The Scimitar is the first product from the Chennai-based Altius Automotive Technologies. Next year, Altius plans to manufacture small displacement, 400-700cc multi-fuel motorcycle engines that can additionally be used for power generation or construction. The Scimitar, based on the Kawasaki KLR650, looks like the typical multipurpose, on/off-road motorcycle. A basic fairing surrounds the rectangular head lamp, and the military bike also gets an IR light to help boost night vision. In India, it will become the only motorcycle to run on diesel, or a choice of JP8, JP5, JP4, AVTUR, JET-A1, and even biodiesel thanks to its multi-fuel technology.
The Scimitar’s 670cc, single-cylinder engine is a liquid-cooled four-stroke, wet sump unit that relies on indirect injection (IDI) for your choice of heavy fuel. You get 5.4kgm of torque produced at a low 3,300 rpm. Its exhaust note, while not refined, is without the bothersome clatter that is expected of a diesel. A 20-minute ride, however, confirmed that this is no petrol power plant. The engine feels heavier, the revs building gradually with a tardy, but predictable throttle response that takes some time getting used. Acceleration and performance feel sluggish but it pulls with a steady perseverance.
The Scimitar is smooth as long as you don’t push it hard. The transmission is a conventionally toe-shifted, five-speed unit that sticks with a universal one-down, four-up configuration. The company claims of a top speed of 150kph. You sit comfortably upright on the Scimitar but shorter riders will struggle. However, on the go, it’s this and the wide handlebar that help provide a welcome, commanding feel and nice leverage. At the outset, the tough-as-nails Scimitar does have great potential in India, where our pothole-ridden roads beg for a sturdy motorcycle like this. Altius has indicated an attractive price of R1.5-R1.75 for this unique motorcycle.
Price: R1.5-R1.75 lakh (estimated)
Ground clearance: 211mm
Fuel tank capacity: 14 litres
Dry weight: 176kg
Engine layout: Single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, Indirect injection: (IDI), diesel
Power: 33bhp at 5700rpm
Torque: 5.4kgm at 3300rpm
Specific output: 49.2bhp per litre
Power to weight: 187.5bhp per tonne
Gearbox: 5-speed, 1-down, 5-up
Front suspension: Telescopic forks
Rear suspension: Linked monoshock, dual side swingarm
Front brake: 280mm petal disc
Rear brake: 240mm petal disc
Wheels: Wire spoke
Rim size (f-r):21-17 inches
Tyre size (f-r): Dual purpose 90/90 x 21 - 120/90 x 17 inches