Bike-scooters/ First-ride/ Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 | First Ride Review | Coming Home

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 | First Ride Review | Coming Home

The Super Meteor devoured miles with authority and with a rather relaxed cadence.

For

Gorgeous looks, Authoritative Ride, Refined and Torquey Engine

Against

Standard seat could be more comfortable, front brake could be sharper

Overview

‘Climb aboard’ said the loco pilot as the train named nostalgia arrived at the station. The occasion was Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650’s global ride event, which was scheduled to happen in the vibrant lands of Rajasthan. Having spent 20 years of my life amidst those wild barren lands, wandering aimlessly with no destination in mind… nostalgia was bound to hit. I believe home is both, the place where you come from and the place where you belong. While I hail from Rajasthan, the Super Meteor 650 belonged there. A quintessential cruiser meant to blast down wide-open highways while keeping the rider calm and composed? We found home in Jaisalmer, the Super Meteor and I. 

A familiar whisk

A familiar chill welcomed us to the Golden city of Jaisalmer and what a perfect time it was. Just before the sun disappears behind the horizon, Jaisalmer basks in the golden light, gleaming in all its glory being reflected from the yellow surfaces all around. Are you familiar with that familiar whisk when you open the gate of your home after a prolonged period of time? That’s exactly how I felt. Just like you enter your home and find everything in the same place, a sense of timelessness engulfed me. Be it the barren flats, livestock jumping on the road out of nowhere or the chill winter evening breeze… everything was intact. 

And then there was the sea of Super Meteor 650s, basking in the same glorious golden light. Everything related to a quintessential cruiser’s design was there, intact and timeless. Not much had changed. Be it in the surroundings or the philosophy that RE incorporated to develop the Super Meteor. To hit close to ‘home’, you ought to leave some things untouched to evoke the sense of belonging and nostalgia at the same time. And this is something that the Super Meteor has mastered over its years of development.

Before the product and ride briefing commenced, we utilized the spare time in our hand to get a good look at the Super Meteor’s stature and proportions. ‘Majestic’ was the first word that came to my mind after scanning the Super Meteor. You can blame the surroundings for my choice of the ‘majestic’ word but it is safe to say that the Super Meteor is one of the most gorgeous motorcycles that have rolled out of Royal Enfield’s stable.

The modus operandi handed over to RE’s designers was as clear as midsummer skies – to design a traditional cruiser. Super Meteor’s combination of a 19-inch front and a 16-inch rear wheel has aided in that by a fair margin by providing it with an imposing, hunkered-down stance. The silhouette too, is traditional cruiser to a T with a long wheelbase, scooped out perch for the rider and a teardrop shaped fuel tank. And it is easy to see why the Super Meteor was baptized with this particular moniker because it does look like a Meteor 350 that went on a bulking up spree after a nasty breakup. 

Since it is going to be the flagbearer of RE’s might and legacy in several international markets, the overall build quality is supreme. From the front tyre to the rear fender, everything reeks of premiumness. The top and bottom yoke of Showa-sourced USD forks are covered in a brushed aluminium finish and so are the switchgear cubes, adding to the bling factor of the Super Meteor. Then there’s the neatly-designed fuel-filler cap and a meteor-shaped Royal Enfield badge on the fuel tank… these are some design elements that scream attention to the detail. 

As the nature started drawing curtains over the world, it was now time to briefly test the newly inducted LED headlamp setup and LED winkers. And boy! Apart from adding a pinch of modernism to this traditional recipe, the new headlamp setup will prove to be a delight for the nocturnal riders out there. Moreover, RE is also offering a pair of auxiliary lights as a part of the Genuine Motorcycle Accessories (GMA) catalogue. The first encounter with the Super Meteor was enough to set the tone for the next two days.

Full of surprises

With the sun, we woke up as well to ride the Super Meteor in and around Jaisalmer while creating content along the way. Firing up our assigned Super Meteor 650s revealed one thing – it does sound a little different than the other 650s from the same family. Something that would accentuate even more as the hours and kilometres unfolded. Addressing the elephant in the room, which can be said about the Super Meteor because it tips the scale at a whopping 241 kilograms but given its low centre of gravity and a very approachable 740mm seat height, you don’t have to be a gym freak to move the Super Meteor around in the parking lot. 

