Did you know that Royal Enfield officially sold a diesel powered motorcycle called the Taurus for many years, well until the end of 2000? Launched in 1993, the diesel Bullet was quite popular in semi-urban and rural India, and many examples are still to be found in small towns in India, where the motorcycle even became the base for three wheeler people carriers. Here are 5 little known things about the ‘Diesel Bullet’ – a motorcycle that very few people know about.
It was the only ‘mass produced’ diesel motorcycle of India
Yes, the Royal Enfield Taurus was the only ‘mass produced’ diesel powered motorcycle that India has ever had. In fact, this applies to most other countries. No other diesel powered motorcycle was produced for as long as the Royal Enfield Taurus, and this applies to the number of Tauruses produced as well.
More efficient than a Splendor!
Gulp! Well, the Royal Enfield Taurus never gulped but only sipped. With a claimed fuel efficiency figure of 86 Kmpl, the motorcycle as more fuel efficient than even the Splendor. And in those days – when this motorcycle was in production – diesel used to cost almost the half as petrol. With very little running costs, the diesel Bullet was one of the most frugal motorcycles ever built.
But it has only 6.5 Bhp of peak power
And 15 Nm of peak torque. Powered by a 325 cc, Lombardini indirect injection, single cylinder diesel engine, the Royal Enfield Taurus was wheezy at best, with a 65 Kph top speed. And its 196 kilogram kerb weight – making it much heavier than the 168 kilogram 350 cc, petrol Bullet – didn’t help matters.
And it was produced even after Royal Enfield discontinued it!
Crazy, but true. Sooraj Tractors, a Punjab-based tractor maker produced the Royal Enfield Diesel Bullet (with slight stylistic changes) even after the company discontinued the Taurus. Such was the demand of this motorcycle from the hinterland, where fuel efficiency rules.
Smallest engined four stroke motorcycle built by Royal Enfield
Surprised? Well, the 325 cc displacement of the Greaves-Lombardini four stroke engine on the Taurus made it the smallest engined four stroke motorcycle built by Royal Enfield in India. The petrol Bullet used a 346 cc four stroke engine. Notably, while India knows this motorcycle as the ‘Diesel Bullet’, it’s real name is the Taurus!