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View Poll Results: Which one for a first motorcycle?
Thunderbird Twinspark (due in 1 month or so) 21 44.68%
Thunderbird 500 (launch date unknown) 26 55.32%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27th January 2012, 00:01   #1
Tgo
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Unhappy Royal Enfield Thunderbird : Sitting on the fence

Hello everyone,

I'm posting after a long time. The last few months have been hectic, finishing college and starting a job, moving to a new city and all that. I desperately need some advice on buying my first Motorcycle.

So coming to the topic. The list is ready. Just two bikes on it.

Exhibit A - RE Thunderbird Twinspark

What I Liked:
  • UCE Engine
  • Reliable (in RE terms) Carburetor type fuel distribution system
  • Comfortable seat and suspension
  • Fuel Efficiency

What I Didn't Like
  • Mainly cosmetics; never ending silencer, high-set ugly meters
  • The thought that its not RE's flagship model
  • Front tyre tread (do the ribs have any benefit?)

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I went to the showroom here in Mangalore to book a Classic 350 but the only model available for a test ride was a Thunderbird Twinspark. Took the test ride, loved the bike. Liked the new engine. Liked the power delivery (found it to be ample for my need). Booked it on 8th October 2011.
Was supposed to be here yesterday but has been delayed by a month to say the least. They say there is some problem at the factory in Chennai. The showroom wore a deserted look. Every single bike on display had been sold off I guess. Just one test ride Thunderbird was there. Even if they receive the next lot by February end, I am the 13th person on their list. I, living in Mangalore, don't expect my turn to come till the second lot, looking at the way Bangalore is hogging up these bikes.

Exhibit B - RE Thunderbird 500

What I Liked:
  • Rear Disc Brake
  • Better Head & Tail Lamps
  • Bigger Fuel Tank
  • Increased Front Fork Dimensions
  • RE's Big Daddy Engine

What I Didn't Like
  • Stupid Exhaust-pipe, Headlamp, Fuel Tank Design, Meters with blue lighting
  • RE's History of Fuel Injection
  • Lower Fuel Efficiency
  • Black Engine
  • Date of launch Unknown

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Saw it here for the first time on the Auto Expo 2012 thread.Started drooling over it looking at the functional features added to it. Love it loathe it happened for two days. Thought it is too far away from a commercial launch. Dropped the idea as my TBTS was on its way... I thought. And then my Booked motorbike for which I waited for 4 months, was delayed for another month. The confused state of mind had set in again as the guys at the showroom here told me that commercial production of the Thunderbird500 will begin in April 2012. Can I book early and be the first owner of the 500?
I will be using the bike in the city on weekdays and for longer trips 100-200 km on weekends twice a month. I plan to keep this bike for as long as REs are built to last. So adding another bike from any other class/manufacturer is not an option.

Keeping in mind, long term ownership, RE's competence (incompetence rather) in fuel injecion, reliability of electrical and mechanical parts on these two motorcycles, I want advice from you on whether to wait for the T500 or stick to my booking of the TBTS. Hope RE UCE motorbike owners to shed some light.
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Old 27th January 2012, 00:34   #2
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

Not sure what you mean by TBTS launching in 1 month. It was launched 3 years ago, I have one.
I would like to look at Classic 500 instead. I could also look at Honda CBR 250.
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Old 27th January 2012, 07:09   #3
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Relativity View Post
Not sure what you mean by TBTS launching in 1 month. It was launched 3 years ago, I have one.
I would like to look at Classic 500 instead. I could also look at Honda CBR 250.
I wrote 'Due in one month' in the poll options because I have already booked it and it will be delivered to me in a month or so.
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Old 27th January 2012, 07:34   #4
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tgo View Post
I wrote 'Due in one month' in the poll options because I have already booked it and it will be delivered to me in a month or so.
How is that you exactly post whatever is going on in my mind. I have booked a Thunderbird TS a month back and expecting the delivery sometime in June/ July. Now the fact that the new TB 500 is gonna be launched soon has made me rethink my decision.

