One of the most anticipated models from the Royal Enfield stable, Thunderbird 500, made its debut at the 2012 Auto Expo at New Delhi's Pragati Maidan, sporting a powerful 500cc unit construction engine and fed through an electronic fuel injection system.
''When we launched Thunderbird in 2002, it was a one-of-its kind model on the Indian roads that redefined the cruiser segment, said Siddhartha Lal, MD and CEO Eicher Motors Ltd at the launch of the Thunderbird 500 at the 2012 Auto Expo. "With the long running success of Thunderbird 350, the Thunderbird brand has built its own cult following amongst the Royal Enfield customers, as a comfortable touring motorcycle."
"Today, with the launch of the Thunderbird 500, fitted with the UCE and a host of design enhancements, Royal Enfield has again upped the ante in leisure motorcycling, which we have been pioneering for over half a century in India. With touring enthusiasts forming the core of our customer base, the Thunderbird 500 gives them more power, comfort and style for long-distance riding.''
The visual appeal of the Thunderbird 500 is marked by the 'black' engine, the first of the several styling elements that characterise the motorcycle. The seat has been completely redesigned to suit the new foot pegs position. It now opens using a lock mechanism, accessible through the side panel. True to its design concept as a more ''touring friendly'' motorcycle, the separately mounted pillion seat can be removed to accommodate luggage.
The handle bar too has received changes for better reach and ergonomics. 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 Royal Enfield logo on the all new foot-pegs, new design mirrors and the LED tail lamp.
Dr Venki Padmanabhan, CEO, Royal Enfield said, ''Royal Enfield has set its sights firmly on delivering traditionally progressive motorcycles around the world- motorcycles that are practical; motorcycles that beg you to ride into a life of leisure. We listened very closely to the needs of highway cruisers in India and covered improvements on a variety of fronts – range, ergonomics, looks, braking, night riding visibility, luggage carriage capability, even clothing and accessories.''