Royal Enfield motorcycles have been the favourites of many long-distance tourers and motorcycle enthusiasts in the country. Among all the Royal Enfield motorcycles, it has to be the Thunderbird series that has won many hearts due to the grunty engines and comfortable ergonomics. However, here’s a video that shows this popular motorcycle’s not-so-great performance on an off-road track.
As is clearly apparent, the Thunderbird struggles to tackle even some of the less challenging hurdles. The motorcycle gets stuck time and again and requires to be pushed manually in order to clear the obstacles. We agree, most of the Indian motorcycles will find it tough to clear such obstacles. However, it’s surprising that the Thunderbird, which is taken to the rough and harsh terrain by many tourers, pretty much fails to clear every obstacle on this off-road track. Here are the three biggest reasons for such a poor show –
Massive weight- The Royal Enfield Thunderbird motorcycles weigh a bit too much for their own good. Riding a heavy motorcycle means it gets harder for a rider to control it while tackling obstacles. Also, thanks to all the weight and tough riding conditions, the rider tends to lose balance. Moreover, the Thunderbird’s girth makes it hard to regain balance. A Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 has a kerb weight of 192 KGs. The T’bird 500 has a near identical kerb weight of 195 KGs. Both these motorcycles are a bit too heavy for off-road use.
Unsuitable ergonomics for off-road riding– The Royal Enfield Thunderbird is a cruiser motorcycle, which means it is in its element on long, straight roads. On an expressway, riders of this motorcycle can ride comfortably for hours due to the very relaxed ergonomics this bike can offer. On an off-road trail, however, all the comfort goes for a toss. As you can see in the video, the rider finds it too tough to shift his weight while tackling the obstacle. Also, being a cruiser motorcycle, the saddle height is on the lower side and the handlebar is high-set. All of this makes off-road riding a bit too tough.
Poor ground clearance: Beaching on the obstacle- Another major factor working against the Thunderbird is the low ground clearance. While the RE Himalayan, a thoroughbred tourer, offers a ground clearance of 220 mm, the T’bird 350 and 500 offer a ground clearance of 140 mm and 135 mm, respectively. A low ground clearance leads to the T’bird getting beached on most of the obstacles. This makes life worse for the rider.
Video courtesy – Ride with Urus