The new Thunderbird variants come with alloy wheels, tubeless tyres, LED DRLs and new colours
Royal Enfield has launched two new bikes based on its existing Thunderbird platform. The Thunderbird 350X and Thunderbird 500X are models based on the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 and Thunderbird 500. The 350X, at Rs 1.56 lakh (ex-showroom), commands a premium of of Rs 7,000 over its standard variant. The 500X costs Rs 1.98 lakh (ex-showroom), a Rs 8,000 premium over its current model.
While the Thunderbird 350 and 500 are touring bikes, the 350X and 500X are designed more for the street. For starters, they ditch the wide handlebars for a shorter unit and get new 9-spoke alloy wheels in place of the spoked ones on the standard variants. This has allowed Royal Enfield to put on tubeless tyres on the bikes, which should improve ride quality. Cosmetic enhancements include LED DRL headlamp, blacked-out fork tubes, side panel and exhaust, and four bright new colours: blue and red for the 500X and orange and yellow for the 350X. The seat now is a single-piece affair as opposed to the split units on the stock Thunderbird.
Mechanically, both bikes remain unchanged. The Thunderbird 350X gets the same 346cc air-cooled, single-cylinder motor that delivers 20PS and 28Nm of torque. The Thunderbird 500X comes with the 499cc air-cooled, single-cylinder motor that is good for 27.5PS and 41.3Nm of torque.
The single downtube frame on both bikes is suspended on 41mm telescopic forks at the front and twin gas-charged rear shock absorbers. Wheel sizes are the same as before: 90/90 R19 front and 120/80 R18 rear. Braking is via a 280mm front disc and a 240mm rear disc. They still do not get ABS.
The new models should do well in metros, particularly with younger riders thanks to their design and street presence. The Thunderbird 350X will go up against the Mahindra Mojo while the 500X will face competition from the Bajaj Dominar 400.