2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X, 350X launch on Feb 28

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Royal Enfield will launch its highly-anticipated Thunderbird 350X and 500X on Feb 28, 2018. The new Thunderbird variants had been snooped towards the end of 2017 and RE will finally take the wraps off these motorbikes in less than a week from now. The new Thunderbird variants are probable to share the gearbox and engine 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 exhaust and suspension will also get a comparable matte black look. The headlight 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.

Creation 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 probable ‘younger’ target spectators, 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 background. Disc brakes will be standard at the front and back although ABS is unlikely to be accessible – 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. Interestingly, the pillion seat on the X doesn’t get a backrest. The grab rail is also a striking feature – it is neatly combined 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 color options are expected to make their way to this range, over time. While the launch details are yet to be revealed, we assume the X variants to be valued 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 increase of around Rs.5, 000 over the existing models.