The 2020 Royal Enfield Thunderbird BS-VI model has made another appearance. The motorcycle caught on a tape is the X series variant. Styling cues specific to the Thunderbird X include alloy wheels, a relatively lower handlebar and split-style pillion grabrails.
The motorcycle, in production form, will pack bright colour options – a styling feature that we have already seen on the current generation model. The new version does not use any camouflag and the body panels appear to be production-spec. The next-generation T'bird will be based on the new J architecture, which it will share with the BS-VI Classic and Bullet range.
In terms of styling, the next-generation Royal Enfield Thunderbird range would not be drastically different from the current iteration. The motorcycle would retain its retro-styling and continue to use a round headlight, a curvy fuel tank with chrome lid and black paint on various parts for a stealthy look. The black colour, similar to the current X series motorcycles, will be visible on the headlight housing, alloy wheels, engine, and the exhaust. However, unlike the current 350X and the 500X, the test mule uses a chrome heat shield. The saddle setup has also been revised, and the BS-VI compliant Thunderbird X uses a split seat layout. The pillion grabrail, similar to the current models, uses a split design. The tail section has been completely updated for a more retro look and the next-generation Thunderbird X series gets a round stop light and a repositioned registration plate.
Apart from the Thunderbird X, Royal Enfield is also working on a full-blown cruiser style Thunderbird model. The new bike recently made its spy video debut, thereby revealing the revised ergonomics courtesy forward set footpegs, and increased distance between the handlebar and the saddle. The next-generation models retains the hardware specifications from the existing range. Thus, conventional telescopic forks at the front and twin springs at the back perform shock absorption duties. Disc brakes on both wheels perform the anchoring tasks, while the safety net even comprises a dual-channel ABS unit.
The engine specifications are likely to change but not by a huge margin. For reference, the 499 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled, fuel-injected engine on the current model makes 27.57 PS at 5,250 rpm and 41.3 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The 346 cc single-cylinder, air-cooled motor uses a carburettor system on the existing range but the next-generation of the power mill will use fuel injection to comply with the stricter emission norms. Currently, the 346 cc unit produces 20.07 PS at 5,250 rpm and 28 Nm at 4,000 rpm.