• 2012 Royal Enfield Thunderbird


The most stylish, futuristic and technologically advanced Royal Enfield Thunderbird was launched in the year 2012. It had everything to impress the Royal Enfield fans and even those who are not fond of the motorcycle. The new Thunderbird 500 has all the modern touches in the motorcycle that was much needed so that it could cope up with its competitors from the modern era. The new Thunderbird has been equipped with more sophisticated Twin Spark unit and Royal Enfield successfully blended the classic look of the Thunderbird and added the modern touches to it simultaneously.

The Thunderbird 500 is powered by a 499cc, single cylinder, Twinspark, air cooled engine which generates 27.6 PS of maximum power at 5250 rpm and 41.3 Nm of maximum torque at 4000 rpm. The Thunderbird 500 also has Keihin electronic fuel injection in the Motorcycle. Let’s get to know some more details about this motorcycle.

  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder, Twinspark, air cooled
  • Transmission:
    5 speed constant mesh
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    27 @ 5250
  • Torque @ RPM:
    41 @ 4000
  • Energy:
    Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection
  • Displacement:
    499 cc
  • Top Speed:
    87 mph
  • Price:
    INR 157300


When one looks at the new Thunderbird 500 it may look like the old Thunderbird but once one looks minutely at the Motorcycle they will find lot of changes and modification has been made to the new Thunderbird. The front headlamp received a major change; the new Thunderbird has been fitted with a H7 55/55 W Projector headlamp with the BMW styled Halo around the headlamp. The instrument cluster looks stylish and soothing with the blue lit back-light display with a digital display which displays the odometer, tripmeter and fuel gauge. The chrome rings surrounding the instrument cluster enhances the look of the instrument cluster. The wide handlebar now has the Royal Enfield logo curved in the middle and looks classy, the switches and the plastic quality are of good quality too.

The most significant change that has been made in the Royal Enfield is its fuel tank. The fuel tank looks muscular with the Unique ‘Black’ styling and the 3D motifs. The seats are comfortable enough for long journeys after all it’s a cruiser and the rear split seats can be removed to carry luggage also. The rear tail lamps now gets a LED treatment too, the vertical LED tail lamp gives the rear of the Thunderbird an unique appeal. The most boring part of the new Thunderbird is its exhaust pipe although its tip has been covered with heat shield, this is a good safety measure adopted by Royal Enfield. The engine has been painted in black which makes the motorcycle looks more muscular and stylish.

The external Dimension of the Royal Enfield are as follows:

Wheelbase 1350mm
Ground Clearance 140mm
Length 2060mm
Width 790mm
Height 1205mm
Seat Height 775mm
Kerb Weight 195 Kgs
Fuel Capacity 20 Ltrs

Engine and performance

The Thunderbird 500 is powered by 499 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 4-stroke, twin-spark unit which also powers the Classic 500. The engine also has electronic fuel injection system and generates 27.6 PS of maximum power at 5250 rpm and 41.3 Nm of maximum torque at 4000 rpm, it has been mated with a 5 speed gearbox. Switch on the ignition and you will be greeted with the same Thump roar of the engine which sets the Royal Enfield apart from rest of the motorcycles on Indian roads, but the new engine is much more refined compared to the other engines of the Royal Enfield.

The Royal Enfield Thunderbird is a powerful Motorcycle and one can easily realize that with the flick of a throttle, there is plenty of power and torque available and the Motorcycle can be easily ridden in City traffic as well the highways without any complain. The Motorcycle claims to return good mileage also.

Type Single Cylinder 4stroke Twinspark Aircooled
Displacement 499 cc
Maximum Power 27.2 bhp
Maximum Torque 41.3 nm
gnition System Digital Electronic Ignition
Clutch Wetmulti-plate
Gearbox 5 Speed Constant Mesh
Lubrication Wet sump
Fuel Supply Keihin Electronic Fuel Injection
Air Cleaner Paper Element
Engine Start Electric Kick

Ride and handling

The Thunderbird 500 has been provided with Telescopic, 41mm forks, 130mm travel at the front and Twin gas charged shock absorbers with 5-step adjustable preload, 80mm travel at the rear as its suspension setup. The modern suspension setup works well on this cruiser and absorbs potholes and provides a comfortable and smooth ride.

The motorcycle has also been provided with 280 mm discs at the front and 240 mm at the rear which gives the cruiser some serious stopping power. The new Thunderbird is a improved motorcycle with comfortable riding posture, its wide handlebars and comfortable front seats makes long journeys less stressful and the improved and refined engine increases the confidence of the riders during long journeys.


The new Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 has been priced at RS. 1,57,300 (Ex-showroom) (Delhi).


The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 has no specific competitor for its segment which is a great advantage for Royal Enfield, but it does get some amount of competition from the recently launched
- Aquila pro 650

Which is powered by a 650 cc engine and generates more power than the Royal Enfield Thunderbird.The motorcycle is even costlier than the Thunderbird?


The new Thunderbird 500 is a much improved machine although it weighs 5 kg more than the existing motorcycle but still this new motorcycle handles much better than its predecessor. The Royal Enfield has taken a huge leap with the Thunderbird 500, they have created a modern machine with some retro elements and styling still intact on the Motorcycle, the cruiser handles extremely well on the straights and is stable even at high speeds.

