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Author Topic: Thunderbird 500 ??  (Read 1853 times)

rtillery02

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Thunderbird 500 ??
« on: February 20, 2014, 04:27:45 PM »
Got a new R/E dealer just 30 miles from home, looked like the new C5 was headin for my garage...till I located the T-Bird info.  Are there any ideas as to just when we can expect the arrival of this model to the US? I'll be sad if I purchase the C5 then find that the T-Bird style fits me better.  The 19" frt. & 18" rr. tire combo is bound to change the ride some. Any thoughts? R.Tillery
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ace.cafe

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 05:15:20 PM »
I can't speak for the US importer, but I have heard of no announcement that the Thunderbird would be exported. As far as I know, and as far as past history has been, the T-Bird is an India Home Market bike only.

Regarding the 19" front wheel and 18" rear wheel, the C5 already has that since last year.

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Joel-in-dallas

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2014, 05:56:49 AM »
I believe the Thunderbird is staying an India only option, which is a shame. That being said I think it would have to be sold under a different name outside India anyway as Triumph sells a motorcycle in the rest of the world under the Thunderbird name, so there might be trademark issues as well.

I like the blacked out engine on the Thunderbird and its bigger tank still works. The frame is somewhat similar to the G5. It is aimed at a younger demographic that wanted an Enfield but not a bullet. One of the major efforts since Eicher motors took over Royal Enfield is to reestablish the Royal Enfield brand and to have the company be more than the bullet. The Thunderbird and Continental GT are great efforts at making that happen.

The Indian press is buzzing with the fact that Eicher stated their expected output for 2014 is 280,000 motorcycles, 30,000 more than expected. They also announced yet more investments in both their factories with a goal of 500,000 motorcycles a year in the next couple of years. I will dig up the articles and post links. Its fascinating.

barenekd

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 11:10:44 PM »
I  gotta get into my way back machine to remember all the stuff that the Thunderbird had different to keep it from being exported as is. A carburettor, for sure. Carbs are essentially dead as for as smog crap goes. I didn't like the styling particularly, too cruiserish. They want a home market model with the old stuff on it so all the Enfield techs over there can still fix it with a hammer and 2X4. Basically, if they did bring it over, highly unlikely, I wouldn't have bought one.
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2014, 11:21:34 PM »
It's got dual spark plugs.  That's different enough that I expect CMW would need to run it through whole EPA approval process before they could import it.

Scott

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2014, 05:41:49 AM »
The T Bird is a Indian version of a cruiser with very mild semi ape hanger handlebars, separate speedometer and tachometer and a simple chrome headlight shell.

They have a single saddle with a large step between the rider and the pillion.

http://royalenfield.com/motorcycles/thunderbird-500

If they were brought into the US they would have to compete with all of the big Japanese bike makers cruisers and IMO, the T Bird would lose badly both on price and performance.
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gashousegorilla

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2014, 04:44:18 PM »
  I'm thinking if they sold it here. They may have to call it the " Streetthump".  This is the local version.... plus one jug and pipe.

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barenekd

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 07:16:03 PM »
Quote
It's got dual spark plugs.  That's different enough that I expect CMW would need to run it through whole EPA approval process before they could import it.

That was the point of my comment. With the carb currently on it, it's start all over time.
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mattsz

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 11:58:34 AM »
But doesn't it use the same UCE our imports use?  Couldn't they bolt on the same EFI, emissions bits, and single-spark head and be good to go here in the US?

Not that I care - I'm not a fan of the T-bird.  But if there was a market for them here, and it would mean more sales, more riders, and a better network...   

gashousegorilla

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2014, 04:34:51 PM »
But doesn't it use the same UCE our imports use?  Couldn't they bolt on the same EFI, emissions bits, and single-spark head and be good to go here in the US?

Not that I care - I'm not a fan of the T-bird.  But if there was a market for them here, and it would mean more sales, more riders, and a better network...   

  GOOD question.  If the bike has a different model name, but retains all the same Engine components. Would it have to go through a separate EPA approval ? 
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Joel-in-dallas

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2014, 05:06:33 PM »
The thunderbird is fuel injected with the same Keihin fuel injection system as the C5, G5, etc. I might have slightly different ECU mappings to handle the extra weight of the bike.

From what I can see the whole goal of the Thunderbird is to expand beyond the bullet. Also, it looks to be clearly aimed at younger riders who want a bike that isn't a bullet. I like the look of the blacked out engine and the bigger tank looks really good. Also, the fact that it has disc brakes front and back is really nice.

I think Royal Enfield doesn't export the Thunderbird because they see themselves somewhat as a heritage brand.

They are outperforming pretty much every other brand in India. That being said I think Hero is doing some exciting things with Eric Buell. Its a great time to be a motorcyclist in India and all over the world.

