by NR INDRAN / INT
Highway cruising gets a new definition with the launch of the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 today. Perhaps one of the most anticipated models from the Royal Enfield stable, Thunderbird 500 is poised to enhance the pleasure of leisure motorcycling amongst the touring enthusiasts. Combining distinctive “black” styling with a powerful 500cc Unit Construction Engine, 27.2 bhp power output being fed through an electronic fuel injection system and 41.3 Nm torque built in for very accessible power- the Thunderbird 500 makes a distinct statement on the Indian roads.
Launching the Thunderbird 500, Mr Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO Eicher Motors Ltd. said, “When we launched Thunderbird in 2002, it was a one-of-its kind motorcycle on the Indian roads that redefined the cruiser segment. Over the years, the Thunderbird brand has built its own cult following amongst Royal Enfield customers, as a comfortable touring motorcycle. Today, with the launch of the Thunderbird 500 with its unique 360-degree design language and its higher powered engine that has our signature flat torque curve, Royal Enfield has again upped the ante in leisure motorcycling. With touring enthusiasts forming the core of our customer base, the Thunderbird 500 gives them more power, comfort and style for long-distanceriding.”
“To complete the Royal Enfield range of highway cruisers, today we are also launching the all new Thunderbird 350 that rides on the same design principle as that of the Thunderbird 500”, he further added.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Venki Padmanabhan, CEO, Royal Enfield said, “Royal Enfield has set its sights firmly on delivering traditionally progressive motorcycles around the world. We listened very closely to the needs of highway cruisers in India and designed a motorcycle that is extremely suitable for long distance riding with its range, ergonomics, looks, excellent braking, night riding visibility, luggage carriage capability, even clothing and accessories. We hope that with the Thunderbird500, our customers will see affirmation of the fact that Royal Enfield is a company bent on listening, imagining and delivering.”
The Thunderbird 500 is characterized by a360 degree unique design language that comprises the visual appeal of the bike. With an overall black theme, the Thunderbird 500 comes in three distinct shades- Stone, understated matte finish and rugged texture capturing the effortless strength of the legend; Flicker, blackest of blacks which stays pure forever and is a fitting tribute to the rider’s spirit; and Twilight, an inspired blue-black finish that stands for the rider who stays steady under the changing skies. The ‘black’ engine with machined fins gleams with the black- chrome-steel finish, adding to the timeless appeal while the raised graphics on the motorcycle add to its aura. And these are just a few of the several styling elements that characterize the motorcycle! The unique LED ringendowed headlamp and LED tail lamps become distinct signifiers of the bike fromboth the front and rear approach. The 55W projector lamps deliver white light differentiating it from the multitude of bikes yellowing the road. With an equally powered low and high beam, the lights address the biggest challenge of night time visibility faced by most motorcyclists while cruising on the highway. Add to this, the large 20L fuel tank that gives the bike its muscular look and does away with the need to stop frequently for fuel. With a range of over 500 kilometres* in a tank full, the Thunderbird 500 ensures that the rider enjoys a less interrupted ride.
The design of the Thunderbird 500 is simultaneous to its function. For instance, the seat has been designed to suit the new foot pegs position. It also opens using a lock mechanism, accessible through the side panel. True to its concept as a more “touring friendly” motorcycle, the separately mounted pillion seat can be removed to accommodate luggage. The high rise handlebars have been designed for optimal reach and ergonomics. Coupled with the forward placed foot pegs and a low seat height enable the rider to cover distances comfortably for longer periods of time. The pillion grab rail is an all new pressure die cast component and lends to the modern design of the motorcycle. Bungee hooks provide the much needed bungee points to tie luggage. Other small styling elements that a keen enthusiast will notice include the all new foot-pegs with the Royal Enfield logo and the new design mirrors.
The redesigned front end with its 41mmthick forks, augment handling besides adding to the muscularity of the Thunderbird 500. The instrumentation also includes a gorgeous backlit blue LCD display with two independent trip meters, allowing riders to keep a track of total trip mileage as well as intermediate mileage between tankfulls. The speed and engine rpm are shown via tastefully designed analogue clocks, housed in all new twin pods at the front.
Since the ultimate highway cruising experience cannot be devoid of safety, the Thunderbird 500 is equipped with innovative features that ensure safety of both the rider and the bike. The mainignition lock on the Thunderbird 500 also functions as a central steering lock. The inclusion of hazard lamps in the switch gear is a first for a motorcycle manufactured in India. To complete the package, stopping power has been aided with the addition of a disc brake at the rear, mounted on the new improved oval section swing arm.
With the Thunderbird 500, Royal Enfield also introduced the all new Thunderbird 350. Built on the same design philosophy as that of the Thunderbird 500, the Thunderbird 350 comes in the Flicker and Twilight colour variants. Equipped with most of the features of the new Thunderbird 500, apart from the EFI, and the capability to cover over600 kilometres* in a 20L tank full; the Thunderbird 350 provides its loyalists with an unmatchable highway cruising experience.
Thunderbird 500 is available at Rs 1, 82,571/- (on road price for Mumbai) and the Thunderbird 350 is available at Rs 1, 43,346/- (on road price for Mumbai).
Royal Enfield also launched a range of well crafted, meticulously detailed, purpose built motorcycle gear with the new Thunderbird500. Designed and developed specifically in the context of our riding conditions, our customers and our bikes, the Royal Enfield accessories both add flair and enhance the riding experience. The inaugural “BLACK” range of merchandise, celebrating the launch of the Thunderbird 500 includes bike rapparel and riding gear.
The highlights include flagship riding jackets in leather and high density nylon. The design details of the jackets takes into account the rider’s comfort as well as the safety with CE approved impact absorption protectors that pass the stringent European norms of EN1621. In addition, there is ample usage of 3M Scotch lite reflective piping and branding for high visibility during night rides. The all weather high density nylon riding jacket with breathable and waterproof membrane provides rain proofing, while the removable thermal lining takes care of cold weather riding and nylon mesh on the outer shell keeps the rider cool during summer rides.
The apparel range also includes riding denims, for the first time in Indian motorcycling history. Made from high performance denim with TOUGH MAX™ LYCRA® Fabric twice as strong as comparable 100% cotton jeans, these fabrics withstand the rigors of everyday wear and tear and return to its original shape even after repeated wear. Additionally these denims have removable CE protectors at hip and knees which makes riding a breeze. For those who ride to work, the riding jeans is also practical enough to be worn there after. The high density, abrasion resistant nylon riding pants also has protective features in addition to a re-engineered cotton lining that keeps the rider cool during summers.
The Royal Enfield riding gear comprises of CE certified Modular eye wear with ‘anti fog’ treatment and 100% genuine UV protection and many added features for riding, in association with NANNINI from Italy and multipurpose headwear from original Buff from Spain. A range of open and full faced helmets in association with world renowned AGV helmets adds to the style quotient.
The riding gear also includes motorcycle boots with duallacing and zipper puller and heavy duty oil and water repellant soles for suregrip on the tarmac along with leather riding gloves with carbon fiber knuckles.
In addition, Royal Enfield tee shirts & Polos and logopin badges, are also a part of the collection.
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