If someone is looking for a cruiser and is a Royal Enfield fan then they should definitely give this Motorcycle.


“On the cusp of evolution, is what the new Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 is. And in being so, it is also the perfect precursor to things to come from the maker of the legendary Bullet”—Zigwheels.

  • Leave it
    • Expensive
    • Lack of color option

Source: Royal Enfield Thunderbird

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Press Release

Highway cruising gets a new definition with the launch of the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 today. Perhaps one of the most anticipated models from the Royal Enfield stable, Thunderbird 500 is poised to enhance the pleasure of leisure motorcycling amongst the touring enthusiasts. Combining distinctive “black” styling with a powerful 500cc Unit Construction Engine and a 27.2 bhp power output being fed through an electronic fuel injection system - the Thunderbird 500 makes a distinct statement on the Indian roads.

Launching the Thunderbird 500 at the 2012 Auto Expo, Mr Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO Eicher Motors Ltd. said, “When we launched Thunderbird in 2002, it was a one-of-its kind model on the Indian roads that redefined the cruiser segment. 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 motor cycling 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.”

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Venki Padmanabhan, CEO, Royal Enfield said, “Royal Enfield has set its sights firmly on delivering traditionally progressiv e motorcycles around the world- motorcycles that are practical; motorcycles that beg you to ride into a life of leisure. At this 11th Auto Expo in Delhi, we eagerly share the Thunderbird 500 with our customers , looking for the expression of delight. 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. We hope also that our customers will see this as a firm affirmation of the fact that Royal Enfield is a company bent on listening, imagining and delivering. We invite everyone coming to Pragati Maidan this January to visit us and experience the oldest motorcycle company in the world.”

The visual appeal of the Thunderbird 500 is marked by the ‘black’ engine, the first of the several styling elements that characterize 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.

The redesigned front end with its 41mm thick forks greatly improves handling besides adding to the muscularity of the Thunderbird 500. The instrumentation also includes two digital trip meters, allowing riders to keep a track of total trip mileage as well as i ntermediate mileage between tankfulls. The speed and engine rpm are shown via tastefully designed analogue clocks, housed in all new twin pods at the front. The main ignition lock also functions as a central steering lock. The inclusion of hazard lamps in the switch gear is a first for a motorcycle manufactured in India.

The new headlight with a 55W projector lamp for its low beam and a 55W halogen bulb for the high beam, addresses the biggest challenge of night time visibility faced by most motorcyclists while cruising on the highway. The lighting is at its brightest with the high beam on, working in combination with the projector lamp giving ample spread and penetration on the road. The high rise handlebars, forward placed foot-pegs and a low seat height enable a rider to cover distances comfortably for longer periods of time. Add to this, the large 20L fuel tank that does away with the need to stop frequently for fuel- highway cruising will no longer be the same! The tank cap is placed asymmetrically on the top right hand side of the tank, instead of the conventional central mounting; another distinctive styling element of the Thunderbird 500.

To complete the package, s topping power has been aided with the addition of a disc brake at the rear. The braking system is supplied by Bybre, a fully owned subsidiary of Brembo. It is mounted on the new improved oval section swing arm.

Royal Enfield also previewed a range of well crafted, meticulously detailed, purpose built motorcycle gear at the Auto Expo. Designed and developed indigenously, the Royal Enfield accessories both add flair and enhance the riding experience. On display is the inaugural “BLACK” range of merchandise, celebrating the launch of the Thunderbird 500 . The collection includes biker apparel, bike and riding accessories.

The highlights include flagship leather riding jackets with design details that take into account not just the rider’s comfort but also safety with CE approved impact absorption protectors that pass the stringent European norms of EN1621. In addition, there is ample usage of 3M Scotchlite reflective piping and branding at the back with Schoeller reflective for high visibility during night rides . The all weather high density nylon riding jacket wi th breathable and waterproof membrane provides rain proofing, while the removable thermal lining takes care of cold weather riding and nylon mesh on the outer shell keeps the rider cool during summer rides. Similar features are also on the riding pants with hip protectors adding to the rider’s safety. Also showcased are CE approved Modular eye wear with ‘anti fog’ treatment and 100% genuine UV protection and many added features for riding, in association with NANNINI from Italy, original Buff multipurpose headwear with safety reflectors from Spain, motorcycle utility luggage system with interlocking mechanism, back packs with EVA high density back support and state of the art air bag cushioning for the first time in India.

The Royal Enfield riding gear also includes motorcycle boots with dual lacing and zipper puller and heavy duty oil and water repellant sol es for sure grip on the tarmac, while head protection in association with world renowned AGV helmets adds to the style quotient. Fashionable protective
riding pants, for the first time in Indian motorcycling history, made from high abrasion resistant

Toughmax denim with T400 lycra from Invista with removable CE protectors at hip and knees makes riding a breeze. In addition, Royal Enfield tee shirts , logo pin badges, key chains, motorcycle clocks, leather riding gloves with carbon fiber knuckles are also previewed.

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