Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 first ride review: Setting new benchmark

Fast forward to 2021, Royal Enfield showcased the SG650 Concept at EICMA and it got people excited because of the leap that the manufacturer took in terms of quality. The quality of switchgear, paint, coating and finish was miles ahead of what we had seen till now. In 2023, the brand finally launched the Super Meteor 650. It became Royal Enfield’s flagship motorcycle in India.

Watch: Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 first impressions: Better than Super Meteor?

Last year, at Motoverse, the motorcycle manufacturer showcased a special edition of the Shotgun 650 which is the production version of the SG650 Concept. The production version of the Shotgun 650 will go on sale soon in the Indian market and we are expecting it to be positioned below the Super Meteor 650 in the lineup.

We have had a chance to ride the motorcycle and here are our first impressions of the motorcycle.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Looks

The Shotgun 650 shares its underpinnings with the Super Meteor 650 (HT Auto/ Paarth Khatri)

The idea behind the Shotgun 650 is to have a motorcycle that is easy to customize for consumers. Basically, a canvas has been provided by the manufacturer and the consumer can customize it according to his or her liking. From the factory, the motorcycle will be offered with a rear seat but the consumer can remove it along with the sub-frame on which it is mounted. So, essentially the motorcycle transforms into a bobber.

The Shotgun 650 shouts high quality, as the paint finish, the chassis welds and the switchgear are of top-notch quality. From a distance, no one can tell that the motorcycle is made by Royal Enfield. In fact, a person came to me saying that the motorcycle costs at least 8 lakhs. That itself speaks, of how good the Shotgun 650 looks in person.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650
The paint quality on the Shotgun 650 is phenomenal. (HT Auto/ Paarth Khatri)

Royal Enfield is using the same LED headlamp that is doing duty on its other 650 cc motorcycles. It is not the best one out there. The fuel tank is new and it holds 13.8 litres of fuel. The side panels are shared with the Super Meteor 650 and so is the chassis. However, the alloy wheels are different and they measure 18-inch in the front and 17-inch at the rear. The seat height measures 795 mm which is slightly taller than the Super Meteor 650 but you should not feel any issues with it.

The chopped-off rear fender looks really nice and completes the bobber look of the motorcycle. Because the whole idea behind Shotgun 650 is customization, Royal Enfield is offering a lot of accessories for it. Most of the chrome elements have been replaced with blacked-out ones. So, the engine, headlamp surround, handlebar and even the switchgear are now in gloss black. There is also a new set of exhausts at the rear that have a pea-shooter design.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Ergonomics

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650
The rear pillion seat and sub-frame on the Shotgun 650 are removable. (HT Auto/ Paarth Khatri)

Despite being based on the Super Meteor 650, Royal Enfield has changed the ergonomics significantly. When compared to the Super Meteor, the Shotgun feels slightly on the sportier side. This is because the forward-set footpegs are gone in favour of middle-set ones. Moreover, the handlebar is flatter and lower but it still provides plenty of leverage to the rider. Because of the relaxed riding triangle, the motorcycle feels comfortable while riding in the city and should not get tiresome even on highways.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Features

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650
The instrument cluster has been borrowed from the Super Meteor 650. But the Tripper Navigation has been updated and it now responds faster. (HT Auto/ Paarth Khatri)

The feature set remains identical to the one found on the Super Meteor 650. There is LED lighting with halogen turn indicators. The instrument cluster is carried over and so is the Tripper Navigation system. However, the Tripper has been updated and it now responds faster than before so it has become usable now. There is a USB port that is positioned awkwardly behind the side panel which means that the person would need to route the cable. There are also adjustable levers on offer. The switchgear is also taken from the Super Meteor 650 which means that the rider would need to go through an adjustment period to use the pass switch because it is positioned quite high.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Specs

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650
Being an air-oil cooled motor, it still heats up in bumper-to-bumper traffic. (HT Auto/ Paarth Khatri)

The engine on duty is the same 648 cc, air-oil cooled, parallel-twin unit that is doing duty on the brand’s other 650 cc motorcycles. It puts out 46 bhp of maximum power and 52 Nm of peak torque. It is a gem of a unit, as it sounds nice, pulls aggressively and always has plenty of torque in reserve. It is a very versatile engine, as it can do 50 kmph in sixth gear and will start accelerating without any signs of protest.

The engine stays relaxed even when you are doing 100 kmph or 120 kmph and to overtake, the rider just needs to twist the throttle and the needle on the speedo starts moving towards the right side. Yes, there are a few mild vibrations on the handlebar but they would not bother you because they only come when near the redline. The engine does heat up in traffic but that is something to be expected from an air-cooled 650 cc parallel-twin motor.

The gearbox on duty is the same six-speed unit. It is slick, precise and slots in every time with positive feedback. Royal Enfield does offer a slip-and-assist clutch but the clutch pull is still on the heavier side. The exhaust design might be new but it still sounds very familiar to Super Meteor 650. Royal Enfield is claiming a fuel efficiency figure of 22 kmpl.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Comfort

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650
Suspension duties are performed by up-side down forks in the front and twin shock absorbers at the rear. Both units are supplied by Showa. (HT Auto/ Paarth Khatri)

One of the biggest gripes that people had with the Super Meteor was that the rear suspension was too stiff for Indian roads. Fortunately, the Shotgun 650 feels more forgiving and does not transfer every jolt to the rider’s back. We found the stock seat to be quite comfortable, Royal Enfield will offer accessory seats for the motorcycle. Having said that, we cannot comment on the comfort factor of the rear seat because our test bike was not equipped with it. However, Royal Enfield did say fitting the pillion seat should be easy.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Handling and braking

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650
The design of the rear fender looks gorgeous. There are new pea-shooter style exhausts on offer as well. (HT Auto / Paarth Khatri)

This is the department where the changes in the wheel sizes and ergonomics make a difference. The Shotgun is more eager to change directions and it still feels composed while taking corners. If you push it hard enough, you will manage to scrape the footpegs. The front suspension is also well damped but it does rob you away of some confidence under braking as the front-end starts to feel a bit nervous.

Speaking of braking, there are disc brakes in the front as well as the rear. The front brake offers good bite and progression while the rear one is a bit sharp but they do make this 240 kg motorcycle come to a halt. Yes, 240 kg is on the higher side but it disappears as soon as you take the motorcycle off the stand because of the low centre of gravity. However, that weight does show its presence when you have to move the motorcycle around the parking lot.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650: Verdict

With the Shotgun 650 being introduced, Royal Enfield has four motorcycles in its 650 cc lineup. However, all four are very different. When a person takes a test ride of each motorcycle, he or she would be able to know which style is preferred by them. Having said that, the Shotgun is the one which is the easiest to recommend. The suspension is on the compliant side, the riding triangle is quite comfortable for the city as well as the highway, the engine is a delight and the motorcycle feels very premium. The fact that it would be the easiest to customize is just a cherry on top.

First Published Date: 15 Jan 2024, 12:07 PM IST


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