Royal Enfield, the biggest manufacturer in India above 300cc launched its first modern parallel-twin engine powered bikes last year. The Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 – two bikes that are powered by the all-new engine are extremely popular in India and even in the international markets. Royal Enfield has been working to use the same engine in different body styles. Here is the first picture of the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 650, which was caught testing without any camouflage.
The test mule was spotted in Tamil Nadu near the manufacturing plant of the brand. The styling of the bike remains similar to the Thunderbird and we may even get to see the same moniker on the new bike with a different suffix. Nonetheless, Royal Enfield may also use the Meteor name on the upcoming bike. Since there has been no confirmation from the manufacturer yet, we cannot comment on the name at the moment.
Now it is the bulkiness of the motorcycle that catches the attention. Since the 650cc engine is much bigger in size compared to the 350 or 500 engines powering the Thunderbird, the bike looks masculine and bulky. We can also spot the two exhaust pipes coming out on each side of the bike. Also, the seat height is much lower than before and you can also spot fatter rear tyre of the bike.
There will not be any changes to the engine but Royal Enfield may tweak the transmission to make it more suitable for the heavier Thunderbird. Apart from that, there are upside-down front forks and regular Coilover suspension in the rear. The bike gets alloy wheels but we hope that there will be spoked rim option as well. The 648cc, air-cooled, parallel-twin engine produces a maximum of 47.65 PS and 52 Nm of peak torque in the Interceptor and the Continental GT 650. There will no changes to the output.
Interestingly, Harley Davidson announced its formal exit from the Indian market earlier this year. The American manufacturer that produced the Street 750 in India and offered various motorcycles will pack the bags soon. Even though the showrooms of Harley-Davidson will be active in the coming times, the brand will not operate in India. Royal Enfield will try to seize this opportunity with the 650cc parallel-twin engine.
Interceptor and the Continental GT 650 have received some great feedback from the customers and both the bikes have gained massive popularity in the Indian market. With the arrival of new body styles powered by the same engine, a lot of customers will consider these bikes. Apart from the Thunderbird 650, Royal Enfield is reportedly working on the Himalayan 650 too. While Thunderbird 650 will be launched next year, there is still some time before we get to see the Himalayan 650 in the showrooms.