Royal Enfield Unveils The Thunderbird 500. To Compete In India With The Harley Sportster?

India. the 2nd fastest growing motorcycle market in the world. Competition intensifies and local brand leader Royal Enfield knows that it will have to compete with Harley-Davidson (15 models) and Triumph (just arriving in India with 7 models). So, Royal Enfield introduced to the media (official launch at the end of 2012) the Thunderbird 500, a model supposed to elevate the Royal Enfield’s line up. And of course, nobody missed the fact that the Thunderbird 500 has borrowed some styling bits from the Harley Sportster…Tech sheet after the jump.

* The Thunderbird 500 features the same 500cc, fuel injected UCE engine found on the Classic 500 range of Royal Enfields, but engine now sees black powder coating.
* A 55W projector headlamp, new LED taillight and turn indicators.
* The footpeg-handlebar geometry has been revised.
* Front footpegs moving forward with low handlebars.
* Rear disc brake.
* Fatter 41mm telescopic forks on the front.
* Oval section swing arm that Royal Enfield says will provide good high speed stability.
* Redesigned instrumentation with speedo, tacho and fuel gauge with  digital tripmeters.
*  Gas tank with Thunderbird logo in matt black finish.

15 Responses to “Royal Enfield Unveils The Thunderbird 500. To Compete In India With The Harley Sportster?”

  1. 1 Luis Jan 10th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I wonder how many posts it will take before we get some sort of ignorant comment about Indian people?

  2. 2 BobS Jan 10th, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Looks a lot more like a Triumph than a Harley to me.

  3. 3 fuji Jan 10th, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Maybe HD will have Enfield design a small bike for them, manufacture it in USA and send it there to have it assembled. LOL

    Good looking bike.

  4. 4 hk Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:01 am

    @luis .it wont take long ,people cant help themselves


    i think since royal enfield has been there for so long already i would say its the harley that will be competeting for loyalty over there and a smaller lighter lower cc bike like enfield provides will stay more appealing .

  5. 5 CafeSportyTC Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:14 am

    looks alot like those tiny Honda Rebel 250’s. looks like a city bike which in India would probably be a good thing

  6. 6 Toby Jan 10th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    What about Triumph’s Thunderbird? No trademarking in India? What’s next, a Royal Enfield Sportster?

  7. 7 fuji Jan 10th, 2012 at 12:54 pm


    To do business with India one must jump through hoops and pad a lot of hands everyone wants a buck.

    My other half works in the corporate world and deals with India on a daily basis.

    India does it one way, Theirs. Which is not always the correct or easiest way. Always wanting more than they should receive, Asking for ones technical secrets / blue prints as if you would just give them up.

  8. 8 Neal Jan 10th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I dont see it as a direct competitor to the Sportster or Triumphs. It is merely a more modern looking Bullet …its stll a single and Im sure priced significantly lower than the Sporty & Triumph. I think it is more a direct competitor with single cylinder Japanese /Chinese/korean/etc. bikes. This WOULD be a direct competitor with the “small” bike that HD has been rumored to be developing to be built in India for thre Indian market. I wouldnt be surprised to see Enfield develope a twin soon……that would be more a direct competitor with HD/Triumph.

  9. 9 nicker Jan 10th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    “…I wouldnt be surprised to see Enfield develope a twin soon…”

    Well, if the UK Enfield receivers let-em keep the Bullet, why not the rights to the Enfield Constellation and Interceptor?

    Hell, at 750cc my Interceptor is/was every bit as fast as most of my 650 triumphs.
    (as i recall Lindsdaile(?) rode a 700 Connie to several UK Classic titles)

    The problem with the Indian market will be the price of fuel. And an EFI 500 is way better positioned than an Interceptor twin (or a sprotry for that matter).


  10. 10 Rodent Jan 10th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    The royal enfield (india) compete against Sporty, you joke of course! Royal Enfield(British) against a Sporty maybe.7

  11. 11 luSca custom design Jan 11th, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Royal Enfield are a very nice starting point to build some little special…
    not in the same market of harley and triumph… by me…

  12. 12 lumpy Jan 11th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Make It A Bobber….

  13. 13 federico Jan 14th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Congratulations Royal Enfield, that is a beatiful bike, i love it, i hope it was imported to Venezuela.

  14. 14 Saravana Jan 15th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    The Thunderbird 500 will be a success story in India

  15. 15 Mazz BMHS Bike Klub Canada's Only Chopper Class Jan 16th, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I can already see the Bobber possibilities!! Hard tail?? Yeah, baby!!

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Cyril Huze