Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 review: The definitive modern classic

Royal Enfield’s Shotgun 650 is an ode to a blast from the past
The Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 is a proper middleweight cruiser with character
The Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 is a proper middleweight cruiser with character

Some would say the Shotgun 650 is yet another example that has come to life since Royal Enfield is keen on completely utilising its 650cc, twin-cylinder platform. Some might say it is more than an attempt to capitalise on the success of the Classic 350 by building what is essentially a larger version of the uber-popular roadster from the marque.

Having ridden all iterations of Royal Enfield’s 650cc motorcycles up to this point, when the Shotgun 650 landed at my doorstep, we sort of knew what to expect from the package. Around 47 horses and 52 Nm from a characterful, two-cylinder engine, an instrument cluster that still reminds one of the days gone by, and styling to die for.

The switchgear is simple and the instruments are old school
The switchgear is simple and the instruments are old school

The Drill Green example we had commands a premium of over INR 10,000 over the base Sheet Metal Grey colour option and definitely garners attention wherever you go. Other choices that buyers have are Plasma Blue and Stencil White. Of course, there are plenty of genuine accessories to choose from as well.

There’s something about the floating single seat, long rear fender, wide handlebar, and twin exhausts of the Shotgun that appeals to the primal in you, and there’s no point in disregarding the fact that having such a motorcycle in one’s driveway brings joy.

It also comes with a beautiful nacelle
It also comes with a beautiful nacelle

Once the initial impressions are out of the way, one begins to see what the motorcycle is made of, and here too, there’s good news. The Shotgun 650 comes with Showa suspension at both ends, LED headlight and tail lamp and a Tripper navigation assist.

The moment you push the starter toggle, the motorcycle rumbles to life, and it is clear that the exhaust note is a tad louder than it is with other 650s from Enfield. Put it in gear, and the Shotgun is eager to move off the line. Switching between the ratios is a breeze, and the clutch is not very heavy either. In no time, one is riding at the speed limit, and the motor has so much more to give!

The design of the motorcycle is pure ace
The design of the motorcycle is pure ace

Going in a straight line is something the Shotgun likes to do. That’s partly because of the chassis, which is derived from the Super Meteor, and partly because of the 240 kg (kerb) weight.

Show it some corners, and the middleweight cruiser struggles visibly. It will corner like any other motorcycle, but because the front USD forks have more travel (120 mm) than the hard rear shocks (90 mm travel), while cornering at speed on uneven roads, the rear wheel struggles to put the power down, while the front end feels overtly soft.

The motorcycle comes with a lot of blacked components
The motorcycle comes with a lot of blacked components

It is not confidence-inspiring then, but as soon as the corners are dealt with at medium speeds and the throttle is opened, the flaw is forgiven, for the motorcycle moves with poise.

But due to the rear shocks being stiff, one has to be careful while going through not-so-well-made roads. Also, with only 140 mm of road clearance on offer, navigating pothole-ridden roads should be planned as well.

The 648cc engine is a pure workhorse and it feels like it can
produce more power if tuned well

Put simply, the motorcycle goes like stink when needed, looks fan-bleeding-tastic, sounds amazing, has a stiff rear, and is afraid of corners. So, why should one buy it over the other 650s sold by Enfield? Well, the answer is simple: the bike has oodles of character.

You don’t buy a motorcycle like this because you want a machine that will take you from point A to point B in the most comfortable and fast manner. You buy it to own a stylish machine and enjoy every ride, and with the Shotgun, that is what you’ll do.

From INR 3.59 lakh-INR 3.73 lakh (ex-showroom, Chennai).

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