Friday, October 12, 2012

Royal Enfield Thunderbird: Its looks can cook

Royal Enfield's new Thunderbird 500 rides with style.
Royal Enfield introduced its new Thunderbird 500 motorcycle in India yesterday. It's an immense development there.

In India the Royal Enfield Thunderbird — a highly styled, laid back cruiser based on the Bullet — is a cult vehicle on a par with the Ford Mustang in America.

This new Thunderbird has a ready audience in India, anxious to buy it. In the rest of the world the reaction might be that it doesn't look like enough like a vintage British motorcycle. True.

It's available in three shades of black — none of them British Racing Green.

Here's a short video by Royal Enfield Media that tells you everything you need to know.

The format, pairing Thunderbird designer Siva with an attractive woman interviewer, says much in and of itself. This motorcycle is a fashion statement. "Sarah" looks great on it but, then, she looks pretty good off it, too.

Your results may vary.

One only-in-India note: here is a highly-styled motorcycle for which its designer proudly claims exceptional range.

You may as well demand to know if Sarah can cook. Her culinary skills are of no importance to this video.

Similarly, the Thunderbird's 20-liter fuel tank (more than five gallons), with its offset filler cap, likely contributes more to the attention the motorcycle gets in the city than the distances it will swallow across the subcontinent.


  1. Sigh. The design is so non-descript now that it's completely lost all character. Not interested.

  2. Have to agree with the previous post. Bland. Boring. I know things have to change but, a set of iffy 70's style handle bars and a back rest doesn't make a cruiser let alone drag a classic bike into the 21 st century.
    Saying that, you build for you're market.
    Hay ho

  3. It's not bland. It's just as hideous as the Thunderbird has ever been. (Maybe a little more bland this time around, OK. But that's like saying this puke milkshake is a little better because it has fewer chunks than the last one I had.)

    Trying for a look it's never been able to achieve and shouldn't try to. Only thing worse than this in Enfield-world are the Punjabi Orange County Chopper 350cc wannabees.

    I do kind of like the rear disc brake and stout-er fork from a functional standpoint. But then again, I don't, because...why bother?

  4. I rode the T'bird 500 on Saturday, and while I was not expecting to like it, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

    RE has improved EVERYTHING - the brakes, horn, suspension, handling, etc. And to top it, you feel like you're going on a trip because of the fact that the console is always somewhere around the middle of your vision.

    The downside is the sound, which is very tame, for which they're bringing an aftermarket exhaust in a couple of months; but this being said, it's a touring bike, not a classic bullet.

    In my opinion, it's a superb step taken by the company to move into the 21st century - the classic bikes will always continue, but the new bikes will add another dimension. I guess sort of like how the Bonneville exists alongside the Speed Triple.

  5. have never personally liked the proportions of the T bird. But looks aside i think it is a decent bike to ride. would i buy one? NO.
    But they did the classic and that one was really good. i can see that they are just trying to expand the market and build a range. there will be a good amount of buyers for it too.
    I am just hoping that the parallel twin they bring out is based on the more classic design than this cruiser gimmick.


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