Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 review - a new step for RE, but does it work?

Rohit Paradkar Updated: January 15, 2024, 08:04 PM IST

The Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 burst onto the scene as a surprise unveiling at the 2023 Motoverse / Rider Mania event in Goa, capturing the attention of motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide. Positioned as a sportier take on the Super Meteor 650, the Shotgun promises an invigorating riding experience while retaining its cruiser DNA. Royal Enfield chose Los Angeles as the destination for us to try out this motorcycle - not only because America loves the quintessential bouquet of cruisers, but also because Los Angeles and the fabled "sunny California" have some of the best riding roads. Is that a bit much for a cruiser derivative? We will delve into that in a bit.

That said, I don't like to approach a new vehicle with any preconceived notions - but the utterly stiff suspension of the Super Meteor had me convinced that RE wanted to take our attention away from the firm ride by offering us the Shotgun on the smooth and arguably flawless American highways. So let us begin by addressing that elephant in the room.

Ride Quality

The Super Meteor 650, while a formidable cruiser, has faced criticism for its stiff ride quality, a common concern in the cruiser segment given the low suspension travel especially at the rear. Royal Enfield took this feedback seriously when crafting the Shotgun 650. It's evident the moment you see the increased height of the rear fender. This seemingly subtle modification liberates an additional 8-9mm of wheel and suspension travel, addressing the most significant pain points of its donor.

Venturing onto the roads of America, a pivotal market for Royal Enfield's 650 range, we experienced firsthand the impact of this alteration. Riding on some of the relatively rough terrains showcase a noticeable improvement in ride comfort. Though not as plush as the Classic, the Shotgun handles undulating surfaces with greater finesse, promising a more forgiving ride even on the pothole-ridden roads typical of every day commutes.

It's important to note that the enhanced suspension setup of the Shotgun isn't a plug-and-play solution for existing Super Meteor owners, given the low fender height and the difference in wheel sizes.

Different Ergonomics

While the Shotgun retains the suspension mounting points, chassis, and engine from the Super Meteor, Royal Enfield has significantly changed the ergonomics changes to infuse that sportier character. Lower handlebars, an 18-inch front wheel, a 17-inch rear wheel, dropped front forks, increased rear suspension, and a nuanced adjustment to the rake angle collectively redefine the riding posture to a more aggressive and forward biased stance.

The mid-mounted foot pegs not only pay homage to Royal Enfield's heritage with a classic 90-degree knee angle but also contribute to the different riding style that sets the Shotgun apart from its stablemates. Riding through the winding roads near Mulholland and the Angeles crest, the more aggressive posture translated into an engaging and dynamic riding experience. The Shotgun immediately feels sharper than the Super Meteor 650 but it's crucial to highlight that there remains a perceptible disconnect between the front and rear suspension. The rear feels noticeably softer than the front and on sudden direction changes or switchbacks, the motorcycle seems too flexible. It isn't unnerving though and once you get the hang of it, the Shotgun becomes a hoot to ride.

It feels more responsive to rider inputs, offering a sense of connection with the road that enthusiasts crave. You can lean on the front end a lot more and the front end feel and confidence is of a higher degree than any of its 650 siblings - and that says a lot about the handling package of the Shotgun. So much so that I'm now yearning for Royal Enfield to use this magic potion on the Continental GT, which will now feel lethargic in comparison to the Shotgun's quick turn-ins. The only two things limiting the Shotgun's aggressive handling are the cornering clearance imposed by its low-set foot pegs and the intent of its target audience. Most of them are going to come from the cruiser bent-of-mind and may never really exploit the handling characteristics of this bike.


But it's good to know that in the realm of these motorcycles, where the emphasis often leans towards laid-back cruising, the Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 brings a refreshing dose of playfulness to the segment. The parallel twin motor complements the riding dynamics quite well and is carried over unchanged from the Super Meteor - down to the gearing and sprocket sizes. The wheel sizes would make a theoretical difference, but not noticeable.

There is good low and midrange response and it's tuned nicely to potter around town and cruise at 120kmph on the highway. When you are gunning it around the bends like we did, the engine does run of revs quite quickly, needing you to work the gears more often. Keep the pace brisk though without trying to extract every bit of performance from the bike, and you will be able to use the midrange to your advantage without having to tough the gear shifter that often. The braking manners are excellent too and better than the first-gen 650 twins.


The Shotgun's distinctive design is inspired by contemporary custom-motorcycle trends. RE even sent out all the body panels to various custom bike builders to play around with and around a dozen of these custom Shotgun 650 motorcycles were shown to us at the lovely LA outfit of Bike Shed. It highlights that while the designers had their share of fun creating a fun handling package, the designers' primary aim was to create a more barebones variant of the Super Meteor 650 that the custom bike builders could go wild with. It provides a new and easy canvas for new and old builders and even if you don't want to tinker with the aesthetics, Shotgun 650 looks distinctive from its siblings.

Behind the Cyberpunk inspiration, there is a careful blend of heritage elements and modern design trends. The distinctive design elements, such as the raised rear fender, not only serve a functional purpose but also contribute to the Shotgun's visual identity. The marriage of tradition and modernity is further exemplified by the mid-mounted foot pegs, a nod to classic cruiser ergonomics, coexisting harmoniously with the more aggressive riding posture.

The bold colour schemes, low belt line and a brand new silhouette make for a visual narrative that speaks about Royal Enfield's commitment to evolution. While its aim is to be a canvas for bike builders allows its customers to tell their own story if they so wish.

Words Rohit Paradkar

Price (Ex-Delhi)
Starts Rs 2,65,000
Max Power(ps)
Max Torque(Nm)