[UPDATE January 16, 2024: Royal Enfield has now announced pricing on the Shotgun 650 in four regions so far: India, the UK, Germany, and France. Pricing for other regions to follow closer to the actual release dates of the Shotgun 650 in those regions later in 2024.]

Original piece follows.

Sometimes, it only takes a few millimeters of difference to impact how something rides. From bar risers and clip-on handlebars to adjustable foot controls (and pegs), there's a potential world of change encompassed in such a seemingly small measurement.

For that reason, attending the global launch of the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 was of particular interest to me. After all, I'd ridden a 2023 Super Meteor 650 not long before, so those riding impressions were fresh in my mind. The Shotgun 650 uses the same engine and frame, but changes plenty else to create both different riding characteristics and a different aesthetic.

How different would the riding experience be in practice, though? I was eager to throw a leg over and find out. From busy streets and highways in and around sunny Los Angeles, California up into the twisty, gorgeous, and mildly intimidating canyons, I spent a day getting to know the Shotgun 650 from the cockpit so I could come back and tell you about it.

Similarities and Differences

2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - First Ride - Riding 34

2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - Riding

2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Riding 11

2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Riding

Both the Super Meteor 650 and the Shotgun 650 are meant to sit at the top of the 650 Twin range. They use the same engine and gearbox, as well as the same chassis. However, as you can see in these two photos featuring the same rider (hi there), which were taken just a few months apart, the riding position is quite different.

The Shotgun 650 ditches the forward controls of the Super Meteor 650, opting instead for a more neutral roadster-type foot positioning. At the same time, the bars draw the rider further forward, angling more of your body weight over the front end of the bike. The shorter wheelbase, smaller diameter front wheel, and shortened front fork also add to a much greater feeling of connection with the road for the rider.

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. 

There's a place for both types of bike and both types of riding, but their differences are more than skin deep.

City Riding

2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - First Ride - Riding 23

If you live in a place where lane splitting is legal, it's quite easy to do on the Shotgun 650. Even though all the bikes on the press ride were outfitted with bar-end mirrors, zipping in between cars and trucks on the highway was no trouble at all. The sharpness of the handling and the general tractability of the 650 twin engine worked in tandem to egg us on as we cut through the highway congestion with ease. 

Likewise, the Shotgun 650 also feels well-balanced at low speeds, making those stop-and-go traffic maneuvers quickly start to feel like second nature. It also turns well, making both regular and U-turns a pretty simple thing to accomplish. Braking power also seems appropriate to the task at hand.

It may have only been me, but one thing I noticed as a consistent small complaint was that I had trouble finding neutral pretty much all day long. Since I didn't have that problem on the Super Meteor 650, it's possible that it was either just my bike or something about the combination of the shifter and my boot/foot position. 

Fun Riding

2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - First Ride - Riding 6

The Angeles Crest Scenic Highway practically begs both motorcycle and automotive enthusiasts to see what they and their machines are made of. It's here that Royal Enfield led us to see what the Shotgun 650 could do, and it's not at all difficult to understand why. While it can get technical in places, it's a gorgeous, challenging, but also well-maintained stretch of curvy, winding road.

How did the Shotgun 650 do? It's a cinch to ease through curves, though it's also quite easy to find yourself going a little faster than you thought you were and then needing to pull yourself back before you go through a corner too hot. It's a beautiful route, to be sure, but mountains on one side and drops on the other make you very aware of the price of a mistake. The bike is happy enough to plunge headfirst through turns, but it's also content to dial back a little if you want to take in a little more of the scenery as you go.

Things I Liked

2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - First Ride - Riding 28
  • It's a personal preference for sure, but this seating position feels more connected to both the bike and the road. That's something that I personally prefer in a bike. At the same time, you're not leaned over so far forward that a long ride is going to put undue stress on your wrists. This is probably a good position for a lot of riders.
  • The blacked out aesthetic on the Shotgun 650 is quite nice to see in person, and the overall aesthetic is good. Fit and finish feels solid and inviting.
  • 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.
  • It's not a sportbike, but the handling is more than adequate for city, highway, and fun twisty riding.

Things I Didn't Like

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - Studio - Plasma Blue - Overhead View
  • While the Shotgun 650 carries over the aluminum switchgear cubes on the handlebars that were first introduced on the Super Meteor 650, they're blacked out to go along with all the other blacked out accessories on this bike. I understand why they did it, but a brushed aluminum look instead would have been amazing. Blacking them out makes them blend into the bike instead of standing out as the polished, proud, and non-plastic-y accents that they are.
  • Similarly, a brushed aluminum bezel around the headlight would also have taken the styling up to the next level. Seeing similar concepts on some of the customized Shotgun 650s that were at the launch party further solidified that idea, but I suppose that's what the entire #ByCustomForCustom campaign surrounding the Shotgun 650 is for.
  • Having trouble finding neutral isn't fun. While it's not a problem that's unique to this bike (and again, could simply have been the unit that I rode, not all Shotgun 650s in general), it always detracts from the overall experience.

Conclusion

2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - First Ride - Riding 11

Lots of bikes can take you to lots of places, but if you're a rider who wants to feel more connected to both your bike and the road, the Shotgun 650 is a pretty solid option. Most manufacturers release a slew of OEM accessories for their new bikes, but Enfield is particularly keen on the customization potential of the Shotgun 650; hence the blank-slate nature of the stock bike.

Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - Studio - Stencil White - Rear View

The stock mirrors on the Shotgun 650 are the ones shown in the studio image above, not the bar-ends we used during our press ride (as you'll see in all the photography from the event). They're just one of several accessories that Enfield will offer as it starts rolling the Shotgun 650 into showrooms in 2024.

Pricing information has yet to be announced, and will vary by market as Royal Enfield releases the bike in various geographic regions around the world. For reference, in the US, the 2023 Super Meteor 650 starts at $6,999 and ranges up to $7,499 depending on trim level.

Gallery: 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 - First Ride

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