2020 Royal Enfield Thunderbird: What the next-gen retro cruiser motorcycle could look like

The worldwide leader of mid capacity bikes – Royal Enfield – is working on a brand new platform that will underpin a range of new retro motorcycles including the Classic, Thunderbird and the Bullet line-ups. The new range of mid capacity Royal Enfield motorcycles are likely to make their debuts in early 2020, and the Thunderbird twins are expected to a part of the new launches. Here is a speculative render of the all-new, 3rd generation Thunderbird retro cruiser motorcycle from IAB. The render shows the new frame, new engine and a slew of new design details on the motorcycle, which is expected to be a big step up from the current Thunderbird 350 and 500 models. The next-generation Thunderbird has also been spotted testing multiple times on Indian roads.

While the 2020 Royal Enfield Thunderbird is likely to retain the overall design, which includes the cruiser look and feel, the engine could get a major overhaul to make more power and torque, and also meet the upcoming Bharat Stage 6 emission norms. The chain will be relocated to the left hand side of the engine, which means that it will need a complete engine redesign. The current 500cc engine already has fuel injection, and this should make it easier for Royal Enfield to make the motor comply with the BS6 norms. As for the 346cc unit construction four stroke engine, it is likely to get a capacity bump up to close to 400cc, and also fuel injection. The extra displacement is likely to make the Thunderbird more powerful, and faster. Air cooling is likely to be standard on both engines and we may still be a generation away from getting liquid cooled engines on the mid capacity Royal Enfields.

Other changes already visible on the Thunderbird test mules include a repositioned rear disc brake on the left hand side of the motorcycle. revised switch gear, new rear brake lever, new suspension and revised body work. The changes in powertrain, frame and suspension are likely to be carried over to the Classic and the Bullet models as well. The new range of Royal Enfields are meant to drive growth now that the company is facing headwind due to the severe slowdown in the Indian auto industry. It’ll also make the range of relatively affordable Royal Enfield motorcycles a lot more fresher, making them appeal to buyers looking for bikes that suit both city conditions and highway riding. The Auto Expo of 2020 could be the big venue where the new Royal Enfields are either unveiled or launched. The new bikes are likely to get pricier.