Building on the legacy of the Thunderbird, Royal Enfield motorcycles on Wednesday launched the Thunderbird X – a new factory-built, custom motorcycle that seeks to merge classic with contemporary vibes. At the press launch in New Delhi today, President Royal Enfield Rudratej (Rudy) Singh said the new bike has been thought through with customisation in mind given that the Thunderbird has always been very evocative among enthusiasts.
“Royal Enfield stands for unlocking exploration and we believe that our way of motorcycling has the ability to unlock a hidden explorer. What you see today is another rendition of unlocking the explorer that the Thunderbird has done that for over 18 years. What it did back then was that it had a lot of people who believed in the brand but wanted something more of a definitive highway cruiser coupled with everyday usability,” said Rudy.
While the Thunderbird X retains most of the features from the previous model – Thunderbird 350, 500 – the new motorcycle is slightly bolder in its appearance given its pop-up colour scheme matched to an overall blacked out theme. The Royal Enfield Thunderbird X will be available in four new colours: Getaway Orange and Drifter Blue for the Thunderbird 500X and Whimsical White and Roving Red for the Thunderbird 350X.
Thunderbird X will be available at Royal Enfield dealerships across all major cities. The Thunderbird 500X will be priced at Rs. 198,878 (ex-showroom Delhi) and the Thunderbird 350X will be priced at Rs. 156,849 (ex-showroom Delhi).
Speaking about the design philosophy behind the new Thunderbird X, Singh said the new motorcycle is nothing but the learnings of all of Royal Enfield users put together to unlock more of a Thunderbird kind of evocative acceptance. “Our segmentation is different from people. It’s a mindset we are after, we are selling motivations not necessarily only motorcycles,” he said.
Within that motivation, Singh says the Thunderbird X has taken a bolder take after the company learnt what consumers do when they buy a Thunderbird. “When they buy this product, they customise it,” said Singh, adding that “Royal Enfield wanted to make the custom feel available to more people without the effort.”
Singh strongly believes in the idea of self-expression, a concept Royal Enfield has always identified itself with. Decidedly, the new Thunderbird X aims to target youth who want to take self-expression to a new level. “Our segments are self-expression and exploration, and it cuts across age. Every time we do a Thunderbird X, it will unlock those fence-sitters who are waiting to move into choosing a product. So this is a product choice, but these people already believe in the brand, so this is just a nudge,” added Singh.
As is evident, the pop-out colour scheme and graphics has a slightly urban exploration angle to it. “Based on your personality, you could choose between various colour schemes. But I would still call it Thunderbird and its clearly a Thunderbird narrative. The role of Thunderbird hasn’t changed for 18 years and will not hopefully for 50 years.”
What has changed
In a first, the Thunderbird X comes with alloy wheels and tubeless tyres. It also gets a ‘gunslinger’ styled single seamless seat (the previous model has two separate seats) coupled with the new grab-rail and shortened rear mudguard. The motorcycle does sport a cleaner and less cluttered look and feel.
The blacked-out theme runs across components such as the silencer, front forks, side covers, headlamp cover, indicators and grab-rail. What users will also notice is that the colour of the tank is coordinated with other elements like the stitching on the seat and rim-tapes on the wheels. A significant change, however, is the new flat handlebar, which has been dropped lower to give a more aggressive, and confident riding stance. The earlier Thunderbird sports a typical cruiser handlebar. “There are slight ergonomic changes to the handlebar which will make a lot of difference and it has given a slightly urban angularity to riding as well,” Singh said.
In terms of pricing, both the new motorcycles are expensive by around Rs 8,000 than the previous Thunderbird 350 and 500 cc.
What has not
The drive train of the Thunderbird X is exactly identical to the older Thunderbird 350 and 500 cc motorcycles. No changes here. Also, users get the same standard front and rear disc brakes as in previous models.
HERE ARE THE SPECS
The Thunderbird X will be powered by Royal Enfield’s Unit Construction Engine (UCE). While the 500X is propelled by a single cylinder, air cooled, 499cc engine fed by an electronic fuel injection system which produces maximum power of 27.2 bhp at 5250 rpm and generates 41.3 Nm torque at 4000 rpm, the 350X comes with a single cylinder, air cooled, twinspark, 346cc engine which produces a maximum power of 19.8 bhp at 5250 rpm and generates a maximum Torque of 28 Nm at 4000 rpm.
Outlining the company’s pricing strategy, Singh said, “Our philosophy on price is part of a larger strategy of being authentic and accessible. We don’t necessarily want to do something which is authentic and appealing, but not accessible. We don’t have to make a killing on everything. I believe this will go down well with the new franchise.”
The Thunderbird X goes on sale today onwards.