP 590
Emission Standard Euro II

The Volvo B10TL, commonly known as the Volvo Super Olympian, is a rear-engined low-floor double-decker transit bus built by Volvo Buses since 1998. It is the successor to the three-axle Volvo Olympian, while the two-axle version was relaced by the Volvo B7TL. Designed for the Asian market, the bus was highly popular in Hong Kong, with many units exported there.

SBS Transit is the sole operator of the Volvo B10TL in Singapore, with 51 units delivered between 1999 and 2002. 50 units were built with bodywork by Volgren of Australia, and one unit was bodied by ComfortDelGro Engineering, a subsidary of SBS Transit’s parent company ComfortDelGro.


The Volvo B10TL chassis was designed based on its predecessor, the Volvo Olympian. The front radiator was moved behind the front axle to free up space for rear components. To further lower the chassis, dropped axles were implemented; however they also removed the passive steering function of the middle axle (which was present in the Volvo Olympian). As such, Volvo B10TLs display noticeable tyre screeching from the middle axle while nagivating tight corners.

The original passive suspension system has been upgraded to an electronically-controlled semi-active suspension. A unique feature of the bus is that after turning, the suspension unit does not automatically stabilize until the bus becomes stationary. Until then, the bus will slant towards the left or right.

Technical Aspects

Volvo Super Olympians were offered with the Euro II-compliant Volvo D10A-285 engine delivering 285 horsepower, coupled with Voith and ZF gearbox options. A Euro III-compliant version (Volvo D10A-285 ECO1) was offered from Year 2000 onwards. The engine was less powerful compared to the 305-horsepower Cummins M11-305E used on the Dennis Trident 3 (which appeared on the market two years earlier), or the 335 horsepower of the later Cummins ISMe Euro III used on later batches of the Dennis Trident 3. As such, they have noticeably slower acceleration and poorer hill-climbing abilities.

The chassis was compatible with various bodyworks, such as the Alexander ALX500, Volgren CR221LD, Volgren CR223LD and the Wright Explorer. Chassis lengths of 10.6m, 11.3 and 12.0m were offered, but no orders were placed for the 11.3m version.

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.


SBS & SBS Transit: A summary

Singapore Bus Service (SBS) took delivery of its first Volvo B10TL in 1999, registered as SBS9888Y and bodied by Volgren. A later 50 units were brought in between 2002 and 2003, when SBS had already rebranded itself to SBS Transit. These production batch buses were fitted with Volgren bodywork, and assembled locally (with the exception of one). Finally, the last B10TL chassis was reserved to be fitted with a prototype bodywork developed by SBS Transit in cooperation with PSV international and built by Comfort DelGro Engineering (SBS Transit’s engineering wing). It entered service in 2005 as SBS9889U, the last Volvo B10TL to be registered.


SBS Volvo B10TL Volgren-bodied Demonstrator (SBS9888Y)

In 1999, Volvo brought in a demonstrator Volvo B10TL for Singapore Bus Services (SBS) for trial purposes. Registered as SBS9888Y, it was the first low-floor double-decker bus to be introduced in Singapore, and a showcase for the next-generation double deckers to come. The bus was registered on 1 Nov 1999.

Basic Specifications:

  • Volvo D10A-285 engine
    – Euro II-compliant, 8268cc
    – 285 hp (210 kW) @ 2000 rpm
    – Torque rating of 1200 Nm @ 1450 rpm
  • ZF Ecomat 5HP 590 gearbox
    Five-speed automatic.
  • Volgren CR222LD Bodywork
    Bodywork was supplied and assembled by Volgren of Australia, of the CR222LD build. Shipped completely-built-up (CBU) to Singapore.
  • Denso air-conditioning unit
  • Mobitec Electronic Display Signages (EDS)
    Green flipdot matrix design, removed in 2005

Branded as “Singapore’s First Low-floor Superbus”, SBS9888Y’s chassis was assembled at Volvo’s UK plant in Irvine, Scotland, and bodied by Volgren in Dandenong, Australia, and finally shipped completely built up to Singapore. The body was a CR222LD demonstration model, arranged with 55 upper deck seats, 28 lower deck seats and standing space for 42 passengers.

