Altius Automotive Technologies, a new Indian Private Limited company spearheaded by former Hyundai Motor India chief, BVR Subbu, is in partnership with California’s Hayes Diversified Technologies to manufacture engines that sip on various fuels including diesel. HDT supply motorcycles to the US armed forces.
The initial India plan includes the manufacture of small displacement, multi-fuel motorcycle engines. Their first bike will be the 670cc on/off road Scimitar, named after a lethal, thin and curved South Asian, Middle Eastern sword. The Scimitar looks a typical multipurpose, on/off road motorcycle, standing tall on long travel suspension.
A sturdy bar wraps around the handlebar protecting its controls, with nice quality switches, levers and mirrors, the Scimitar also providing a good set of palm grips. The compact speedometer includes a bar type tachometer and engine temperature gauge. Everything looks and feels built to last.
HDT’s fourth generation heavy fuel motorcycle engine powers the Scimitar. This will soon become the only Indian motorcycle to run on diesel, or a choice of JP8, JP5, JP4, AVTUR, JET-A1, or even Biodiesel thanks to multi-fuel technology.
The Scimitar’s 670cc, single cylinder engine runs liquid-cooled. It’s a four-stroke, wet sump unit that relies on indirect injection (IDI).
The Scimitar sounds just like a big-single, perhaps slightly louder, no, never refined, but still without too much bothersome diesel clatter. A twenty minute ride however confirmed this is no petrol powerplant. Acceleration and performance feels sluggish for a 670cc, 33bhp at 5700rpm motorcycle, but it pulls with a steady perseverance. You get 5.4kgm of torque produced low at 3300rpm. The Scimitar is never going to be your bike of choice at a drag-strip, and it’s smooth only so long as you don’t rev it hard. The transmission is a toe shifted five-speed unit.
The Scimitar is big. There’s a brace of rubber-boot protected long travel telescopic forks in front, the Scimitar providing a multi-link, adjustable rear monoshock. Alloy rims are held together by tough wire-spokes as commonly found on off road motorcycles, the Scimitar using petal type disc brakes both front and rear.
You sit comfortably upright, but shorter riders will struggle on such a tall motorcycle. On the go, the tall riding position and wide handlebar help provide a welcome commanding feel and nice leverage. Dual purpose on/off road knobby tyres offer tenacious grip on the dirt, but lack confidence when cornering on tarmac.
At the outset, the tough as nails Scimitar does have great potential in India, where our roads beg for sturdy motorcycle like this.
Pick up a copy of Autocar India’s May 2011 issue to read the only comprehensive riding impression from behind the unique Scimitar’s handlebar.