Thursday, December 6, 2012

Angry Bird

David Blasco has good coverage of the article about the Thunderbird that appeared in Business Standard. Here I want to refer more to what appears to be some sort of controversy surrounding this bike. Apparently, for some people, for Royal Enfield to produce a modern-looking bike is sort of inappropriate. I disagree. Obviously in India these bikes are going to sell well. There are not many cruisers in the market, and certainly none in the price range of the Thunderbird. And as infrastructure in India improves, a cruiser makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. But even in overseas markets I see potential. Consider, for instance, the Triumph Speedmaster. It is the same concept as the Thunderbird. Take a bike from the  retro line, put forward footpegs, make it look moody and mean with black paint and voila! The Speedmaster has been in the lineup of Triumph for many years now, so it clearly must have a good customer base in the US. In fact Triumph also has the "America" model cruiser based on the retro line, so there is market for even more than one model! (In fact Triumph has two more cruisers, one also named Thunderbird, but based on bigger bikes). I have ridden the Triumph Bonneville on which these bikes are based and it is a boring ride compared to a Royal Enfield. If anything I would suggest putting the footpegs even further upfront for the US market. It should sell.
For the record, I cheated a bit creating the image, the Thunderbird (left) is shorter and taller, I stretched it out to emphasize the similarities with the Speedmaster (right). Perhaps Royal Enfield should consider doing the same thing in reality. There seems to be desire out there for low, long bikes. Take a look at Her Majesty's Thunder call for bringing back the model G, for instance.

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