In cruiser category, we have few options like Bajaj Avenger powered by 220cc engine and mighty Harley Davidson Street 750. The Indian make Avenger is less powered motorcycle and the HD Street 750 is a premium cruiser, so Renegade Commando 300 is said to be the only rival for Thunderbird.
Miami based United Motors launched their model Renegade Commando in early 2016. This 300cc cruiser is considered to be the perfect alternative for RE Thunderbird.
Following factors are considered while comparing these two.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 uses a 346cc, twin spark engine producing 19.8 bhp @ 5250 rpm and a peak torque of 28 Nm @ 4000 rpm. Like all other RE's, engine is mated with a 5-speed gearbox and transmits the power to rear wheels using chain drive.
Meanwhile Commando uses 279.5cc, single cylinder, liquid-cooled engine capable of delivering 25 bhp @ 8500 rpm and a peak torque of 21.8 Nm @ 7000 rpm. Here, engine is mated with 6-speed gearbox for optimum power delivery.
By looking at these figures, Commando is a better cruiser, as power delivery from bigger 350 engine is very poor. Not only that Thunderbird is much slower in the real world and engine vibrations are pretty high. On paper Commando seems to be a better engine, but we have to wait till 2017 for more exclusive results.
The Way It Looks
Commando has a scaled down American cruiser look with its low-slung seat and high held handlebars. The engineers had did their best to bring out every single detail of the this entry-level cruiser. Dual exhaust pipes, round-old looking headlamp with single-pod instrument console and the large fuel tank with a star logo enhances the cruiser characters. Some other attractions of Commando are blind spot mirrors, USB charging ports and floorboards for riders.
Thunderbird 350 is more serious looking motorcycle with with an upright riding position. It has a larger fuel tank and wider seat, which gives a macho look to the motorcycle. This is because, it comes from Enfield family and the styling has done to incorporate their DNA. Unlike Renegade, this RE doesn't have any fancy gizmos. It does have split seats with back rest, which is common for cruisers.
Thunderbird may be the best looking Royal Enfield, but when it matches with UM Renegade, the latter is best in appearance.
Suspension & Braking
Thunderbird uses a telescopic forks with 130mm travel at the front and twin gas charges shock absorbers with 5-step adjustable pre-load is used in rear suspension. Front braking of Thunderbird is undertaken by 280mm disc with 2 piston calipers and at the other end, 240mm disc with single cylinder does the job.
Meanwhile in Commando, disc braking is only featured in front wheels with the help of 280mm disc and drum brakes are used at rear wheels. Hydraulic telescopic suspension is used upfront with 41mm travel and twin hydraulic suspension with spring is used at rear.
With the upright position and wider seats, Thunderbird would be more fun to ride. With disc brakes at both the ends, high speed maneuvering can be done with more confidence.
The mill that powers Thunderbird is renowned through RE's previous models like Classic 350 and Standard 350. Mileage of this engine varies with models. Thunderbird is the least fuel efficient model of the pack by 35 to 40 kmpl. Power to weight ratio of Thunderbird is low, when compared to Commando.
The Commando's fuel efficiency and other performance figures are yet to be known.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird is available at a pricing of Rs 1.42 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) and UM Renegade Commando is priced around Rs 1.59 lakhs (approximate figures). The price of Commando will be reduced once they start manufacturing the product in India.
The Thumping Enfields are here for more than 5 decades. The reliability of these machines are great. With a range of products from retro classics to cafe racers, they are no.1 in their segments. Renegade Commando has to fight hard to gain some lands in this Enfield country. So far, the only thing which pulls back customers from buying Commando's would be the after-sales service and maintenance. For time being UM have a handful of dealerships in India. On comparing with UM, RE have 'n' number of sales and service units in all major cities and rural areas. Their spare parts are cheap and easily available when compared with UM Global and this will boost the confidence to choose Enfield over Renegade. Things may change in the years to come and we might also see a new ruler in cruiser and retro classic segments.
Specifications of Commando 300 and Thunderbird 350 is compared here