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Royal Enfield Thunderbird swoops down in 2020

Indian motorcycle giant Royal Enfield has announced the laidback Thunderbird

ROYAL ENFIELD has announced the new Thunderbird model for 2020 that features laid back cruiser styling and a 20l tank.

It’s expected that the new machine will be a 350cc engine, shared with 350cc Bullet and Classic, as the company is thought to be phasing out the larger 500cc capacity engines. The bike has a stylised, teardrop fuel tank, not dissimilar to that on some mid-2000s Harley-Davidsons, with sweptback handlebars and a reshaped seat and rear mudguard.

The pictures of the bike on the Royal Enfield website clearly show the machine running carbs as opposed to fuel injection, possibly ruling out the bike making its way to the UK any time soon. It’s also being confirmed that the model will not travel to the States, despite the all-American moniker laidback cruiser DNA!

Is Royal Enfield dropping their 500cc models?

It’s a possibility but not 100% certain that the 500cc single might be nearing the end of their lives. The reason is the adoption of India’s Bharat Stage VI emissions regulations. They are a bit like the Euro emissions regulations although less stringent!

It is just a rumour as it stands although The Mint has reported that a source inside the factory has stated that they are looking to consolidate the 500s and concentrate on the core models in the form of the 350s. Outside of India – in most of Europe and the US anyway – the 500s outsell the 350s, but those are not RE’s core areas, in India, they sell more 350cc machines than anything else.

The introduction of the 650cc twins has also cannibalised some of the 500cc bike sales, shifting 1.5 times the units of the 500s up to October 2019.

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