Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 : First big bike, bought without a test ride

I will post a longer story some day, but till then it suffices to say that, the Shotgun was chosen over the Inty and SM after sitting and getting a general feel of the static display/ launch bike!

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Finally the Shotgun is in my garage!

Background and the wait. I just realized, haven't test driven any of the bikes I bought. I did drive a version of them though, like the Yezdi Road King before Monarch, the old 350 Standard before the UCE Classic 350 14'edition and this time around too, it was only the test drives of the Inty and Super Meteor for checking power delivery, foot peg, pedal positions and seating. I will post a longer story some day, but till then it suffices to say that, the Shotgun was chosen over the Inty and SM after sitting and getting a general feel of the static display/ launch bike! I liked the Classic like seating, the pegs did not get in the shins and weight seemed manageable (I'm 5'7" & 70kg but I've always worked out for core, not bulk). I had moved the bike around, the launch bike had the main stand missing or maybe I missed it, so that part wasn't checked!

On 27 Apr, when the dealer said bike has come, I took a early escape from work and landed up in the show room. There she was, subdued but looking powerful in sheet metal grey, all the chromes blacked out and engine and gearbox covers in gloss black.

A quick check for any major eyesores

Got it on and off the main stand, felt the heft and weight, general walk-around and here are my first impressions/ surprises:-

  1. It's a Toe shifter- I'll miss the heel shifter and need to take care of the formal shoes!
  2. Brake pedal was looking almost same as gear lever, no flat pad like the Classic.
  3. The peashooter silencer cants outwards, but maybe, because of being blacked out, it doesn't seem as wide as the Inty - but that is just a visual illusion!
  4. RE could have given it a twin pod on the dash, a rev counter would have complimented the speedo and been useful in riding.
  5. Wider than Classic 350 bars and switches it seemed needed a little stretch of my hands and fingers for reach and operation. (note to self - get big hands.)
  6. Seats seemed thin, may need change for touring.
  7. Not a great job done on hiding wires and securing cables. Even the throttle wire crossover is not too neat.
  8. Getting it on and off the main stand has been balanced beautifully and is a breeze, in fact, if you can manage the 350 this is also easy!
  9. Horn is squeaky but sharp.
  10. The leg guard seemed outsized, so asked for the compact guard as I had customised at the time of booking.
  11. Noted 4.3km on the clock and requested the showroom, not to keep that as display bike. Soon after a guy was seen doing a test start on the bike!

Payments and delivery

Registration formalities were discussed and payments assurances given. 5yr RSA is within cost, insurance IFFCO 1st yr comprehensive. The dealer assured delivery with HSP plates,in 5-7 working days. It was falling on a Tue, so I asked for a Wed delivery and it was agreed to. Come Tuesday a Jinx - no one realised Wed was 1st May. The day prior I get a call, "Showroom is closed due 1st May sir, can we do the delivery late today subject to plates being received"! I did not want a uncertainty so the delivery was postponed to Thurs. No calls received from dealer on Thurs so finally, I called them to get the usual, we tried to reach you excuse, but was relieved that the bike had just reached the showroom and delivery could be done that day itself. Tied up with wifey, got myself off from office, picked her up and reached around 4:00pm, with the 'better half' there for moral support. Here I was ready to ride out a bike 300cc and 60kg over mine but, one which I had never ridden before -butterflies were told to settle down. Got a quick rundown on the Wingman app setup and switches and lo there we were taking over the keys (complimentary helmet - black open face no choices of colour) of my (5th but) first big bike. Gentle does it and I rode out the bike out of the showroom, 3.2 ltr is in the tank but please fill some first, don't top up, was the advise from the friendly dealer. Fuel warning was blinking, so the first stop was the fuel pump. And next for a daylight shot.

Mandatory Pooja 


One at home (the little brother 350 is out of the frame but not the heart)


Took (both of!) her to dinner and wife reported the seat is better than the Classic but at the end of the 60 plus K ride, opinion was slightly sore!


1st ride and 200k impressions

  1. The weight is low to the ground and makes tilting and righting the bike easy.
  2. Gear lever is short- it felt ok on regular shoes and I'm still getting used to it on riding boots. It feels too short to angle the boot under or maybe my ride technique is incorrect. On a lighter note, I got into a tizzy adjusting back to the heel shift of the Classic next day.
  3. Gear shift throws are short and crisp. No false neutrals. Missed the actual neutral a couple of times. while downshifting.
  4. Clutch throw is short but not too light.
  5. Power is on the call, and through a wide range, in all gears except in 6th where you feel the engine begin to protest while pulling, moment it drops below 70ish kph. 4th and 5th should get you through most situations on highway and 3rd and 4th in the city traffic - but will wait for the adjustments post first service to form final impressions.
  6. Overtakes are a breeze, the weight distribution makes me want to find gaps and zip through, do quick overtakes but I'm older and wiser and the just the potential being there, gives the satisfaction! (with a lot of power and weight comes responsibility!).
  7.  Biggest surprise, the heat between the legs and along the bike body. Even the tank seems to heat up, not to mention the family jewels. The next drive was a longer one and early in the morning and the heat seemed under control. But the return in the evening and some slow traffic spots it again raised the temperatures. I hope it settles post the running in period.
  8. The wheel base of Classic is 1390mm, Shotgun is 1465mm (7.5cm more) and Super meteor is 1500mm(3.5cm more). It seems to be a very minor increase in wheel base but considering that the turning circle of the Classic itself is large, the weight and increased wheelbase make the bikes progressively adept at developing your muscles while manhandling these bikes!
  9. Good news, I don't need bigger hands, as I got used to the switch gear. But not being able to switch the headlight to city light or DRL is a big miss (and drain on the battery).

Parting shots from the highway


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