After weighing several Pros and Cons, I thought I'd stick on to the TBTS due to the following reasons:
  • TBTS is a tried and tested product which has been a relatively trouble free product from RE's stable
  • Suprisingly good fuel efficiency for its class
  • Authorised Service centres are expected to possess slightly better knowledge about the product
  • Cheaper by atleast 60~80k than the new TB 500
  • And last but not least, the ultra comfortable wide seats that offers unmatched riding comfort

I would definitely not invest on a new product immediately after its launch without knowing how the newly added electronics and projectors would fare in the long run, more particularly when you need to invest more than 2 Lacs on it!



My two cents!
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Old 27th January 2012, 07:53   #5
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

Are we sure Thunderbird 500 is launching soon?

RE takes its own sweet time in launching products - and displaying a product in Auto Expo may not necessarily mean that its coming soon (eg: Cafe Racer which was displayed last time?). Even if its launched sometime soon- expect a huge waiting period for it as well.
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Old 27th January 2012, 09:05   #6
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

I would also advice you to not play the waiting game and go with the TBTS 350. Its a tried and tested product and going further, you will be happy with it.

On a side note, what is your current ride?
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Old 27th January 2012, 09:27   #7
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Default Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Are we sure Thunderbird 500 is launching soon?

RE takes its own sweet time in launching products - and displaying a product in Auto Expo may not necessarily mean that its coming soon (eg: Cafe Racer which was displayed last time?). Even if its launched sometime soon- expect a huge waiting period for it as well.
True,but the cafe racer never made it to the RE products' website.
The TB500 will be launched according to RE website,product information.
Royal Enfield are also expanding their production output and a new plant will be operationalized sometime in 2013,according to this report.
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Old 27th January 2012, 09:37   #8
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Default

I liked the points given by warwithwheels - extremely practical and makes perfect sense, however, I have a contradictory view here. As a current owner of the T-bird twinspark, I would advise that you wait for the TB 500, even if it takes a couple of months longer. Of course, this is assuming that the launch is confirmed to be on a particular date.

I've had a relatively trouble-free ownership with the TBTS 350 (barring a troublesome starter which has now been rectified) but some obvious areas where the TB500 will outshine the TB350 -

- extra power and torque for more effortless touring on the highway. Current TBTS feels scary at anything beyond 70-80 kmph on the highways. Firstly it is strained at those speeds, secondly it has no stopping power in case a stray dog or villager decides to cross the highway suddenly.
- that cursed footrest (also called as rear brake ) on the 350 has now been given a disc treatment. The rear drum brake on the TB350 is absolutely useless, has zero stopping power. I don't know why the TB350 didn't come with a rear disc to begin with.
- Not to forget, the thicker rubber at the rear (TB500) will enhance grip further. The current ones on the 350 are too skinny for my liking. This is a huge boon if you regularly travel to remote areas/countryside with slush / muck. I am not too impressed with the way the TB350 slides around on such terrain.

I specifically highlight these points since you mentioned that you do 100-200km bike rides regularly on weekends. As a tourer/cruiser, these 3 things would tilt my decision in favour of the TB500. The digital v/s analog clocks debate, black colored engine, bad looking exhaust, etc are all trivial things and shouldn't be the yardstick for buying/rejecting a particular vehicle in this category. Just an opinion, no offense meant

Before others flame me, let me clarify I do not know much about the FI series of the RE engines or their issues, so I do not have anything to comment about their reliability/issues.

mods : please merge this post with the previous one. I couldn't edit my previous post due to the 30 minute timer getting expired, apologies for the inconvenience; already reported this post.

2 more strong points for the TB500 that I can think of, from a traveller's perspective

- Projector headlamps will greatly increase night vision on highways. The current headlamps are not satisfactory for night time highway rides, speaking from personal experience. I am way happier touring with my P220 for this reason
- 20 litre fuel tank on the TB500 will put your range upwards of 700km on a tank of fuel. This is a significant advantage when travelling. With the current TBTS, a full tank lasts me around 400km at best.

Post Edited.

Thank you for your contribution!

Team BHP Support Team.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 27th January 2012 at 15:03.
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Old 27th January 2012, 10:50   #9
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Post Re: RE Thunderbird Dilemma

Hi Tgo,

My advice will be to go with the tried and tested TBTS. The reasons to make this decison are :

1) Projected date of launch of Thunderbird 500 can easily move 3-4 months as Royal Enfield has not made any official announcements , don't just take the dealer's word for it.

