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Coming soon to India: Diesel superbikes?

Last updated on: June 6, 2012 18:34 IST

Coming soon to India: Diesel superbikes?

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Wajeeh Khan, BikeDekho.com

With petrol costs going through the roof, it may not be too long before a diesel suberbike hits the Indian roads.

With the constantly rising prices of petrol, every consumer wants an alternative solution to this seemingly never ending problem. And from this need stems the automotive industry's efforts to introduce more and more diesel-based variants into the market. However much of the focus has sadly been only on the four-wheeler side of things. And the little focus that the two-wheeler industry is getting seems to only come under the economy class two-wheelers. Where are the diesel based variants for the superbike sector?

Granted that the Indian market is mostly looking for cheap, reliable and fuel efficient economy class bikes, there are however a great number of people who are still in the market for some fuel efficient superbikes. Unfortunately due to the very nature of a superbike engine, the fuel consumption is off the charts. Hence the need for diesel-based superbikes. Sadly, very few companies are willing to invest into high performance diesel engines.

There are however, a limited number of companies that still venture into the conceptualisation of diesel-based variants.

Altius in collaboration with California's Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDT) is one such corporation.

Courtesy 


Image: All images of Ducati Monster Diesel
Photographs: Ducati.co.in
Tags: HDT , India , California

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Roughly a year ago there were rumors about the possible launch of a diesel based tourer bike. It was named Altius Scimitar.

With a displacement of 670cc, the single cylinder indirect injection diesel engine showed immense promise. The bike was capable of delivering 33 BHP and 53Nm of torque.

With these specs the bike went from nought to hundred in less than 10 seconds, with a top speed of 150Kmph.

The expected mileage on the Altius Scimitar was roughly 45 km to the litre. Sounds wonderful? It sure did to me.

Sadly the bike seems to be in cold storage in Altius's basement with no news on it ever being launched in the Indian market.


Photographs: Ducati.co.in

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Yet another diesel bike that started out on paper but was never introduced to the mass production stage was the Thunder Star Diesel 1200 TDI by the Dutch company Twin Star.

This innovative company took the engine from a VW Lupo TDI and patched it to a frame of their design. The result was a mind-numbingly fast diesel superbike with a displacement of 1200 cc, an immense 120 BHP at 5500 rpm and close to 230 Nm of torque.

As if this isn't enough to make any adrenaline junkie's day, the bike at ready-to-ride status weighs only 204 kg. With such torque to weight ratios, this bike assures neck snapping pushbacks.

However, as with the Altius Scimitar, this bike was also left in cold storage with little to no information on it ever being launched.


Photographs: Ducati.co.in

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Another automotive company that has been brave enough to venture into the diesel superbike segment in India is Ducati.

The company is planning to launch the new Ducati Monster Diesel sometime this year. With a displacement of 1078 cc and a 2 valve per cylinder desmodromic air cooled engine, this bike is going to eat up some significant amount of miles on clear roads.

The engine will unleash 100 horses at 7500 rpm and 103 Nm of torque at 6000 rpm. The Ducati Monster Diesel comes with the inhibitive price tag of Rs 7 lakh.

With such depressing numbers on the diesel superbike front, one can only wonder if diesel based superbikes will ever be a priority for companies such as Suzuki, Hero, Honda, Kawasaki etc.

With the current trend in petrol price hike, majority of the 4 wheeler companies have already started introducing diesel based variants into the market in full swing. So the question arises: why is there no similar response in the two-wheeler segment?


Photographs: Ducati.co.in

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One of the most common reasons for the non-existence of popular diesel based superbikes is that diesel engines are comparatively more expensive than petrol engines. Another reason is that diesel engines need to be fuel injected, which is a technology that is not only expensive but is also relatively new and undergoing constant development. Diesel based bikes also tend to lower maximum RPM ranges. This means that in terms of acceleration, the bike won't have the same performance as a petrol based engine. They are also less eco-friendly and because of the engine composition, have higher levels of vibrations.

Despite all these disadvantages, diesel bikes are still the future for the fuel conscious bike enthusiast. Despite a higher initial investment, diesel bikes tend to save your wallet in the long run. And if you're one of those people, who need to get that feeling of being astride an engine that's 'alive with the thrum of power' then diesel based bikes are the ones for you.

Hopefully the Indian two-wheeler market will be hit with this realisation soon and we'll see some more options in the superbike segment.


Photographs: Ducati.co.in
Tags: RPM , India

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