The bus originally served on SBS’s flagship route Express 502, until the route was shortened due to NEL rationalization, and re-deployed to other routes. The Mobitec flip-dot EDS was removed in November 2005 after it was deemed unserviceable, and the bus reverted to using plastic destos. However, the black border around the EDS was retained and remained as a distinguishing feature from the subsequent production batch Volvo B10TLs.

In the early hours of 7 March 2010, SBS9888Y was burnt down in a fire at Ang Mo Kio bus depot, along with five other double-decker buses. It was deregistered a year later.


SBS Volvo B10TL Volgren-bodied Production Batch (SBS9800A – SBS9849K)

After the successful trial of SBS9888U, Singapore Bus Services placed orders for a subsequent batch of 51 Volvo B10TLs chassis in 2001. 50 of them were produced under the Production Batch. They were registered between 4 Apr 2002 and 11 Apr 2003 as SBS9800A – SBS9849K.

Basic Specifications:

  • Volvo D10A-285 engine
    – Euro II-compliant, 8268cc
    – 285 hp (210 kW) @ 2000 rpm
    – Torque rating of 1200 Nm @ 1450 rpm
  • Voith DIWA 863.3 original gearbox (43 units)
    Three-speed automatic, the only differing technical aspect from SBS9888Y.
  • ZF Ecomat 4HP 590 gearbox (7 units)
    Four-speed automatic, replaced original Voith.
  • Volgren CR222LD Bodywork
    Bodywork supplied by Volgren of Australia, assembled locally by Soon Chow + SBS Engineering Pte Ltd.
  • Denso air-conditioning unit
  • LECIP Electronic Display Signages (EDS)
    Orange LED matrix design, installed in 2011/2012.

Unlike SBS9888Y, these buses were originally not equipped with Electronic Display Signages (EDSes), relying on the traditional plastic destination plate instead. SBS had opted for the Voith DIWA 863.3 gearbox for all units, but some would later be fitted with the ZF 5HP 590.

SBS9810X was built at Irvine, Scotland, but following the plant’s closure, the remaining units were built at another Volvo plant in Wroclaw, Poland. All buses were built with the Volgren CR222LD in completely knocked down (CKD) kits and assembeld locally by SBS Engineering Pte Ltd at Defu; however SBS9810X is an exception and was fully assembled in Australia. In the process, it was fitted with a Transit Media EDS unit. SBS9800A is the other exception, having been assembled by Soon Chow. While SBS9800A entered service in April 2002, the remaining 49 buses of the Production Batch would only enter service in April 2003.

Currently, SBS Transit’s Volvo B10TLs are operated solely out of East District bus depots. They operate on a mix of short and long haul routes, and are a frequent sight on services such as 8, 28, 31, 65, 69, 81 and 222.

Additional Specifications:

The Volvo B10TL has a licensed capacity of 125 passengers, with 55 upper deck seating, 28 lower deck seating, and 42 standing passengers. Despite the low-floor design, wheelchair ramps were never installed, unlike the other Volvo B10TLs in Hong Kong.

Seven of the Volvo B10TLs had their original Voith DIWA 863.3 gearbox replaced with the four-speed ZF Ecomat 4HP 590 gearbox. They were SBS9805L, SBS9806J, SBS9812R, SBS9817C, SBS9825D, SBS9827Z & SBS9834C. SBS9812R has since reverted to the Voith DIWA 863.3, leaving a current six units with the ZF Ecomat transmission.

