Royal Enfield in India was the only motorcycle maker to manufacture this motorcycles on a large scale. However, in India, we had two models of Diesel motorcycles. One was Taurus and other was Sooraj. Due to the pollution notices and other issues, both the models were not involved in the production cycle for a long term. With a poor power to weight ratio, those were not suited for motorcycling culture.
The Difference Between Taurus and Sooraj Motorcycles
Taurus was produced by the English-born Royal Enfield motorcycles. It claims to be the only Diesel bike to be mass produced in the World. Taurus was available in 325 and 436cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke engine borrowed from the Greaves Lombardini of Italy. This particular engine was developed in the 1980s when NATO forces standardize Diesel engines in Europe for the War Forces. The Taurus model was equipped with 12 V electric starter, 14.5 litre fuel tank and 18:1 compression ratio which is common to both the variants. The engine meshes with a 4-speed gearbox for optimum power transmission. The bike is no longer produced in India or any other countries. Still, many unofficial sources are claiming that, Royal Enfield is planning to bring back Diesel powered motorcycles onto the roads in near future.
Like the petrol driven bullets, this one too faced many technical and environmental issues. The vibrations of this machine were way too high so that, it even resulted in many health issues. Although, people do treat it as an antique motorcycle and not much bothered about the mechanical problems. Maintenance and servicing of such motorbikes are tedious tasks from the past to present days. The scarcity of spare parts seems to be a nightmare for all vintage bikes including Taurus Bullet. Even though odds like environmental issues, health, maintenance and riding comfort all are against these Diesel bullets, it still manages to surprise everyone at the pre-owned or seconds sale market
On the other hand Sooraj Diesel Engine Motorcycle was developed by Saharanpur based Sooraj Automobiles, also used the Lombardini 325cc diesel engine with Royal Enfield gearbox for their model. Unlike Taurus, it was not mass produced. The company promoted their brand by claiming a fuel efficiency over 80kmpl and low price. Afterall, Sooraj is the first motorcycle in the country to feature an electric start, but it all depends on how good is your battery on the day. Kick starting a Sooraj Bullet or even Taurus requires some skill and patience. A careless kick starting may hurt your ankles or it may break your bones. Valve lifter in the engine makes it easier when kick starting. By raising the valve lifter, the exhaust valve opens up which helps to overcome the resistance generated inside the cylinder.
Vibrations are one of the inseparable parts of Diesel Motorcycles. At idle condition, the bike often produces a slight amount of vibrations and it gets reduces as the motorcycle starts to move on. People often claim that it is a boring motorcycle with least power and high amount of vibration. But a proud owner of Sooraj Diesel motorcycle would not admit this fact. The thing is, it a Diesel motorcycle with a maximum power of 6.5 bhp[ and 200 kg of weight.