2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Review - India launch and tour!

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 2023 Review

We’re out in India for the global launch of the newest cruiser which is sure to be a hit in the UK - the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650.

As the newest motorcycle from the marque who eagerly stamp their machines as ‘made like a gun’, the brand-new Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 hopes to land with huge effect across the world. Alex was out in India for the global launch ride, two full days of highway miles and back-road smiles, this cruiser is sure to attract attention - it certainly turned heads on the launch ride.

Two variants in seven distinctive colours will give the Super Meteor 650 a huge appeal for cruising riders, if you’re after a city cruiser, a two-up tourer, or seeking the base frame for a custom bobber, the Super Meteor 650 is a mouth-watering prospect that Royal Enfield believes will “expand the market for cruisers around the world and take the Royal Enfield twin platform a notch higher” - personally I don’t think they’re far wrong.

With the promise of 6 days out in India, we flew out to Delhi before continuing on to Jaisalmer on the north-western edge of India, close to the border of Pakistan and nestled within Rajasthan. There we had our first taste of the Super Meteor riding the local roads and getting a chance to experience some stunning local areas. 

Day 2 was a real test of the touring capabilities, with an early morning rise seeing us ride 350 km from Jaisalmer to Khimsar, about 50 miles north of Jodhpur, stopping at 4 points throughout the day’s ride - often to exchange tales of ‘can you believe that cow jumped out of the hedge at us with no fear like that?’ or ‘bus drivers here genuinely have no fear - they clearly love to stick to a schedule!’.

Interestingly, on the launch, I was told that new-model priorities were adjusted following the huge success of the Meteor 350, with the focus turned to placing the 648cc twin from the Interceptor & Continental GT platform into a larger cruiser format. Understandably the now-Indian marque is eager to serve up machines that are building an appetite globally.

With the Super Meteor 650 following in the 1950s-and-on footsteps of the classic Thunderbird and Meteor 500 models of old, this newest cruiser promises easygoing thrills with that classic Royal Enfield flair, it also has huge customisation potential if that’s your thing.

I was also told that 2023 is set to be a very interesting year for Royal Enfield, with the prospect of two (or more) further models seeing releases - so we’ll keep our eyes peeled for more.

What is it like to ride a motorcycle in India?

Before we dive into the intricacies of the bike itself, I think an honourable mention goes to India. A vast & beautiful country steeped in history & traditions, rich in culture, and whose inhabitants seemed to all be absolutely bike mad. 

Or mad on bikes, I haven’t decided yet.

Whether dodging the rogue tuk-tuks, rampaging buses, wandering cows, barking dogs, three-up motorcycles, or unpredictable car drivers - the roads in India are best described as utterly chaotic. Though, the road surfaces are for the most part incredibly smooth.

Until you come across a massive speed bump which is inexplicably unsigned and unmarked.

In the two days of riding, and 6 total days out in India, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of a country that is incredibly diverse - and it was a true pleasure to ride there and see it all first-hand.

I’d highly recommend getting out there at least once in your riding career.

Now, On with the review.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Price & Availability 

Pricing for the new Super Meteor 650 is typically Royal Enfield, with prices starting at £6,799 and increasing to £7,299 depending on the colour option you go for - with the Touring variant in the upper price bracket, and given exclusive two-tone ‘Celestial’ paint.

When it comes to availability, for the UK & Europe we’re told units are scheduled to hit the road in mid-March, with bookings being taken from today onwards - so if you’re interested it’s worth popping down to your local Enfield dealer.

In terms of the full colour options, the base model will be available for £6,799 in Astral Black, Astral Blue, Astral Green, with the £6,999 Interstellar Grey & Interstellar Green. The touring variant (with touring screen, deluxe touring seat, pillion backrest) is priced at £7,299 and comes in Celestial Red & Celestial Blue.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Engine

Picked up from the hugely popular Interceptor & Continental GT twins, and placed in an all-new steel tubular spine frame, the 648cc air-oil cooled parallel twin is a really solid motor which finds a natural home in cruiser format.

With plenty of torque available from low down - 80% of the peak 52.3Nm (38.5lb-ft) available from around 2-3k revs - pulling away and getting up to speed is done with ease. Throttle response is smooth and direct, with power rolling on nicely whether at town or highway speeds. 

Peak power is claimed to be 46.4 bhp at 7250 rpm, and it certainly doesn’t struggle reaching to 70 mph when working each of the 6 gears - sixth acting as a slight overdrive for frugal and easygoing tours. It’s also worth noting that the power means the new Super Meteor 650 is A2 complaint, just like the Continental GT and Interceptor 650, with no modifications required.

There’s also a new airbox & intake, and subsequently an adjusted mapping for the motor. When compared to the current 650 twins, and even in high gears at low speeds there’s enough torque to chug you back to cruising speed with ease.

Fully pinned and fully tucked you’ll be able to reach hallowed triple-digit figures on the analogue dash (of course on private roads), though Royal Enfield has never been about raw power and top speeds. I’ll also note that the engine note is decent, but at speeds it lacks a bit of bark for me - but that’s not quite a huge problem, perhaps more of a noise emissions compliance issue.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Frame, Suspension & Brakes

One of my key notes from the ride is just how stable the Super Meteor 650 is, regardless of speed or surface. This will be in part thanks to the entirely new frame & swingarm crafted in collaboration with Harris Performance at Enfield’s UK-based tech centre.