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2014, 11:37:31 PM »
The whole motor, intake, and exhaust would have to be the exact same to be imported.  Otherwise you need a whole new round if EPA testing.  They coul do it, but as already mentioned, they'd be in a segment with tons of competition.

Scott

Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 10:56:11 AM »
Interesting:  This whole question was "thrashed" in a previous string I started when the T 500 first came out and it met with oddly very little enthusiasm.  As far as the idea that RE would keep the T 500 in India only because it is marketing "tradition" to the rest of the world, I would point out that
1)  Their stated intention is to capture the international mid-size market
2) The T 500 is a vastly more practical bike in all respects than the GT
3) Other than the tank colour, there is nothing "traditional" about the GT to really link it back to the "continental GT 250 " of yore:  it has completely different frame, displacement , brakes, fuel mgt and so on. But it is a sweet bike and they will do well with it.  As they could with the T 500

I said before and say again, that as a single machine to step into the international mid size real world commuting market, the T 500 ticks all the boxes right now.  And if they can do for pricing on it what they have done in US across the rest of the range,   think they would be quite competitive with other brands.

I will add one quote from a previous string :
"
I don't have any idea what RE intends with the Electra G 5 model line, but I do think the Thunderbird is the way forward.   And I don't really see any good reason that it would not do well here.   It is modern with heritage, very practical, has astounding fuel economy and range, front and rear disc brakes on a light and nimble frame and a host of other practical features for the modern rider /commuter. I happen to think it looks pretty good too, without in any way being eiher a Harley Clone or a plastic Darth Vader transformer toy lookalike. I would buy one over a G 5  (and I would buy a G 5 over C 5 ).
I think a new era of practical motorcyling is dawning driven by fuel costs, not unlike the golden era of workingman practical motorcyling that spawned all the 500 singles in the first place.  And the bikes that thrived back then were the best, most modern and fully featured (practical featuresn not gimmicks) of their time.  No reason to expect it to be different now. Factor in insurance costs per displacement, the market wide downsizing in dispaclement and the appearance of a lot of mid and small bikes with escellent features but devoid of character, and I believe the stage is set for a new era for RE .  Just my opinion "   Nigel
Sorry that my spelling sucked --gets worse the more passionate I get

 

Royalista

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 11:00:29 PM »
Passion is the hallmark of the true motorist.  :D
You make good points too. A motorcycle can, and should, be so much more than a sunday's toy. My Electra carries groceries as well as camping gear. It goes on where the pavement stops. It is much cheaper than a car and takes less space.
Excellent for body, soul and mind, just what the doctor ordered.  ;D
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REpozer

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Re: Thunderbird 500 ??
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 11:50:37 PM »
Interesting:  This whole question was "thrashed" in a previous string I started when the T 500 first came out and it met with oddly very little enthusiasm.  As far as the idea that RE would keep the T 500 in India only because it is marketing "tradition" to the rest of the world, I would point out that
1)  Their stated intention is to capture the international mid-size market
2) The T 500 is a vastly more practical bike in all respects than the GT
3) Other than the tank colour, there is nothing "traditional" about the GT to really link it back to the "continental GT 250 " of yore:  it has completely different frame, displacement , brakes, fuel mgt and so on. But it is a sweet bike and they will do well with it.  As they could with the T 500

I said before and say again, that as a single machine to step into the international mid size real world commuting market, the T 500 ticks all the boxes right now.  And if they can do for pricing on it what they have done in US across the rest of the range,   think they would be quite competitive with other brands.

I will add one quote from a previous string :
"
I don't have any idea what RE intends with the Electra G 5 model line, but I do think the Thunderbird is the way forward.   And I don't really see any good reason that it would not do well here.   It is modern with heritage, very practical, has astounding fuel economy and range, front and rear disc brakes on a light and nimble frame and a host of other practical features for the modern rider /commuter. I happen to think it looks pretty good too, without in any way being eiher a Harley Clone or a plastic Darth Vader transformer toy lookalike. I would buy one over a G 5  (and I would buy a G 5 over C 5 ).
I think a new era of practical motorcyling is dawning driven by fuel costs, not unlike the golden era of workingman practical motorcyling that spawned all the 500 singles in the first place.  And the bikes that thrived back then were the best, most modern and fully featured (practical featuresn not gimmicks) of their time.  No reason to expect it to be different now. Factor in insurance costs per displacement, the market wide downsizing in dispaclement and the appearance of a lot of mid and small bikes with escellent features but devoid of character, and I believe the stage is set for a new era for RE .  Just my opinion "   Nigel
Sorry that my spelling sucked --gets worse the more passionate I get
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