Another diesel bike confirmed

The 670cc diesel Altius Scimitar

IT seems that with the massive growth of the bike market in India a future has suddenly appeared for the diesel motorcycle – until recently seen by most people as a dead-end folly for eccentric fuel-misers.

Now, the picture is quite different, with several firms working on just such machines. As well as Indian stalwarts Bajaj and Enfield, both reckoned to be developing new diesels, a new firm, Altius Automotive Technologies, is getting in on the game.

It's done a deal with long-time diesel bike maker Hayes Diversified Technologies – the firm that makes diesel engined bikes based on old Kawasaki KLR650s for the US military.

Altius's first model, the Scimitar, is basically a rebadged HDT. That means you only get 33bhp, but it will run on just about anything that burns. That's handy for the military; they need diesel bikes because everything else they use – tanks, lorries etc – run on diesel and carrying a separate supply of petrol for their bikes doesn't make sense. And pretty useful in rural India, too, where the long range offered and the wider availability of diesel than petrol means you're unlikely to get stranded miles away from a source of fuel.

But would it work over here? A few years ago, diesel was just for trucks, farmers and misers prepared to put up with slow, rattly cars. Now it accounts for more than half all new car sales in the UK. So don't bet against it.

What do you reckon – would you give a diesel bike a try?