Ernie Dorsett's Diesel Motorcycles


For those of you who have not heard of Ernie Dorsett, here are a few words and pictures which will no doubt enlighten you as to this man's contribution to the world of the Diesel Powered Motorcycle. After I first contacted him he kindly supplied me with a list of the Diesel powered machines he has had a hand in building over the years along with a few details of each.

Sadly, Ernie passed away on tuesday the 24th of October at 17.00Hrs in Telford Hospital. He will be missed by all who knew him here.

To celebrate the life of Ernie Dorsett and his pioneering work on diesel bikes, friends of Ernie's met for a 40 mile a ride-out on Sunday 22nd April. Starting and finishing on top of Portsdown at the Churchillian pub, we rode inland to the scenic 272 and had lunch at a pub there. The weather was perfect and the ride almost without incident. In the end three diesels took part in the runout.

Many thanks to Peter Henshaw for organising this and all his friends for turning up at the pub. Thanks to Dave for coming down all the way from Essex, his wife for the support (she drove their camper van) and Jeff and Shelley.


In all Ernie has had a hand in producing 152 Diesel Motorcycles.They are as follows:

125 Robin Royal Enfield's (unconfirmed)

12 Robin Matchless.

11 Robin MZ.

1 Robin A.J.S.

1 Ruggerini MZ.

1 Ruggerini Harris Matchless.

1 Petter Ambassador.

Below are the pictures Ernie supplied along with a few brief details:



This is the first machine built by Ernie. The engine is by Petter. More details can be found on this bike elsewhere on the site.

A fine picture of the Royal Enfield that held the world economy record. It is in the Guinness Book of Records.

Sadly it was totally destroyed in the fire at the National Motorcycle Museum some years back.

Here we have a shot of the A.J.S. Robin. This is the machine currently used by Ernie. It has done many trips abroad.
This machine is the Harris Matchless and ports a 650cc Ruggerini Twin with a Comet Automatic Drive. It now lives in Denmark.
Here we have an example of the Matchless with a Robin engine. This machine was built around 2001 and now lives on the Isle of White.

This Matchless Robin won Special of the year award at a London show in 1989.

Four Matchless Robins lined up at the Northwest 200 in Northern Ireland.
Here we see an MZ Robin fitted with a Comet Automatic Drive. This is the Prototype bike. 10 more of these were later built.
This machine is an MZ with Comet Drive. It may well now be in Germany.

This is one of Ernies favourites, an off road Robin engined Royal Enfield.

Here we see a small capacity (250cc) Simpson scooter built for Gert Engemann in Germany.

And finally we have two pictures of Ernie with the Matchless Robin on the road in Finland.

Outside the Churchillian Pub, Portsmouth.

From the left, Myself, Jeff, Peter and Dave.

Parked up for Lunch!

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