Friday, January 19, 2024

What they're saying about the Shotgun 650

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 in a corner.
Best photo I've seen of the Royal Enfielde Shotgun 650 Los Angeles introduction comes from Motoring World

To each their own, and the reviewers who rode the new Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 at its press launch in Los Angeles, California didn't hesitate to reference personal preferences. 

Did they all ride the same motorcycle? The reader almost wonders. 

The press launch reviews variously found the Shotgun 650 a canyon carver, or just an urban cruiser. It was narrow enough to lane split (tolerated in California) or it was too wide. The motor was butter smooth, or it left them with tingling fingers. The gearbox was precise, or it dished out false neutrals. The seat was well padded, or it was "unpadded." 

The most outrageous comments came from Simon Hancocks of VisorDown

"The real party piece of the Shotgun, though, is how you can get the back end slithering about on the way into a corner. Trail the rear brake, which is very powerful, and even with the ABS kicking in you’ll have the rear stepping out a little as the bike scrambles in the direction you point the bars. It’s hilarious!" 


The unintentionally funniest evaluation I found came from HTAuto:

"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 the motorcycle is made by Royal Enfield."

Oh, swell!

These reviewers rode the Shotgun 650 -- I sure haven't. And they are as a class far better riders than am I. So their opinions matter.

Here are samples of what they found GOOD, and BAD. Click on the links to read their complete thoughts about the Shotgun 650.


"Where the Super Meteor 650 offers the promise of an agreeable, amiable burble through the countryside, the Shotgun 650 instills a sense of urgency in the rider instead. It's not about relaxing; it's about getting out and seizing the day by any means necessary. " RideApart

"With the footrests positioned a massive 11.2 inches further back and 3.2 inches lower down on the same chassis as the Super Meteor, coupled with the taller but still accessible seat, the result is a more rational, but also sportier, riding stance for the Shotgun."

"The Shotgun feels built for an LA commute. Its low-end torque and easy clutch make the Stoplight Grand Prix a breeze, easily outpacing cars that may try to lay claim to lanes that bikes can lawfully share, and the upright riding position gives you confidence to weave past potholes." Jalopnik

"The semi-attack riding position provides better opportunity for more responsive inputs, and while the 31.3-inch saddle might feel tall to some, for this 5-foot-6 rider, the triangle was great, offering all-day comfort with a semi-easy reach to the bar and a mellow bend at the knees." Cycle World

"As we climbed, quickly changing direction and curving up the switchbacks, the effects of chassis adjustments from Meteor to Shotgun were clear and highly appreciated. The Shotgun is nimble and felt planted while flowing smoothly through tight and sweeping turns alike. When quick or sharp adjustments were needed, the bike handled them well, maintaining composure and quickly falling back to the intended line." BikeEXIF

"The integration of a usable rear rack into the mount for the rider and passenger seat is such a good and useful idea. While many bikes have accessories available to expand their ability to carry items, having it available right out of the box without having to buy a separate accessory is thoughtful." RideApart

"Out of the crate there’s nothing cheap feeling about the Shotgun 650, despite its affordable price tag. Its blue, white, grey or green paint jobs are quality, and classy touches include the enamel-like finish on the rocker and engine covers, handlebar clamp and cast headlight surround. The seat is nicely stitched and the mudguards and side panels are metal, not plastic." Motorcycle News

"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." Overdrive

"This bike is happy in every situation, as many may have already experienced the butter smooth 650 twin with a nice short throw six-speed transmission. This lovely combo does well in a club sport-retro look and feel, in a comfortable quickish avatar." EVOIndia

"An admirable trait of modern Royal Enfields is that they’re all user-friendly, and I don’t see a first-time Shotgun buyer needing much time to get used to the bike." Motoring World

"When you piece it all together, the Shotgun is a motorcycle that appeals more in terms of its design and identity than its utility. It is a reasonably usable motorcycle, but it does come across as a rather niche one." Autocar India


"The motorcycle has a narrower handlebar than we had imagined, and it is positioned away from the rider. So, you have to reach out for the grips, unless you have really long arms. But then, people who like a sportier seating position, will find this to be a good fit. " Car&Bike

"Where the Super Meteor felt surprisingly lightweight, nimble, and flickable, however, the Shotgun oddly doesn’t. Despite the revised geometry, where Enfield even went so far as to shorten the bike’s wheelbase relative to the Super Meteor, the suspension simply feels off-kilter when the roads get twisty...  the stiff shocks and skittish front end won’t be training anyone to push their limits as a rider." Jalopnik

"Although the Shotgun carries its weight well, we’d like it to lose a few pounds, especially when you consider its Super Meteor sibling weighs just a touch more while having a bigger tank, and the INT650 weighs nearly 50 pounds less while having most of the same kit." Cycle World

"As for the Royal Enfield Shotgun 650’s custom bike aspirations, like most production machines that are developed from a concept, it’s an adaptation of someone’s unique vision. Royal Enfield’s accessories are intelligently designed and versatile, but unique to this model and reliant on the stock design. But will the custom scene at large embrace it as a platform? Only time will tell." BikeEXIF

"There’s no tacho, just a single round instrument combining an analog speedo with an inset LCD digital panel showing gear selected, fuel level, time, odo and twin trips, and a USB socket is fitted, too. Royal Enfield’s free-to-use Turn-by-Turn Tripper navigation pod, developed in collaboration with Google which links to the rider’s smartphone via Bluetooth, is included as standard, same as on the Super Meteor. Sorry, but there’s no holder for your phone, though – you must buy one from the range of 31 RE accessories available."

"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." Overdrive

"At slower speeds, it feels reluctant to hold its line requiring repeated steering inputs. It's not bad, just more work than one would like. The front end also doesn't react well to mid-corner bumps. Instead of absorbing it with grace, brushing it off, and holding its line, it gets agitated. And if the bump is even slightly pronounced the front end can skip, shake, and discourage the rider." BikeWale

"Despite its excellent handling, it does have a noteworthy drawback – the heavy front-end feel. Carelessness around corners can catch you off guard, as the motorcycle tends to buck in rather quickly, in contrast to an otherwise predictable and user-friendly riding package." AutoX

"The first thing I’m noticing is that ground clearance is an issue – you don’t have to provoke the Shotgun much to have it grinding away its pegs!" VisorDown

"This motorcycle not only looks long and low; it actually is with a clearance figure of just 140mm. With plenty of caution, I got through a few days of riding without scraping the bike, but there’s no escaping that you will always need a careful approach over bad roads and speed breakers, especially if you have a pillion and/or luggage." Autocar India

"Naturally, if pure performance and/or long-distance touring are your priorities, there are better options out there; the Shotgun is a motorcycle for the heart, though, and for those who want an enjoyable riding experience with a dash of character, it delivers in spades." Motoring World


  1. Anonymous1/20/2024

    Dave, Good stuff! We ought to enjoy RE’s multi iterations out of a singular platform. As to the variety of opinions, well, who’d dare to deny there’s something in the air out in California! Phil/NJ

  2. Anonymous1/23/2024

    Good article. Seems like a nice bike but I'm not sure what really makes it all that different than an interceptor, other than being much heavier. I would think an interceptor could probably do everything better. Must just come down to looks, and/or wanting to be able to create a new bike without starting from scratch.


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