You would expect a motorcycle with this stature and weight to have a very heavy and disconnected front end but the Super Meteor came with its own set of surprises. The induction of USD forks was a masterstroke because the upgraded suspension setup has introduced a new sense of agility to this platform. The front end is reactive. Not as much as you would find on a frisky streetfighter but for a motorcycle that has a 1500mm long wheelbase, 19-inch front end and weighs a quarter of a ton, the handling popped our eyes wide open. 

As we rolled out of our hotel and were greeted with wide open highways, the golden light took over the horizon, yet again. And we couldn’t help but park out motorcycles by the side of the road, step back and admire this gorgeous brute. Since it was the first day and our priority was to shoot the required content first, I couldn’t push the Super Meteor to its limits but still, 200kms on the saddle that day were enough to draw out a few conclusions on the powertrain.

I have all the reasons to believe that RE should have inscribed a mini plaque on the engine casing with ‘Made with love’ written on it because this powertrain is that delicious! We knew that this 648cc parallel-twin motor would fit like a tailor-made glove inside a cruiser and here we are! It might make the same 47hp and 52nm of torque as the other 650s but since it gets a revised exhaust layout, bigger airbox and intake, RE had to summon a new engine mapping which has made the Super Meteor 650 slightly more calm and composed. While the overall acceleration on offer isn’t as brisk as the Interceptor 650 because the Super Meteor has to ferry extra weight around but still, it still has enough poke to plaster a glee on your face. As we found out, the very next day.

When it all made sense

400 kilometres on pristine roads of Rajasthan. That was the order of the third and final day with the Super Meteor 650. And my chariot of choice for the day was the Tourer variant and I didn’t even need to spend a couple of hours to make up my mind that the touring seats on the Tourer variant are vastly better. But how about the additional protection from the windblast? How does the Super Meteor take corners and would it be safe to christen it as one of the best cruisers in the sub-5 Lakh price bracket? All the answers unfolded as a sea of Super Meteors belted down to reach Khimsar that day.

Falling in love all over again is a very cliché phrase which I’m going to abuse as well because that’s exactly how we felt when it comes to this powertrain. Sure, it might not snap your back like a frantic, speed-addled recidivist would want but hey, it wasn’t meant to do that. And what it was meant to do, it pulls off with so much finesse! There’s good low-end grunt and the tractability of the engine despite its displacement is commendable as well. Heck, on some unannounced and nasty speed breakers, I left the Super Meteor in the third gear and it pulled off cleanly with just a little bit of assistance from the clutch. Absolutely no signs of revolt from the engine. Isn’t this what cruisers are meant to do? Cut your efforts in half and let you enjoy the scenery? And when you start pushing it like we did, the Super Meteor shines even more. Chomping miles without any signs of indigestion, the Super Meteor rides with authority with a rather relaxed cadence. 

Just slot it in the 6th gear and it can pull cleanly as low as 70kmph and would go on to register a marked 150km/h on the speedometer with ease. Cruising at 130km/h comes easy for the Super Meteor and it can do it all day long. It even likes doing it, as was evident from the intake roar of the engine and thumping twin exhaust playing the perfect score to accentuate the overall riding experience. On the first day itself, it became clear that the Super Meteor is one confident lady and doesn’t mind dealing with some curves. On the second day, it became even more evident because our route was sprinkled with long sweeping corners and rough patches which required frantic evasive manoeuvres. The Super Meteor dealt everything with poise and changed directions with ease. It isn’t God’s own chariot though and there are bound to be some shortcomings. While Showa-sourced Big Piston fork leave no room for complaint, the rear suspension setup could have been slightly more pliant according to the Indian road conditions. The Super Meteor drops its anchor with the same poise as it gets a 320mm disc up front and a big 300mm disc at the back. The braking performance at hand proved to be sufficient for a motorcycle with this level of performance and weight. However, I would have liked slightly sharper front brake to gain more confidence. 

Who is it for?

People who love to cruise. And I do! Probably the reason why I was smiling ear to ear, hours after getting off from the saddle on the third day. Almost 600kms on Super Meteor’s saddle were enough to justify that RE has indeed come home. A true-blue cruiser that is not only gorgeous to look at but can devour miles all day long while keeping the rider calm and composed. Isn’t this the recipe for a lovely motorcycle? Because that’s exactly what the Super Meteor is. A lovely cruiser. 



TopGear Magazine Jan 2023