The Super Meteor 650 is touted as the next big thing from Royal Enfield – it’s got a big heart, a big footprint, and a big price tag. But can it deliver on its big promise? We find out.
You’ve already heard and seen an awful lot about Royal Enfield’s big twin cruiser – the Super Meteor 650. Since its global unveil at EICMA 2022, it’s been grabbing headlines, and for all the right reasons. We got our first taste of RE’s super cruiser a month ago at the Rider Mania, although the folks at RE shrewdly kept its keys away from us, claiming that 'good things come to those who wait.’
Thankfully, a month later, RE lived up to their promise and flew a bunch of us to Jaisalmer to experience the Super Meteor in all its glory. On some of the country’s finest highways, we got to push the Super Meteor 650 to its absolute limit, and we’ve to say, we came back fairly impressed with what RE’s first ‘super’ cruiser has to offer. Here’s our detailed ride report:
Bold & Beefy
While a lot has already been said about the Super Meteor 650’s appearance, it’s kind of mandatory to glance over the Super Meteor’s aesthetics once more, for the sake of this review if not for anything else.
Now, when it comes to the design, the Super Meteor has all the hallmarks of a classic cruiser – you’ve got a low and wide seat, a swept-back handlebar, a teardrop-shaped fuel tank, 19-inch front and 16-inch rear alloy wheels shod with fat tyres, a solid rear fender, classic round lamps all around, and an overall beefy look. The foot-forward riding position and low centre of gravity make for a laidback and comfy riding posture. In typical RE fashion, there are a host of colours and customisation options available with the Super Meteor – the standard variant has five colour options, whereas the Tourer version, the one with a windscreen, touring seat, a pillion backrest, and a grabrail, gets two dual-tone paint schemes. It’s a good-looking machine, for sure.
What’s more, the Super Meteor is the most modern RE in terms of features and equipment, since it’s the first RE to feature full LED headlamps as well as upside-down forks. Elsewhere, though, you’ll find familiar bits that you see on lower RE models. For instance, the part-analogue part-digital instrument cluster, tripper navigation pod, and switchgear are all very similar to those of the Meteor 350. However, to give the Super Meteor a more upmarket feel, the switch grips have a brushed aluminium finish, which looks quite cool and premium.
On the whole, the quality and fit-and-finish of materials are more than satisfactory with little to complain about. However, we’ll still wait for a few months before giving a final verdict on its build quality – as we’ve experienced in the past with newer Royal Enfields, some panels and mirrors do come off loose in just a couple of weeks.
Upping the Ante
Technically, the Super Meteor is a lazy (& heavy) derivative of the Interceptor 650 and Continental 650. And that’s how it is – apart from sharing the 47bhp/52Nm producing 648cc parallel-twin motor and a six-speed gearbox, the Super Meteor’s hardly got anything in common with its other two 650 siblings. Compared to its naked counterparts, the super cruiser has got a relaxed rake and a longer wheelbase (1,500mm vs 1,400mm of the Interceptor), and it’s also around 40kgs heavier (kerb weight of 241kgs). The frame is also all-new – it’s got a steel tubular spine frame. The biggest upgrade, as I mentioned earlier also, comes in the form of its suspension. The Super Meteor incorporates 43mm Showa BPF upside-down front forks and a twin gas-charged setup at the rear.
With our ride route concentrated around Jaisalmer’s straightaways, there was not much on the agenda apart from going full throttle all the time. After half a day of blasting off on the smooth and silky tarmac of Rajasthan, there are three things that stood out for me in the Super Meteor – Ride & Handling, Performance, and Comfort – in that particular order.
Thanks to its top-shelf suspension components, long wheelbase, and low centre of gravity, the Super Meteor’s ride-and-handling balance is stellar. The suspension isn’t just adept at absorbing bumps and road undulations at high speeds, it also offers a plush ride and stupendous high-speed manners. No Royal Enfield has felt this surefooted and planted at speeds over 120km/h, ever. Similarly, while it’s no corner carver, the Super Meteor tracks long and flowing corners in a predictable and rather competent manner. It’s a slow-steering motorcycle and takes its own sweet time to lean over, but it’s not a wrestling match as you might imagine. You’ve to be wary of its size, no doubt, but it’s not nervous or cumbersome. The way this behemoth steers...well, let’s just say that it felt way more sophisticated and mature than I was expecting!
