Royal Enfield launches Thunderbird 500

Autocar India
First Published: 13:06 IST(7/11/2012)
Last Updated: 13:44 IST(5/12/2012)
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Royal Enfield first launched its Thunderbird cruiser in 2002. And the latest variant of the Thunderbird 500 was first seen at this yearfs Indian Auto Expo. Wefve recently ridden the latest Tfbird on the Bangalore-Ooty highway to bring you this first impression.

An immediately visible change is a new headlight featuring a projector lamp. Stylish new instruments display an analogue speedometer and tachometer, with a digital display including a clock also in place. The new grips feel decent and both control levers have a solid, meaty feel to them. A hazard warning switch is standard, making for a Royal Enfield first.

The fuel tank is larger, well-proportioned with its filler lid offset at the top. And you now have the option of removing the pillion seat to increase luggage room. The 500 also gets a revised exhaust, LED tail-lamp and RE logos for its foot pegs.

The latest Thunderbird borrows its 499cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled and four-stroke engine from the Classic 500. The large capacity engine belts out a trademark Royal Enfield thump. Therefs ample low and mid-range power, but peak power output at 27.2bhp could be more, given such a large capacity engine. The Tfbird 500 is good for a top speed of 130kph, but feels best when cruising at speeds of between 80-100kph. A five-speed gearbox shifts in the one-down, four-up pattern.

The riding saddle is comfortable, and the riderfs footpegs have been shifted forward, making for a more comfortable cruising experience.

The Tfbird 500 employs a single downtube frame, with an oval-section swingarm used at rear. Therefs also a 240mm disc brake at rear, working with a 280mm single front disc for improved stopping power.

Royal Enfield has priced the new Thunderbird 500 at Rs. 1,82,571 (on-road, Mumbai). See the first ride report in our shortly releasing Nov 2012 issue for more details.


Price                         Rs. 1,65,708 (Ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Fuel                          Petrol
Type                         Single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke, 499cc
Power                      27.2bhp at 5250rpm
Torque                     4.17kgm at 4000rpm
Power to weight       139.5bhp per tonne
Gearbox                   5-speed, 1-down, 4-up
Length                       2060mm
Width                       790mm
Height                       1205mm
Wheel base                1350mm
Ground clearance       140mm
Chassis & Body
Weight   195kg
Wheels                       Wire spoke
Tyres                         90/90x19 inches(f), 120/80x18 inches (r)
Front                         Telescopic forks
Rear                          Dual gas-charged shocks, oval section swingarm
Front                         280mm disc
Rear                          240mm disc
Tank size                  20 litres

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