The chassis features a new cylinder head mount for added stiffness, with the motor housed at a different angle compared to the current 650 twins. With the seat and suspension mounts meeting directly under you, the entire tail-end can be ‘easily’ removed by those looking for that ‘bobber’ style, something the dedicated custom department will no doubt be making a lot of use out of.

Upside-down 43mm Showa forks with 120 mm travel make an appearance at the front end, and are a first for Royal Enfield. They are paired to 5-step preload-adjustable rear shocks with 101 mm travel. They handle bumps seriously well and feel poised and reassuring.

For a machine that weighs in at 241 kg wet, the bike moves and is handled remarkably well, and the ride is best described as luxurious. Such weight may be off-putting for some, but with a low 740mm seat height riders of all heights will be accommodated for here. So Toad is in luck, as am I at 6’3”.

Mid-corner lines are nailed on, and you can almost point-and-shoot the Super Meteor knowing it’ll hold its line - I thought the same of its smaller sibling the Meteor 350; that too is great in the corners! Though a majority of the test ride miles were drawn out on long stretches of highway, another place where the bike performs well with excellent all-around stability.

ByBre brakes with dual-channel ABS provide the stopping force, with a single 320 mm disc on the 19” front wheel & single 300 mm disc on the 16” rear, both with twin piston floating calipers. Overall it’s a solid braking performance, and suddenly slowing for any manner or obstacles on the roads is done with confidence. The braking feel at the lever is nice and progressive, with stopping power directly equivalent to how much pressure you put through the lever.

Riding the Super Meteor 650 in India

As mentioned, there were plenty of miles to enjoy in the saddle. With the cruiser you feel like you’re sat on the bike, the tourer seat like you’re sat in the bike (and placed nicely behind the really good touring screen). 

It’s comfortable, and the riding position is surprisingly neutral for a feet-forward motorcycle. You have a heel-toe shifter to hand, the same as the Meteor 350, and once you get your head around it, you’re stomping down to shift up the gears as if you’ve done it all your life. 

Navigating India was, overall, a delight, and as we were led in big groups on our rides life was made far easier than being thrown in the deep end. The Google-backed Tripper navigation system makes another appearance here for turn-by-turn directions when paired with your smartphone. If not in use, it doubles as a simple and neat-looking clock. There’s a discreet USB socket under the left panel, too.

Day 1 was spent for the most part on desert roads, with winding trails to sleepy villages and settlements giving us a taste of local tours, whereas Day 2 gave us the taste of long highway tour days - both were handled wonderfully. 

Though there was a lack of cruise control (as there would be a requirement for a ride-by-wire throttle, adding to the overall cost), and no heated grips - a personal favourite - I’d happily recommend tours on either variant. My second day was entirely on the standard cruiser variant with no screen, but I loved it. I’ll note that the camera guys were riding two-up all day, and everyone came back with smiles on their faces and no aching limbs.

Fuel economy from the 15.7-litre tank was difficult to gauge as we topped up the tank halfway through the ride, the fuel gauge indicating that we’d covered around 150 km from an indicated half a tank - but we didn’t run it near dry, so it’s not possible to give an accurate range figure. Once the press fleet lands in the UK, we’ll be updating this review with a more in-depth, ‘living with’ update on the bike.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Accessories

As expected with any Royal Enfield motorcycle, the official accessories catalogue is extensive and filled to the brim with visual and touring bits - deluxe pegs, engine guards, frame guards, touring bars & bar-end mirrors, sump guards… the list goes on. And that’s just the official parts list!

If you wanted to go one step further, the raw simplicity of the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 platform will allow a blank canvas for bike builders to go wild. If stripping it down and running a cutdown bobber, crafting a pannier-laden tourer, or anything else you can dream up in your garage with a spanner in your hand.

But regardless, all genuine accessories can be delivered through the ‘Make It Yours’ personalisation programme when at the dealership.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 | What we like & dislike

What we like about the Super Meteor 650

  • Incredibly stable and easy to ride
  • Customisation potential is huge
  • Price point is very appetising

What we didn’t like about the Super Meteor 650

  • Engine note could be more raucous
  • Cruise control would be welcome
  • Feet positioning may be a tad of a reach for shorter riders

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 review verdict

Fuelled by a venerable parallel-twin motor, the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 is a seriously impressive thoroughbred cruiser. Easygoing, stable, stylish - it ticks the boxes for many, and comes in at a very competitive price point that will have many riders taking a second look.

Whether a cruiser fan or not, the simplicity of the Super Meteor will give custom builders (amateur tinkerers or professional chop-shops) a whirlwind of ideas, and two-up tourers will be happily accounted for with the touring variant. 

In a world where motorcycles are becoming increasingly electronic, the Super Meteor 650 keeps it rudimentary and raw, and in the best way. It offers a balanced, stable riding experience, and with no rider modes or electronics ‘getting in the way’ you get a direct feel of what is going on beneath you. But there’s still the Tripper nav unit if you get lost on the way, so not totally archaic on every front.

If the success of the Meteor 350 is anything to go by, I’d guess this succession of Super Meteor 650 will be a roaring delight in the UK and further afield.

With the potential for much more on the way in 2023 from Royal Enfield, I’d wager that you’ll see plenty of these cruisers on the road in 2023. Certainly worth dropping by the local dealership and booking yourself on a test ride.

A massive thanks to Royal Enfield for having us on the launch in India, have a look on their website to find out more - or watch our video review!

2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Video Review