Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 – Made like a Gun, Runs like a Bullet

This article does not contain any technical specifications, dimensions, on road price etc of Thunderbird 500. The best website to get knowledge about it is http://www.royalenfield.com. This article is all about my experiences with the bike!

30 days. Forget about specifications, I got my Royal Enfield in 30 days. I was waiting for this bike launch for a year & had also prepared my mind for a 9 months long waiting period after the launch.


Booked the Thunderbird one day after the Launch on 13th Oct 2012.

This is for those who are slowly dying because they cannot tolerate the waiting period. I had booked my RET500 at Sarabhai Motors Ahmedabad on 14th October & got the delivery on 13th November on the auspicious day of Laxmi Pujan (Diwali). According to the records, my bike was the first one in Gujrat. Proud.

I took the delivery of the bike & travelled 140km on the first day. After 140km with countless head turnings, eye balls popping & jaw droppings around me, I reached the destination without any back ache or tiredness. I was cruising at the speed of 50kmph as it is advised to do so for the first 500km for Engine seasoning. It was indeed an awesome feeling to have 500cc, 27bhp power under you.

Overall Riding Experience
It was awesome. The bike is very good at handling, considering the weight of 190kg. Gear Shift is smooth. Acceleration is impressive. Braking is improved with two disc brakes. Look is sophisticated. It is the owner’s pride! It truly deserves a cruise control in future models. It never lets you down when you are showing off your aggression on the road. In fact, it challenges you to push yourself to the limit where you can hear your heartbeats more than the thump! When you are riding it, respect is not earned, it is forcibly taken out from their heart, through their eyes, compelling their jaw to drop & leaving them jealous with the thought of ‘I always wanted to own this one’.!!

As compared to Classic 500, thump is very low. You can replace the silencer & install ‘Indori’ silencer which has relatively high thump. The cost of that Silencer is Rs. 3,100.

Pre-purchase analysis:
Indian motor bike industry is offering a very wide range of bikes today. KTM Duke 200, Honda CBR 250, Kawasaki Ninja etc. I was looking for a cruiser bike and had an option of Royal Enfield Thunderbird, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Demak Cougar 250, and Bajaj Avenger 220. Harley Davidson & Triumph was ruled out as I am no Rober Vadhra to buy it. Though, ICICI bank gives loan for these bikes (only) & the EMI is also affordable if you have no other liabilities. Bajaj Avenger 220 was out of question, & Demak Cougar 250 was a surprise find which was not having any impressive features to beat the Thunderbird. To be frank, the analysis was just the formality as I had already decided the bike to buy. If you are not looking for a traditional cruiser bike looks, then Duke 200 is really very impressive. The only issue is the comfort of the Pillion rider. If you are looking for too much of plastic then you have many options starting from Honda Achiever, Yamaha Fazer, Honda CBR 150, Hero Karizma ZMR, Honda CBR 250, Yamaha R15, & there would be many more coming soon.

If Thunderbird is out of your budget then do not compromise for Bajaj Avenger. Wait for some time, it will be worth!

My RE was polished and primped by the dealer & was looking at its best. It is the combination of classic & sophisticated look that makes RET 500 very special. During the delivery there was a problem of Oil tank cap not getting easily fit. However the problem was solved by the dealer in my next visit. Such delivery problems is the trademark of RE as I saw 2 different issues in Desertstorm & Electra during the delivery. Dealer is very cooperative in fixing the issue however RE should record all these problems & taken preventive action.

First Ride:
After starting from the showroom I took my first stop at the petrol pump at 200m. During this very short time, I saw many people stalking at the bike. First compliment came from the Petrol Pump attendant saying, ‘Mast bike hai’ (Very nice bike).


Completed 200km in one day at an average speed of 43kmph. I was taking 5mins stop after every 1 hour to let the engine cool down.

As I said, I travelled around 140km on the very first day with the speed of not more than 50kmph. However, after 70km petrol started leaking from the tank. The problem was fixed during my next visit to the Dealer.

