2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 Offers Smooth Style

Jackson Wheeler
11 Min Read

  • Royal Enfield has been on a roll when it comes to introducing new models for the US market, banking on a 648cc twin powerplant.
  • Launching the roadster-style Shotgun 650, Royal Enfield is trying to capture a wider swath of the middleweight twin-cylinder market.
  • Pricing has yet to be announced for the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650, but a lack of modern technology and questionable quality indicate this bike will be on the cheaper side.

New for 2024, the Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 begs the question of whether it’s better to buy a new bike for this price or a (possibly better) used bike for the same amount of money. Problem is, there is no pricing yet. That will come in “spring,” they say. More on that in a bit.

The Shotgun 650 you see here is the freshest derivative of the 648cc parallel-twin family introduced in 2018. When this platform and engine were introduced, we got to ride the wheels off the Interceptor and Continental 650 models on great roads in Northern California. Having also driven a single-cylinder 500cc “Classic” model before those new 650 twins, the difference was huge.

The new 650cc bikes were miles ahead of the ancient single-cylinder in every measure: engineering, stability, and just plain fast fun. And they started for under $6000. Now Royal Enfield is introducing two new 650s: the Super Meteor and the soon-to-be-released Shotgun 650. We got some seat time on both bikes ahead of their showroom debuts. The Shotgun was the most fun so we’ll concentrate on that.

The Build

Built on a steel tubular spine frame, the Shotgun rides on a 57-inch wheelbase, same as Triumph’s Bonneville. Similarly, with a rake angle of 25.3 degrees, the Shotgun mirrors its British competitors in more ways than one. Finally, with a 3.6-gallon fuel tank, the Shotgun splits the touring and commuting difference.

However, the 530-pound Shotgun 650 manages only 47 hp all the way up at 7,250 rpm and 39 lb-ft of torque at 5,650 rpm. That’s not a lot of power for a good deal of weight, but the real-world results aren’t anything to complain about. Funneled through a rudimentary six-speed transmission (with no quick shifting capabilities), the powerband is true to its twin-cylinder roots, with a loping bottom end and meaty midrange.

Save for a tall sixth gear, the evenly spaced ratios keep the meat of the power on tap almost always, perfect for mid-city commuting. While the Shotgun didn’t feel particularly fast, it was capable of keeping up with the best of them on Los Angeles’ extensive network of freeways.

The Ride

Even with no windscreen to speak of, the direct, neck-flexing wind wasn’t an issue. But at non-rush-hour L.A. freeway speeds of around 80 mph, both the Shotgun and Super Meteor wandered around, perhaps being pulled from side to side by the rain grooves carved into the cement. Adhering to Pacific Coast Highway’s speed limit of 55 mph, however, the bikes felt truly at home.

This more docile nature carried over into other aspects of the Shotgun’s riding mannerism. With its footpegs and control pushed a few inches forward, the riding position falls somewhere between a true cruiser and a typical naked bike.

The result is an uber-comfortable but minimally aggressive riding position. On city streets, the relaxed riding position instills confidence in a rider’s ability to nudge through the sea of side-view mirrors and still get a foot down in time. Equipped with a set of narrow, dirtbike-style bars, our only real ergonomic complaint was heavy steering at slow speeds.

a black royal enfield shotgun 650 motorcycle with a white backgroundClick for gallery

Royal Enfield

Models shown have the single seat. Ours had seating for 2.

With a 31.2-inch seat height, the Shotgun is accessible to riders of nearly every stature, though the combination of a low seat and forward pegs made canyon carving a slower, more careful ordeal. Fitted with Showa’s Big Piston inverted front forks and a set of twin shocks in the rear, the bike felt damped for somewhat heavier riders.

The combination of an 18-inch front wheel and forward foot positioning discourages an immediate front-end turn-in. Give it a bit of muscle and it is willing to dive in, as long as you watch the lean angle. We personally didn’t drag any pegs considering the layer of fresh precipitation in Topanga Canyon, but the possibility was apparent in a number of instances.

Equipped with a two-piston caliper and 320mm rotor up front, braking is another weak point for the Shotgun. With only a single disc at the front and a 300mm disc paired with the same two-piston caliper at the rear, overall braking power is minimal if balanced across the length of the bike. Simply put, the lever lacked an immediate bite and remained squishy throughout its travel.

With an estimated starting price in the $6,000 to $7,000 range, we can’t expect the Shotgun to feature the most up-to-date technology. However, the lack of a tachometer is puzzling in the face of a gear position indicator and fuel gauge. We were able to ride by feel, of course, but knowing where you are in the engine revolution range isn’t asking for much.

The Competition

Despite being based in Wisconsin, Royal Enfield’s biggest competitor comes from its own place of origin—the United Kingdom. Squaring with Triumph and its classic Bonneville models, Royal Enfield’s key advantage is price. A Shotgun 650 will almost certainly cost at least $5000 less than the cheapest Triumph Bonneville, though possibly at the expense of overall quality.

Other competitors are closer in price: the Kawasaki Ninja 650 is $8,299, Yamaha XSR700 $8,899, and the Honda CBR500R is $7,299.

a red motorcycle with a black handlebar


Possible competitor: Honda CBR500R for $7,299.

Which brings us to the used bike option. Scrolling through our sister site, Bring a Trailer, we found, just randomly, the following used motorcycle options to consider instead of buying a new anything: a 2000 Ducati Monster S recently sold for $4,999, 1971 Norton Commando Cafe Racer $6,500, 1973 BMW R75/5 LWB for $7,500.

Okay, maybe Cycle Trader has newer bikes to compare with the Royal Enfield that won’t be maintenance nightmares, consider: a 2023 Honda SCL500 at $6,799, 2015 BMW R nineT $8,670, a 2012 Triumph Sport Touring Tiger Explorer ABS $6,499, 2007 BMW K 1200 GT Sport Touring $4,199, 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod $4,295, and many more. Those might perform the same function as a Royal Enfield and, if they’d been properly cared for, create fewer maintenance headaches. Or maybe the new Royal Enfield doesn’t have maintenance headaches.

Who knows? Life’s full of gambles.

In any case, Royal Enfield’s U.S. presence is growing rapidly. Originally founded at the turn of the 20th century in Worcestershire, England, the line of succession since then has cemented Royal Enfield as an Indian brand through and through, with its headquarters in Chennai, India.

Following a number of corporate shifts in 2015, Royal Enfield established its first US headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that same year. Deep in Harley-Davidson territory may seem like a dangerous place for market competitors, but Royal Enfield was set on establishing its own niche in the Americas.

And the Indian manufacturer has had no problem doing so, either. After launching the mass market, 411cc dual-sport known as the Himalayan in 2016, Royal Enfield followed up with eight additional models, ranging from 350cc up to this 648cc.

Now, with the Shotgun 650, Royal Enfield is aiming to cover the entire middleweight segment, from cafe racer to roadster and cruiser.

How much technology do you want on a motorcycle? Why? Please share your thoughts below.

Headshot of Emmet White

A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles. After learning to ride at 17, Emmet worked in the motorcycle industry before joining Autoweek in 2022. The woes of alternate side parking have kept his fleet moderate, with a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750 street parked in his South Brooklyn community.

Headshot of Mark Vaughn

Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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