Royal Enfield is rigorously testing its BS-VI range, and we have seen several test mules of the 2020 models in the past via spy photographs. The new version spotted testing, although retaining its classic style, has inevitably been modernised and appears to take some clear ‘learnings’ from its recent 650 twins.
For a start, the engine is brand new, with an external appearance much closer to that of the 650 twin.
Given the company’s requirements for smaller displacement machines, particularly for the vast domestic Indian market, we imagine capacity has remained at 500cc but it’s likely the new single will be oil-cooled just like the twins.
The bottom end of the new engine also appears to be brand new with the final drive now on the left suggesting it’s a complete redesign rather than an update of the existing engine. While another change that will upset some is the lack of a kick starter.
The current 500cc engine already has fuel injection, and this should make it easier for Royal Enfield to make the motor comply with the BS6 norms. As for the 346cc unit construction four stroke engine, it is likely to get a capacity bump up to close to 400cc, and also fuel injection. The extra displacement is likely to make the Thunderbird more powerful, and faster.
Cradling the new engine is a brand new frame that again appears to take heavily from the new twins. This appears to be a double cradle, rather than the old single tube frame, which should be significantly stiffer. The rear of the chassis, including twin shocks, appears to be largely unchanged.
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