In Dec 2011, SBS9822L was the first Volvo B10TL of the Production Batch to receive an EDS upgrade, with a LECIP EDS similar to those installed on the Batch 3 Volvo Olympians.  The upgrade was short-lived; about a week later, the EDS was changed for a larger LECIP EDS, of similar size to SBS9810X’s original EDS. Eventually, all Production Batch B10TLs received this upgrade, including SBS9810X, which had its original Transit Media EDS replaced.


SBS Transit Volvo B10TL CDGE-bodied demonstrator (SBS9889U)

When SBS placed orders for a Production batch of 51 Volvo B10TLs, 50 of them were built with Volgren bodywork. The last chassis was retained by SBS Transit (re-branded from SBS in late 2001) to be fitted with a prototype bodywork, and registered on 1 Mar 2005 as SBS9889U.

Basic Specifications:

  • Volvo D10A-285 engine
    – Euro II-compliant, 8268cc
    – 285 hp (210 kW) @ 2000 rpm
    – Torque rating of 1200 Nm @ 1450 rpm
  • Voith DIWA 863.3 gearbox
    Three-speed automatic
  • ComfortDelgro Engineering (CDGE) Bodywork
    Designed and built in conjunction with PSV International. Built and assembled locally, it was to serve as the design basis for the first batch of Volvo B9TLs bodied by CDGE.
  • Denso air-conditioning unit
  • LECIP Electronic Display Signages (EDS)
    Orange LED matrix design

This bus was registered on 1 March 2005 as SBS9889U, making it the last non-wheelchair-accessible bus in SBS Transit’s fleet, as well as the bus with the largest registration number in numerical order. It was fitted with a Transit Media EDS unit for the front and near-side, but never received a rear EDS.

SBS9889U was bodied with a prototype bodywork designed by ComfortDelgro Engineering (the engineering branch of Comfort DelGro, SBS Transit’s parent company) in cooperation with PSV International. Completed in 2003, the bus did not see revenue servince until 21 March 2005, making its debut on Service 147. The prototype bodywork was to be a platform for the later CDGE-bodied Volvo B9TLs.

Originally with a blue-themed interior, the bus was refurbished in 2012 with SBS Transit’s signature yellow and red seat covers. That same year, the EDS was reformatted to show route details in addition to scrolling between the two end termini of a particular route.

In early 2014, the Transit Media EDS units were replaced with a LECIP EDS unit, identical to the small-font units used on the CDGE-bodied Volvo B9TLs.


Additional Specifications:

The Volvo B10TL has a licensed capacity of 121 passengers, with 55 upper deck seating, 27 lower deck seating, and 39 standing passengers. Despite the low-floor design, wheelchair ramps were never installed, unlike other Volvo B10TLs in Hong Kong.


Comparison Table:

SBS Transit Volvo B10TL
  Production Batch Volgren Demonstrator CDGE Demonstrator
Registration SBS9800A – SBS9849K SBS9888Y SBS9889U
Quantity 50 1 1
Registration Period 9800A: 4 Apr 2002
9801Y – 9849K:
17 Feb 2003 – 11 Apr 2003
1 Nov 1999 1 Mar 2005
Bodywork Volgren CR222LD ComfortDelGro Engineering
Engine Volvo D10A-285 (Euro II)
Displacement 8268 cc
Power/torque 285 hp (210kW) @ 2000 rpm / 1200 Nm @ 1450 rpm
Transmission Voith DIWA 863.3 (43)
ZF 4HP 590 (7)
ZF 5HP 590 Voith DIWA 863.3
Passenger Capacity* U55/L28 + S42 U55/L27 + S39
Electronic Display Signage (EDS) LECIP
Previously: None
Previously: Mobitec Flipdot
Previously: Transit Media
Notes Destroyed in 2010

* – Passenger capacity: U = Upper Deck, L = Lower Deck, S = Standing



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4 thoughts on “Volvo B10TL

  1. SBST notoriously known for their 1st gear restricted to prevent accidents and fuel saving hence many of their buses struggle to climb hill or accelerate from bus stops

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