Motorcycles

X marks Royal Enfield’s fresh take on the Thunderbird

X marks Royal Enfield’s fresh ...
The Thunderbird X attempts to breathe new life to Royal Enfield's Thunderbird series
The Thunderbird X attempts to breathe new life to Royal Enfield's Thunderbird series
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The Thunderbird X attempts to breathe new life to Royal Enfield's Thunderbird series
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The Thunderbird X attempts to breathe new life to Royal Enfield's Thunderbird series
The 2018 Thunderbird X brings cast alloy wheels and tubeless tires for the first time ever in a Royal Enfield motorcycle
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The 2018 Thunderbird X brings cast alloy wheels and tubeless tires for the first time ever in a Royal Enfield motorcycle
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X features a new set of lower, sportier handlebars
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X features a new set of lower, sportier handlebars
The white color is reserved only for the 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X
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The white color is reserved only for the 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X will probably appeal to younger riders
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X will probably appeal to younger riders
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X in Drifter Blue color
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X in Drifter Blue color
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X in Roving Red color
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X in Roving Red color
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X in Whimsical White color
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X in Whimsical White color
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X in Getaway Orange color
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X in Getaway Orange color
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X retains the modern headlight of the standard model
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X retains the modern headlight of the standard model
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X employs a new saddle
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X employs a new saddle
The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X sports LED rear lights
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The 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird X sports LED rear lights
View gallery - 12 images

Royal Enfield is introducing a new version of the Thunderbird, featuring a thorough makeover for both the 350 and 500 cc variants of the classic-looking cruiser. The new Thunderbird X sets its sights on the trending factory custom segment, in an apparent effort to appeal to a younger demographic.

For a motorcycle manufacturer that has been producing and selling one and only model for almost six decades, the introduction of two new engine platforms during the last two years – the 2016 LS410 with the Himalayan, and the 650 twins in 2017 – has been nothing short of a roller coaster.

Since 1955, the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 and 500 built its own market niche and attracted a loyal global following, mainly due to the fact that it had remained practically unchanged until 1995. Then the Indian company started introducing updates in order to keep up with legal requirements and growing competition, in a gradual process that included moving the gear shifter to the left side, adding electronic ignition and disc brakes, and culminating in the 2007 Unit Construction Engine (UCE) that was still rooted on the original 1955 design but incorporated more modern amenities like electric starter, integrated five-speed gearbox and fuel injection.

The white color is reserved only for the 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X
The white color is reserved only for the 2018 Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X

The first new model from Royal Enfield would only arrive in 2002, and it was a cruiser version of the Bullet. In typical style, the Thunderbird didn't get any major updates for another 10 years, until 2012 when it received the UCE engine. By now it was essentially a Bullet with a larger fuel tank, longer front suspension and a styling shift from a 1950s British roadster to an American 1970s cruiser.

Today Royal Enfield supports the standard Bullet with a long list of spinoffs that include eight Classic variants, the Continental GT café racer and, of course, the Thunderbird. The latest addition to this model family is the Thunderbird X, which features no mechanical changes compared to the existing model.

The UCE single four-stroke produces 19.8 hp (14.8 kW) and 27.2 hp (20.3 kW) in the 350 and 500 cc versions respectively, tasked with moving a mass of 197 kg (434.3 lb). Frame, suspensions and brakes are the same as the ones used in the standard Thunderbird models.

The 2018 Thunderbird X brings cast alloy wheels and tubeless tires for the first time ever in a Royal Enfield motorcycle
The 2018 Thunderbird X brings cast alloy wheels and tubeless tires for the first time ever in a Royal Enfield motorcycle

The transition to the Thunderbird X involves a blacked-out paint scheme, a new saddle, and new handlebars that place the rider's hands a bit lower for a sportier posture. The biggest news is the application of cast alloy wheels and tubeless tires for the first time ever in a Royal Enfield motorcycle.

As for the colorful 20-l (5.3-gal) fuel tanks, these will come in four vibrant, youthful colors; orange and blue for the 500, red and white for the 350.

Royal Enfield is already accepting orders, although there's no word on actual delivery dates. In India the Thunderbird 500X will retail for US$3,050, while the 350X will go for $2,400.

Source: Royal Enfield

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2 comments
Imran Sheikh
i would prefer the original Thunderbird since it has single color theme..
DavidRogerBrown
Hopefully with Royal Enfield's lower price & simplicity will attract new.younger riders into the sport. That the industry really needs to continue to exist. Royal Enfield has made huge improvements in quality & reliability in the last ten years. Of course,tens of millions of Asians still buy motorcycles as their basic mode of transportation.