Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X and 500X Launched
- Feb 28, 2018
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The swanky cruiser never gets old thanks to its modern design and practical features. However, Royal Enfield felt that there is scope to offer a custom-inspired derivative of the Thunderbird for a more urban-centric audience; and thus, the Thunderbird X range was born. So, what makes the X range stand apart from the normal variant? Let’s find out.
Wheels & Tyres:
The most talked-about change is the inclusion of alloy wheels wrapped with tubeless tyres in the X range. This combination is a first for a modern Royal Enfield, and we’d say better late than never! Both the 350 and the 500cc variants come with black 9-spoke alloy wheels and colour-coordinated rim stickers. The rim size for both the standard and X variants of the 350 & 500cc models are the same: a 19-incher at the front and the rear measuring 18 inches.
Even the tyre sizes are identical, with the front end wearing 90/90 rubber and the rear riding on a 120/80 section tyre. However, the main difference lies in the fact that the X twins use tubeless units. These tyres can handle punctures much better than tubed ones, but need different tools to mend in case of a puncture.
The overall design language of the Thunderbird X has remained more or less unchanged compared to the standard model. But the X range get a black-themed bodywork with contrasting colour options for the 20-litre fuel tank. The side panels, fenders, suspension, nacelles of the lighting system; powertrain and exhaust are all draped in black. They give a stealthy undertone to the motorcycle. The 350cc variant comes in Roving Red and Whimsical White, while the 500cc version gets Getaway Orange and Drifter Blue colour options.
The regular Thunderbird twins come with chromed-out bezels for the lighting system and instrument cluster. There’s chrome on the exhaust, utility box and tool box as well. But the powertrain comes in a matte-black finish. The fenders and the bodywork are colour-coded, though, and the available colours are Stone, Marine, Lightning, Flicker and Asphalt for both the 350 and 500cc variants.
The Thunderbird range is popular for being a feature-packed product. The shorter, blacked-out handlebar on the X range results in a leaned-in riding stance when compared to the laid-back ergonomics of the mini ape-hangers in the regular Thunderbird. Adding to the sportier feel is the new ‘Gunslinger’ single-piece seat. The seat has an interesting attention to detail with colour-matching stitching. The relatively firmer cushioning of the seat makes this bike more suitable for the urban environment.
In the pursuit of minimalistic sportiness, the X range does away with the highly practical grabrails with cushioned backrest. Instead, the bikes come with split and blacked out grab handles. However, this type of grab handles enhances the design flow at the rear. Another change is the inclusion of round rear-view mirrors in place of the oval mirrors which actually offers better visibility. The handlebar grip pattern is also different from the regular variant. The instrumentation has all the features that the normal version comes with. Disappointingly, Royal Enfield has excluded the hazard lamp function in the X range. The bike does sport a projector headlamp with an LED DRL, and LED tail light like its regular counterpart, though.
When it comes to the spec-sheet, both the standard and the X variants have the same figures. The 346cc single-cylinder twin spark mill with air cooling is good for 20.07PS coming in at 5,250rpm. A peak torque of 28Nm arrives at 4,000rpm. Its elder brother features a 499cc air-cooled twin spark engine with fuel injection. The powerplant punches out 27.5PS and 41.3Nm at the same respective revs as the 350cc version. Both the engine variants work in conjunction with a 5-speed gearbox.
The 41mm telescopic forks and the twin gas-charged shock absorbers offer the same amount of travel on both variants- at 130mm and 80mm respectively. Interestingly, there is no weight difference between the X and the standard model. The 350cc motorcycle tips the scale at 195kg, kerb; and the 500cc version of both the variants weigh 197kg, kerb. All the variants use a 280mm front disc with double-piston callipers, and a 240mm rear disc with a single-piston calliper. Royal Enfield has still not offered ABS for any of the models.
At an ex-showroom, Delhi, price of Rs 1.98 lakh, the Thunderbird 500X is Rs 13,000 dearer than its standard counterpart. The price difference for the Thunderbird 350 and the 350X stands at Rs 10,000, ex-showroom Delhi.
For the extra moolah, you get a trendy urban cruiser without losing the core values - practicality and mile-munching ability - that the Thunderbird stand for.
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