Royal Enfield Thunderbird Review
Best just got better and more powerfulSaturday, November 16, 2013
Design and Style
More than a decade ago, Royal Enfield Thunderbird created a new segment for itself in our Indian bike market. Since then, the bike has not been challenged by anyone and enjoys monopoly in the market. Now, Royal Enfield has launched the up-graded version of this bike. Let’s get in to the detailing of this new variant.
Design and Style
Royal Enfield has kept the original design of Thunderbird intact. The bike looks similar to the outgoing model but there are slight changes which add fresh appeal to this bike. These changes are similar to the new Thunderbird 500. The bike now has a projector lamp in its headlight which lacks visor and front cowl. The naked appearance gets enhanced by the chrome finished side indicators and instrument console. Thunderbird now comes with a compact front fender which gels well with the multi-spoke rim of this bike. When you move to the side of this bike, you will notice new up gradations like new paint finish for its fuel tank and side panels. The bike also features new split seat with new back rest for the pillion rider. The steel framed engine is placed below the fuel tank which gets connected to a long chrome finished silencer. Royal Enfield has cut down the size of its rear fender and now features a new stylish LED tail light. The chain sprocket of this bike also moves to the right side while it sports a new rear disc brake on the left side.
Royal Enfield has modernized the instrument console of Thunderbird 350. The bike now features a combined analogue- digital instrument console. It features two circular dials with chrome surrounded rings. The left dial has an analogue speedometer while it also has a blue colored LCD for its digital odometer, 2-tripmeter, clock and fuel gauge. The right dial of this bike has an analogue tachometer and all essential LED indicators.
Engine and Gearbox
The bike retains its twin spark 346cc engine. It’s a single cylinder, 4-stroke engine which produces a peak power of 19.8 bhp at 5250 rpm. The maximum torque output of this air-cooled engine is of 28 nm which arrives at 4000 rpm. This engine is mated with a five-speed manual gearbox. It has one gear down and four gears up-shift pattern.
Acceleration and Performance
There is hardly any change in the performance of this bike. The bike is still best for highway cruising as it can easily cruise at the speed of 120 km/hr without any vibration. This engine feels well composed and supplies adequate power at low rpms. The thumping sound of this bike is a bit different than before though. Royal Enfield has kept its gear ratios short so that the bike doesn’t look for power in city traffic. The torque of this bike starts coming as early as 2200 rpm helping it to get an impressive low and mid-range. The throttle response of this bike is better than its other siblings. It takes around 15 seconds to reach 0-100 km/hr. The power delivery of this engine is quite linear and it does it quite silently. The gearbox of this bike is quite smooth and comes with well-spaced gear ratios. The key quality of this engine is that it never feels strained even after hours of driving.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 may return you a mileage of around 25km/ltr on highways while its fuel efficiency on highways ranges from 28-32km/ltr.
Comfort while Driving
The bike offers a high seating riding posture with up-raised handlebar. This handle bar allows your elbows to stay in a relaxed position and also offers you a firm palm grip. It has an engine kill switch which is quite useful in city where you frequently need to turn on/off your bike. The all over visibility is also quite satisfactory. Its new seat is quite comfortable as it’s padded with high quality of fabrics. The rear rider also gets optimum comfort through rubber back rest which is quite useful on long journeys. Thunderbird has front set foot pegs which enables you to stretch your legs comfortably.
Storage Space and Safety Features
The bike has negligible space on both sides. The powerful projector lamp confirms your safety while driving at night as it offers clear vision of roads. Other safety features of Thunderbird include pass button and brake callipers on both wheels.
Suspension and Brakes
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 features 41mm telescopic forks at its front while it has twin gas charged 5-step adjustable rear suspension system. This new variant of Thunderbird comes equipped with disc brakes on its both wheels. It has a front disc brake of 280 mm and rear disc brake of 240 mm.
Ride and Handling
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 is based on the same platform of Thunderbird 500. It has a wheelbase of 1350 mm which gives it stability around corners and at high speeds. The high ground clearance of 140 mm helps you while turning this heavy machine (192 kgs) at slow speeds. The bike handles quite easily on highways but in city traffic, it takes time to adjust. The ride quality of this bike is better than its other siblings as its suspension system never allows potholes to bother you. Moreover, the bike is incorporated with wide MRF zapper tyres which sticks firmly to the road and helps this bike to stay under control in wet conditions. The biggest change in the ride quality of this bike is the addition of the rear disc brake. You seem to have complete control over this bike with the help of its powerful braking system.
Tyre Size, Shades and Variants
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350’s front wheel is of 19 inches while it has a smaller R18 size of tyre at the back. The only variant of Thunderbird 350 is offered in three colors.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 is priced at INR 1.43 (ex-showroom, Delhi (approx., may vary)). This bike feels more premium and feature rich than the outgoing model. Yes, it has become costlier than before but the newly added features completely justify its high pricing. We feel it’s a complete value for money bike as it only targets a bunch of buyers who look for an economical alternative to expensive cruiser bikes.