When Hyundai set shop in India more than a decade ago, Tata Veteran BVR Subbu was the man who was entrusted with building the Hyundai brand in India and heading operations from the forefront. Brand he certainly did build as Hyundai is now the second largest car maker in India with an after sales service reach also in the top three. Half a decade ago, Mr Subbu put in his papers at Hyundai India as the entrepreneurial bug bit him hard.
Last heard, the ex-Hyundai executive was setting up a contract manufacturing unit in India called Argentum Motors on erstwhile Daewoo India’s facility at Surajpur, Uttar Pradesh, which somehow seems to have fallen by the wayside. Now, Mr Subbu who had always maintained that he had a host of entrepreneurial ambitions in mind seems to have regrouped his ambitions to focus on a diesel engine manufacturing unit in Chennai called Altius Automotive Technologies.
Altius is being partnered by Hayes Diversified Technologies, an American firm engaged in supply of military vehicles and equipment principally to the US Army. Hayes also was instrumental in soehorning a 670cc diesel/multifuel engine onto the Kawasaki KLR650’s chassis to come up with the HDT Diesel Motorcycle for the US Army as the army wanted a single fuel to work across it’s vehicle range with petrol being out of the question.
That essentially is the longish background of the motorcycle we’re talking about here, the Altius Scimitar 670 Diesel, which could see an Indian launch in 2012 even as Altius is in the process of clearing the stringent emissions tests, (oh yes, we’re ahead of the Americans in this) that the Indian government mandates. Cut to the motorcycle, what you get is essentially the tried and tested enduro frame of the Kawasaki KLR650 dual purpose motorcycle mated to a 670cc multifuel diesel engine(ouch, oxymoron) designed by HDT.
Altius Scimitar 670 Diesel Motorcycle
Being an indirect diesel engine mated to a five speed manual gearbox, the engine is slow revving but good for about 33 Bhp and a very healthy torque output of 54 Nm. All this shove and twist will give you a nought to hundred timing of under 10 seconds with a top speed of around 150 kph. Altius also claims a 45 KMPL mileage at a constant 90 kph which is quite remarkable if you factor in the diesel running costs. The killer however is the 1.75 Lakh price tag that Altius plans to price the Scimitar 670 at.
Now, will this motorcycle work in India? There’s a real good chance that it will as there definitely exists a niche touring motorcycle market in India which has no real options apart from the Royal Enfield Bullet and to a certain extent the Karizma ZMRs and the Honda CBRs of the world. While the Bullet, even with the UCE500 engine continues to be plagued by quality issues left, right and center, the faired CBR250R and the Karizma aren’t exactly what tough-as-nails0-rugged can be defined as.
Also, for folks looking for a military rugged go-anywhere motorcycle that offers the economy of diesel along with the torque, longevity and reliability that a well engineered diesel engine offers, the Scimitar 670 Diesel could be a great touring option on which you wouldn’t have to worry about bad roads or even no roads. Also, diesel being a fuel that is available almost anywhere in India and given that the Scimitar’s multi fuel engine is no high tech CRDI motor that requires very clean diesel, a case for this motorcycle carries even more weight.
If Mr Subbu indeed manages to build the Scimitar 670 with the same amount of reliability that was engineered in the Hyundais when he was at the helm of affairs at Hyundai India, we could very well have a winner on our hand. So, holding on to your monies for some more time would be a wise idea and this motorcycle could see a 2012 launch. Our friends at AutoCarIndia have ridden the Scimitar 670 and are carrying a story in the print edition of May 2011.
To read more about the Scimitar, you’ve got to go and grab a copy of the magazine available at a newsstand near you. Meanwhile, here are the technical specifications of the Altius Scimitar 670 Diesel Motorcycle we managed to gather from Altius’s website.
MAXIMUM SPEED In excess of 152 kph (95 mph)
ACCELERATION 0-53 kph (30 mph), 3.3 sec / 0-106 kph (60 mph), 9.7 sec
MINIMUM CONSTANT SPEED Less than 5 kph (3 mph)
TURNING RADIUS Less than 2.1 meters (7 feet)
FORDING DEPTH 610 mm (24 inches)
FUEL MILEAGE 46.6 kpl @ 90 kph (96 mpg @ 55 mph)
RANGE 653 km @ 90 kph (408 miles @ 55 mph)
FUEL JP8, JP5, JP4, AVTUR, JET-A1, Diesel, Biodiesel
TYPE Patent Pending 4-Stroke, Indirect Injection (IDI), single cylinder, liquid cooled, heavy-fuel engine
POWER 33 Hp @ 5700 RPM
TORQUE 53 Nm (38 ft-lbs) @ 3300 RPM
LUBRICATION Wet sump, compatible with MIL-L-2104, MIL-L-46152 & MIL-L-46167 lubricants
AIR FILTRATION High capacity, 3-stage, oiled foam, reusable
TRANSMISSION 5-speed, clutchless, constant mesh, return shift
FINAL DRIVE Self lubricated, sealed, O-ring roller chain
BATTERY 12 volt, 625 CCA, maintenance free dry cell
ALTERNATOR 14 amp, 14 volt, AC, three phase
STANDARD LIGHTING DOT approved lighting system
BLACKOUT LIGHTING Driving, Marker & Tail/Stop lights meeting MIL-STD-1179 with IR Driving Lights
CONTROLS & INSTRUMENTATION
HANDLEBARS & CONTROLS Heavy duty with integral hand and control guard
THROTTLE Dual cable with auto and manual return, water and dust resistant
CABLES Nylon lined, water and dust resistant
SPEEDOMETER Calibrated in MPH & KPH with resettable odometer, illuminated
INSTRUMENTS Illuminated Speedometer calibrated in KPH and MPH, Resettable Odometer, Tachometer, Engine Temperature Gauge, Neutral Indicator, Directional Indicator and High Beam
FRAME Semi-double cradle, welded high-tensile steel mainframe with removable rear section
FRONT SUSPENSION Telescopic forks, hydraulic damped and sealed with non-reflective boots
REAR SUSPENSION Swing arm with multi-link actuated adjustable shock, sealed needle bearings at all pivot points
ENGINE GUARDS Skid plate with tubular engine and radiator guard
FOOT PEGS Safety folding, spring return
FUEL TANK Rotationally molded plastic, 14 liter (4.25 gallon) capacity
WHEELS Heavy duty, wire-spoke with alloy rims
TIRES Dunlop D606, dual-purpose (on/off-road) tires, DOT approved
FRONT BRAKE/REAR BRAKE Single 280mm petal-type disc, two-piston caliper / Single 240mm disc, single-piston caliper
BODY Headlight cover, Air filter box, Fenders, Seat base, Side panels, Chain guard
TOOLS Full operator tool kit
EQUIPMENT RACK Heavy duty rear equipment rack with 23 kg (50 lb) capacity
EQUIPMENT CASE Side mounted, hard sided equipment cases optional
WEIGHTS & MEASUREMENTS
DRY WEIGHT 176 kg (389 lbs)
MAX WIDTH 960 mm (37.8 in)
MAX LENGTH 2296 mm (90.4 in)
MAX HEIGHT 1219 mm (48 in) Mirrors not included
WHEEL BASE 1481 mm (58.3 in)
GROUND CLEARANCE 211 mm (8.3 in)
COLORS Desert Tan, Military Green or Black (Special Color upon request)
I ride, I blog and I trip. This apart, motorcycles, vintage mechanical watches, people watching, camping and traveling are my other interests. Incidentally, I hold a engineering degree in electronics and work experience in computer networks and professional blogging. I live in Bangalore currently and you could get in touch with me at [email protected]