Being a cruiser with a limited amount of suspension travel, especially at the rear, does have its share of problems though. Bad roads and sharp bumps highlight its suspension’s firm edge, and the clash between the road and the rear shocks can catch your spine by surprise more often than not. Personally, I don’t see it as a deal-breaker. Given the advancements in other areas, I can see myself living with this flaw without any bother.
The Super Meteor's braking system comprises a 320mm front disc – which is the same size as that of the Interceptor – and a 300mm rear disc – which is 60mm bigger than that of the Interceptor. Surprisingly, the brakes felt adequate for the job. In fact, they were good enough to bring the Super Meteor to a halt from triple-digit speeds in a reassuring manner, which was something I didn’t expect given its weight. The OE-spec Ceat Zoom Cruz tyres also offer decent grip levels, which was again a pleasant surprise.
Smooth as Silk
Next up is the performance. Well, no surprises here, as it’s got the same tried-and-tested 648cc powerplant. It’s a silky-smooth twin motor that’s got enough poke for highway duties. Even though the motor has to lug nearly 40 kilos more than it does in the Interceptor, it hardly feels underpowered or stressed. It pulls cleanly from low speeds without any drama, while its meaty mid-range has more than enough punch to hurl this big burly cruiser to speeds north of 140km/h! Vibrations are kept in check for the most part, although at high speeds – above 120km/h in sixth gear – you’ll notice a fair bit of jangle and buzz through the bars and the pegs. At low speeds, the engine is quite tractable, but at really low rpm – say 20km/h in 2nd gear – you’ll find yourself slipping the clutch to keep the momentum. The clutch action is also a little heavy, in typical RE fashion. The gearbox, on the other hand, is quite smooth-shifting and not clunky at all. The Super Meteor's got a fuel tank capacity of 15.4 litres, so with an efficiency of around 25-27km/l – which is what you’ll get realistically – it’ll have a range of 370 to 400km between refills.
Lastly, the Super Meteor’s comfort. This is no half-hearted cruiser, for every single component works towards making it an able mile-muncher. The ergonomics are super relaxed, the saddle is large and accommodating, and with your legs and arms fully stretched out, you can go for miles and miles without a care in the world. Even after covering 100km in a day, I felt I could do another 200 or 300km very easily – provided the roads were as straight and smooth as Rajasthan’s state highways. And, for me, this is what the Super Meteor’s main selling point is going to be – there’s no Royal Enfield on the market, or never has been, that feels so well-suited for a highway cruise. The Super Meteor is made for long-distance riding, period!
On the flip side, its weight and generous proportions make it a bit impractical for everyday use, for its turning radius is no less than that of a small planet! You also feel its girth while wheeling it around at low speeds or in stop-go traffic. So, as a daily commuter, the Super Meteor will likely suffer, or make you suffer.
The Super Meteor is Royal Enfield’s most premium product yet, which clearly reflects in its pricing. With its ex-showroom price tag ranging between Rs 3.49 lakh and Rs 3.79 Lakh, the Super Meteor commands a hefty premium over its 650cc siblings. However, considering what you get in return, it’s more than justified. The Super Meteor is a plush and premium cruiser that truly feels like a world-class product. There are no compromises here in terms of performance, handling, or comfort – it’s a super-cruiser in the true sense of the term. If there’s one thing that doesn’t work in its favour, it’s perhaps the fact that, unlike other REs, the Super Meteor isn’t as versatile, meaning it’s a bit of a heavy bruiser for daily commutes. But if you’re a laid-back rider who's just into munching miles and riding into the sunsets, the Super Meteor 650 is the bargain of the decade, and then some.
- Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650
Engine: 648cc / Parallel -Twin / Air- & Oil-Cooled
Power: 47bhp @ 7,250rpm
Torque: 52Nm @ 5,650rpm
Price: ₹3.49 - 3.79 Lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: Not just a 'super' cruiser, the Super Meteor 650 also sets new benchmarks for Royal Enfield.