2) Ownership of a newly launched vehicle does give a differentiating touch to the rider , but also involved are the countless first ownership niggles , which are ever more with RE

3) Are you ready to spend 40 k extra for a bike which might come in the next 4 months , whose ride , engine and others things are an uncharted territory right now and may remain so even after 2-3 months after launch.

4) And finally .. do you want LED tail lamps on your cruiser


Go for the TBTS , you'l get it early , will know what to expect and save a lot more money . All the best

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Old 28th January 2012, 18:41   #10
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Post Re: Truth of the matter

Good to see your opinion here people. The fact is that there are these few things that have intrigued me after going through the technical specifications of the TB500 from their website.

Front Fork Dimension
They say it is 41mm instead of 35mm (on all other REs). How does this affect ride/handling in real life?

Oval Cross-Section Swing Arm
Instead of the regular tubular shaped one. What benefit does this have?

Wheelbase
The TB500 has shed 20mm in this department. What could be the reason for that? Again, any benefits associated with respect to ride/handling?

Rear Wheel
Is an 18" wheel compared to the 19 incher on the TBTS. How does this spell out in the real world?

The fact is that these changes should affect how the bike behaves on road and I want to know whether these changes will be worth the wait or are too insignificant to have any consequence.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
How is that you exactly post whatever is going on in my mind. I have booked a Thunderbird TS a month back and expecting the delivery sometime in June/ July.
Good to know that I'm not the only one sitting on the fence. I share the same logic as yours regarding the TBTS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _raVan_ View Post
On a side note, what is your current ride?
Current ride status: NA (None Available). This is going to be my first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
- that cursed footrest (also called as rear brake ) on the 350 has now been given a disc treatment. The rear drum brake on the TB350 is absolutely useless, has zero stopping power. I don't know why the TB350 didn't come with a rear disc to begin with.
The test ride bike I rode gave me a sense of having superhero like power, as I kid you not, my ankle had learnt an extra degree of freedom to stop the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius 1 View Post
And finally .. do you want LED tail lamps on your cruiser
I won't mind it if they are laid out correctly.
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Old 29th January 2012, 01:32   #11
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird : Sitting on the fence

I've been riding a Std Bullet 350 forever it seems, well at least since 1996.

But if I was to buy one today, I'd go w/ the TBTS 350 for sure, just might too.

I rode one for about a week, complete pleasure, but then it was a brand new bike, heard the older ones give some electrical issues at times.

Waiting for something that 'might' launch is never a good idea, specially if you need something now.

Good Luck, Happy Riding!
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Old 30th January 2012, 00:22   #12
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird : Sitting on the fence

To quote Jeremy Clarkson "More Power!!". IMO, the wait for the 500cc will be worth it, more power, rear disc brakes and great headlamps would make this a great go anywhere bike. Enfield has always had reliability issues and I doubt it will change with this one.
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Old 30th January 2012, 20:41   #13
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird : Sitting on the fence

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshayasok View Post
To quote Jeremy Clarkson "More Power!!". IMO, the wait for the 500cc will be worth it, more power, rear disc brakes and great headlamps would make this a great go anywhere bike. Enfield has always had reliability issues and I doubt it will change with this one.
Thanks Akshay, but right now, the engine is the last thing that is pulling me towards the TB500. The Fuel Injection and its niggles and RE mechanics of yore with their incapability at attending small problems related to electricals let alone the electronics that run the heart of the bike is not a very comforting thought.

Right now, I want to know how the other changes in the chassis dimensions make the motorcycle behave differently from the TBTS.
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Old 30th January 2012, 21:05   #14
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird : Sitting on the fence

@TGO: Hope you have checked out the latest TBTS ownership report in the forum. Trust that would further propel your decision to lean towards tried and test beast.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post2663201 (Royal cruising: My 2011 Enfield Thunderbird)
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Old 30th January 2012, 21:30   #15
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Default Re: Royal Enfield Thunderbird : Sitting on the fence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
@TGO: Hope you have checked out the latest TBTS ownership report in the forum. Trust that would further propel your decision to lean towards tried and test beast.
I have and loved the thread. Have dreamt of having the same ownership experience too. The thing is that i'm hunting for some answers here regarding the new motorcycle.
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