Ah, if there's one motorcycle that splits the diehard Royal Enfield community right down the middle, it's this one.
Built to appeal to the Indian mass-market, the Thunderbird was the streetbike's half-hearted cruiser cousin, a Harley-esque take on a classic British single platform.
Agreed, it had its strong points - chief among which was comfort - but the compromises in styling and handling were too much to bear for many, things that the chaps at Royal Enfield were carefully noting down all this while.
This new Thunderbird 500 is meant to be a more complete cruiser, something that will rope in newer buyers without completely alienating the seasoned die-hards who treat their motorcycles like spoilt mistresses.
Is it all that?
Well, let's just say that after riding it to the hills south of Bangalore, I got off the bike with a smile thinking - 'Hmm. Interesting.'
Text: Aneesh Shivanekar, Business Standard
Images Courtesy: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 cc