Royal Enfield’s trendy 650 platform has confirmed its versatility time and time once more on these pages. So when Royal Enfield unveiled the SG650 cruiser idea at EICMA again in 2021, our curiosity was piqued. Now that idea has discovered its means into manufacturing, within the type of the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.
Developed below the mantra of ‘impressed by customized, for customized,’ the Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 is a extra aggressive riff on the Tremendous Meteor 650 cruiser platform, with styling impressed by manga, post-apocalyptic video video games, and retro cinema. However how does it journey and current in actual life? To search out out, we headed into Los Angeles at Royal Enfield’s invitation to check this new machine on a few of California’s most iconic roads.
The Shotgun 650 shares an engine and chassis with the Meteor 650, however little else. Rake is steepened from 27.6 levels on the Meteor to 25.3, and path is shortened from 119.38 mm to 101.4. The result’s a wheelbase that’s 35 mm shorter for nimble, responsive dealing with.
A floating solo seat mounts behind the fuel tank, very similar to the idea bike, and a standard cruiser-style flat-sided rear fender attire the Shotgun’s tail part. The fuel tank form is one thing between a Honda CB750 tank and a Harley Sportster peanut unit; sure, it’s a bizarre crossover, however the form offered right here works very effectively.
Just like the SG650 idea, there’s a solid nacelle that wraps across the headlight and frames the Shotgun’s spherical gauge programs. Swap housings on the handlebars are solid as effectively, guaranteeing that steadily used touchpoints really feel high-quality and durable. These items alone really feel too good for the anticipated worth level.
The Shotgun 650’s funky styling makes it arduous to put this mannequin in a single class. The primary aesthetic line of the bike is typical retro customary, with customary ergonomics like mid-controls and low-rise handlebars. However the tubular metal body has cruiser-esque traces and the floating solo seat appears to be like bobber-ish.
Up to now, we’ve seen extra generic fashions discover better success within the customized world, versus bikes that take styling dangers like this. Maybe it’s best to examine your private type applied on a much less distinctive platform.
We noticed 4 liveries in our check session, every completely different from the following and nice-looking from afar. However if you get shut to examine the paint, you’ll see raised traces across the Royal Enfield graphics; some form of printed cutout vinyl beneath the clear coat even exhibits small shadows on the ‘Stencil White’ mannequin.
This is able to be simpler to miss if it wasn’t instantly in entrance of the rider in every of the 4 liveries. When a lot consideration is paid to high-quality particulars that make the bike really feel sturdy and everlasting, it’s disappointing for the model’s title on the fuel tank to really feel like a cost-saving measure.
Our efficiency check started in downtown Los Angeles—the place everybody’s in a rush and visitors is dense, however a number of interstate highways are lower than a mile away. It’s loud and it’s hectic, however the Shotgun suits in completely. The bike picks up off of its kickstand simply and carries its weight effectively, feeling nimble and comparatively mild whereas maneuvering out of our lodge parking zone and into metropolis visitors.
From pink mild to pink mild, the Shotgun is well-balanced. Gear ratios are shared with the Tremendous Meteor and first-through-third gears are well-tuned, delivering fast acceleration whereas not requiring too-rapid shifts. Right here, the bike is straightforward to take pleasure in.
Anybody who’s sampled Royal Enfield’s 648 cc parallel twin is aware of how straightforward it’s to get together with. Just like the Tremendous Meteor, the Shotgun’s mill is setup to ship 46.3 hp at 7,250 rpm and 52.3 Nm of torque at 5,650 rpm (a hair much less energy and extra torque than the Interceptor).
The Shotgun 650 is suspended by Showa Massive Piston forks and rear shocks which can be 20 mm longer than these discovered on the Tremendous Meteor, with 18F/17R wheels. Regardless of the shocks being adjusted to their minimal pre-load adjustment, the rear suspension was stiff, which was accented additional by the dearth of padding within the seat. The forks have been wonderful although, sustaining composure and offering wonderful street really feel at each excessive and low speeds, with out extreme dive below arduous braking.
Getting arduous on the fuel as we entered the freeway, the Shotgun pulled robust, simply reaching a clean 75 mph in fourth gear. However driving right here, in fourth gear at 75 mph, made me query the tune of fifth and sixth gears.
At 80 mph, fifth nonetheless felt like I used to be barely entering into its efficient rev vary, and shifting to sixth revealed an overdrive’s overdrive that felt like it might come into mess around 100 mph. Whereas these could present some fuel-saving advantages, the Shotgun is simply not the freeway cruiser that the Tremendous Meteor is.
We left the freeway and began up twisty roads that criss-cross Angeles Forest. It’s superb how quarter-hour on the freeway can convey you out of the bustling metropolis and into one of many best driving roads on the earth.
As we climbed, shortly altering course and curving up the switchbacks, the consequences of chassis changes from Meteor to Shotgun have been clear and extremely appreciated. The Shotgun is nimble and felt planted whereas flowing easily by means of tight and sweeping turns alike. When fast or sharp changes have been wanted, the bike dealt with them effectively, sustaining composure and shortly falling again to the meant line.
The brakes on the Shotgun are well-tuned with wonderful really feel. For the dimensions and elegance of the bike, the single-front-brake rotor and its two-piston Bybre caliper are surprisingly satisfactory. Winding by means of Angeles Crest with its banked turns and clean tarmac, I discovered myself in that excellent second all of us search whereas driving: circulation state.
Effortlessly shifting by means of turns, the bike behaved precisely as anticipated and allowed me to understand the attractive environment. The world’s view of Los Angeles County doesn’t sometimes embrace uninhabited mountain ranges and expansive views of forested valleys.
We descended the mountains and began making our means again into city. By this level, minor aches have been ranging from the short-reach bars and me mountain climbing my shoulders close to my earlobes to adapt, although seemingly a symptom of my outsized 1.95 m stature. A brief freeway journey introduced us again into the town. I selected to remain in fourth gear over 70 mph and was rewarded with smoothness, whereas retaining the engine in its larger rev vary resulted in additional shortly responsive energy—all good issues.
In comparison with the Meteor, the Shotgun’s chassis geometry is in the end extra nimble with extra lean angle and higher dealing with in each situation, however basic cruising consolation is sacrificed by the unpadded seat and rear suspension. In a metropolis like Los Angeles, the place it takes three highways to get wherever, one can hardly ever lean again and benefit from the open street—so the steadiness struck right here actually does make sense.
As for the Royal Enfield Shotgun 650’s customized bike aspirations, like most manufacturing machines which can be developed from an idea, it’s an adaptation of somebody’s distinctive imaginative and prescient. Royal Enfield’s equipment are intelligently designed and versatile, however distinctive to this mannequin and reliant on the inventory design.
However will the customized scene at giant embrace it as a platform? Solely time will inform.