Second Visit to Dealer:
My second visit was to take the registration number from the dealer & fix the issue of Petrol tank cap & Petrol leakage. Both the problems were sorted out. Also as I had completed 500km, first service was also done during the visit

First 500km (in 4 days):
First 500km was full of pride & attention seeking rides across the city & 280km between Baroda & Ahmedabad. On an average, at least 2 people were approaching me every day to enquire about the bike, appreciating its look, asking about the waiting period & on road price. It was really very difficult to maintain the speed limit of 50kmph but I was successful in doing so.


My second ride on Baroda – Ahmedabad Highway!!

One Major Mysterious Problem:
I started my third 140km journey from Ahmedabad to Baroda and after 30km I heard a very loud screeching sound coming from the front disc brake. I stopped the bike & called the dealer who advised me to come back. On my way back, just before reaching the showroom the noise stopped. I could not explain the problem & they could not understand. I continued my journey & that problem never appeared after that. This was the day when I completed 200km in a day.

Soon, my family started the shopping of RET500. There are so many online options to buy different stuff according to your priorities. I got the following accessories:-

1. Dirt Sack Long Ranger Saddlebag (Rs. 3,200). 22 litres per side, 14.5”x11”x8.5”.

Other useful features are as below:-
– 840 denier ballistic nylon exterior for durability
– Reinforced side walls and base for added strength and shape retention
– Seams are bound on the inside and stress points are reinforced
– All sides, top and bottom are padded with .25″ foam insulation
– Soft plush interior lining
– Quick release buckles allow for easy mounting and dismounting
– U-shaped open loading main compartments allow easy packing and access to contents
– Six exterior zippered pockets
– 3M – 500 cd lux high visibility reflective tapes on 3 sides for safe low light riding
– Heavy duty YKK zippers & slides



2. DSG Revive Gloves (Rs. 2,250)


3. MOTOtech Stealth Balaclava (Rs. 380)


4. Teflon Coating (approx. Rs. 800)

Got it done at the showroom

5. Front Mudguard logo plate (Rs. 800) with Stickers



I am still thinking of the deserving place to stick it!

6. Glass mounting on the Headlamp (Customized)

The gap between the speedometer and the headlamp was a bit hollow & hence my brother who is a product designer prepared this accessory and mounted it on the headlamp. It has the reflectors on it that enhance the look of the bike!


The Customized head lamp mounting.

My dream destination is Ladakh. One day, when my leaves get approved by my boss, I will be heading for that with my friends!

Now as the production of RE is going to increase, the lifetime opportunity of owning one will be a readily available option for many. As RE has intended, it will successfully penetrate into the market of young IT professionals. With Mr. Sidharth Lal vision, it has already been looked upon as the ‘Cool Urban Bike’!

‘Yeh Bullet Meri Jaan, Manzilon Ka Nishaan’


30 Responses to “Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 – Made like a Gun, Runs like a Bullet”

  1. January 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I every time used to read post in news papers but now as I am a user
    of internet so from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

  2. 2 Reeto
    February 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Congratulations on your purchase. Agreed the TB500 is loaded with features first time on a RE but you haven’t mentioned the negative aspects of the product. The brakes to be honest are strictly insufficient for a bike of this weight. The rear disk brake is as bad as the rear drum brake that is seen on all other RE bikes. Moreover, RE needs to raise the power to 22nd century levels, a 27.2 bhp and 41.3 Nm of Torque from a UCE 500cc mill isn’t definitely anything to brag about. A 500cc UCE powered cruiser must have the ability to cruise effortlessly at speeds above 110 kmph all day, this is something that NONE of the RE500s can manage. Excessive vibrations at 100 kmph and above completely destroys the fun of long distance cruising and instead leads to fatigue.

  3. April 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Have U changed the Silencer yet?? Is it possible to change the silencer in TB 500? or we have ti replace the whole bend pipe?

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