Emission standards can’t steal RE’s thunder.
Royal Enfield has been busy lately. This week alone, the company made headlines with its Make Your Own customization program featuring a blacked-out Classic 350 and rumors that it may discontinue the production of 500cc models soon. Well, it doesn’t seem like the India-based manufacturer is done making waves as it prepares to reveal details of its next BS6-compliant model—the Thunderbird.
Back in July of this year, we got our first glimpse of the redesigned Thunderbird with a spy video captured on the roadways of Chennai. Based on the video, it seems like the 2020 version of the baby cruiser will feature a reshaped gas tank and side covers along with a shortened rear fender.
Aside from the bodywork, the Thunderbird should share the same BS6-compliant motor that the Classic 350 just received. In addition to a slight bump in displacement and power, the new engine could also see the implementation of fuel injection. Though fuel injection came standard on the 500cc variant of the Thunderbird, if Royal Enfield scraps the half-liter segment from its range, the feature would further help emissions efforts on the 350cc models.
While emissions standards drive the engineering forward, the Indian company also focused its efforts on improving the ride comfort of the cruiser. The spy images also hinted that the Thunderbird could gain a set of new forward controls and taller handlebars. To improve safety, the company will also furnish the model with dual-channel ABS as standard equipment.
With an assortment of upgrades, analysts anticipate a modest increase in pricing for Royal Enfield’s tiny thumper for 2020. The Thunderbird currently retails for ₹1.64 lakh ($2,285 USD) and the 2020 version could rise anywhere between ₹15,000-20,000 ($209-278 USD).
Despite the Thunderbird nameplate and cruiser styling, Royal Enfield doesn’t offer the model in the States. However, we will keep you up to date with news of the Thunderbird’s release as the potential absence of a 500cc variant would hint at possible changes for the brand’s American lineup. Though reports point to the company unveiling the new Thunderbird in the next three months, if Royal Enfield follows this week’s pattern, we wouldn’t be surprised if news came sooner than later.