RE Bullet 500, Thunderbird 500 & Classic 500 Could Be Discontinued By March 2020

RE Thunderbird 500X ABS

The manufacturer will likely stop the production of its 500 cc engine, and instead upgrade its 350 cc range to meet the stringent norms

Amid all the ongoing speculation surrounding the BS6 emission norms, reports suggest that Royal Enfield Motors Ltd might discontinue all its 500 cc motorcycles as the engine upgradation cost as well as the low sales volumes do not seem practical.

The Indian two-wheeler manufacturer currently offers the 500 cc engine with the Classic, Thunderbird and Bullet ranges. High cost of upgrading this specific engine forces the brand to focus on its bikes with the smaller 350 cc engine instead.

The push rod architecture of the existing 350cc and 500cc engines do not meet the stringent emission norms. As a result, the existing model lineup will be phased out,” said one of the four people aware of the matter, requesting anonymity. “Royal Enfield plans to restore the 350cc segment with an all-new powertrain as that accounts for the bulk of sales. Meanwhile, it would quit the 500cc displacement,” the person further added.

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A spokesperson for Royal Enfield confirmed the process of upgrading their engines to meet the BS6 emission norms is well under-way, and will be done timely. However, the said spokesperson did not confirm the news about discontinuation of RE’s 500 cc range.

Moreover, the 500 cc motorcycles, which were originally made for export markets only, do not have a distinctive appearance as compared to their 350 cc siblings. To top it off, the former have a higher asking price than the latter, resulting in lower sales volumes in the Indian market.

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Given the decision to ditch the 500 cc range, the Interceptor 650 and the Continental GT 650 will pave the way for RE exports, as the two 650 twins already have a higher export rate, and are on par with the domestic sales volumes.

As mentioned earlier, Royal Enfield currently offers its 500 cc single-cylinder 4 stroke air-cooled engine with the Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird sub-brands. The said unit produces a max power of 27.2 HP at 5,250 rpm, and has a maximum torque output of 41.3 Nm at 4,000 rpm.