Royal Enfield will launch its highly-anticipated Thunderbird 350X and 500X on Feb 28, 2018. The new Thunderbird variants had been spied towards the end of 2017 and RE will finally take the wraps off these motorcycles in less than a week from now.
The new Thunderbird variants are likely to share the engine and gearbox with the standard Thunderbird range. However, there are multiple changes that set it apart from the regular model, such as the new handlebar and seats. The bikes stand with black alloy wheels shod with tubeless tyres and the engine gets a matte black finish instead of silver. The exhaust and suspension will also get a similar matte black look. The headlamp and tail-lamp are the same units as the standard model, replete with an LED daytime running light and an LED tail-lamp as well.
Making a re-entry into the RE fold (after the long-gone Fury) are alloy wheels and the new Thunderbirds get 9-spoke blacked-out units. Given its expected ‘younger’ target audience, it would be interesting to see if the bike maker has opted for a smaller (and uniform; the present Thunderbird runs a 19-inch front/18-inch rear) 18-inch front wheel to boost its handling, especially in the urban context. Disc brakes will be standard at the front and rear although ABS is unlikely to be offered – the first Royal Enfields to feature ABS will be the Interceptor/Continental GT 650 twins.
The 350X sports identical visual and ergonomic revisions as the 500X. It gets a blacked-out headlight dome with an LED daytime running lamp and is also equipped with a new, shorter handlebar (as opposed to the ape hangers on the regular Thunderbird). The digi-analogue twin-pod instrument cluster also gets the blacked-out treatment with a chrome garnish around the dials. A major change is the all-new seat, a single-piece unit – unlike the split seat on the regular Thunderbird – which looks modern and in-tune with the rest of the motorcycle’s appeal. Interestingly, the pillion seat on the X doesn’t get a backrest. The grab rail is also a noteworthy feature – it is neatly integrated next to the pillion seat and ends in the tail-lamp unit. Also finished in matte black are the exhaust and the telescopic fork, as well as the top and bottom ends of the dual shock absorbers.
The Thunderbird 350X will be available in red and white (fuel tanks only – everything else is uniform, on both variants) while the 500X will be available in a bright yellow as well as blue. Keeping with the Royal Enfield tradition, more colour options are expected to make their way to this range, over time. While the launch details are yet to be revealed, we expect the X variants to be priced at a slight premium over the existing Thunderbirds – which are currently priced at Rs 1.48 lakh (350) and Rs 1.90 lakh (500; all prices ex-showroom, Mumbai). Given the changes on offer, we expect to see a price increment of around Rs 5,000 over the existing models.