Royal Enfield showcased a brand new 650cc parallel twin engine late last year at the EICMA. This engine will first be offered in the Interceptor and Continental GT by the middle of next year. In the coming years, more Royal Enfield bikes such as the Himalayan and Thunderbird are also likely to use this engine. Here’s a render of what the Thunderbird 650, fitted with this parallel twin engine, could look like.
Render courtesy IAB
The engine displaces 647cc and is the most modern motor that Royal Enfield has ever put together. It features a single overhead camshaft that operates four valves in each head. The engine produces a peak power of 47 Bhp at 7,100 rpm while peak torque is 52 Nm, and produced at 4,000 rpm. The peak power output shows that this engine is the highest revving motor built by Royal Enfield. This allows it to push 200 kilogram motorcycles to speeds of over 160 Kmph.
The engine is paired with a 6 speed gearbox – again newly developed – and that also has a slipper clutch. The engine gets fuel injection as standard, and also uses supplementary oil cooling to keep itself cool. The Thunderbird 650 with this engine should be much faster than the current 350cc and 500cc models, which will make it an even better highway cruiser. The timeline for the launch of the Thunderbird 650 has not been revealed yet. However, this bike could make an appearance by 2020. Apart from the new engine, ABS is expected to be standard on the new Thunderbird.
Royal Enfield is likely to introduce the bigger engine on the Thunderbird when it gives the bike a full refresh. The third generation Thunderbird twins were introduced in 2012, and got both 350cc and 500cc engines. Soon, they will be refreshed with 350X and 500X variants. A full refresh is expected to take a couple of more years. During the full refresh, Royal enfield is also expected to ditch the single downtube frame with the engine as a stressed member, to a dual cradle frame that will be used on the Interceptor and GT650.