If you shoot for a star, you’ll at least get a Meteor. While developing the Super Meteor 650, it appears Royal Enfield set its standards so high that the resultant product (although it’s not yet perfect) is so good that one may have a hard time finding a flaw in it.In short, it’s the finest motorcycle made by Royal Enfield. It is India’s first authentic big bike. It looks amazing, and goes fast. And a 350-km easy ride proves it’ll be comfortable even on a 1,000-km road trip.
What defines its design?
Unlike the Meteor 350 which looks puny in comparison to most cruiser motorcycles, the Super Meteor 650 has a substantial road presence. It has the silhouette of a thoroughbred cruiser—the seat is low (740 mm height) and wide, the handlebars slightly raised, and the seating position is feet-forward. There are seven colour options.The front tyre is 19-inch and the rear is 16-inch (rim diameter). Both are tubeless.The instrument panel looks basic, but has functional elements such as gear indicator, fuel gauge, clock, speedometer and tripmeter. The Tripper (a navigation pod) is placed to the right of the main meter. It can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth and then it shows turn-by-turn navigation. One flaw with the Tripper is that it drains the smartphone battery very fast, but then the bike has a discreet USB socket located beneath the left side panel (even though it doesn’t have a rainproof smartphone storage, which allows you to charge the phone on the go—it’s a must-have for modern cruisers).
Which engine powers it?
It’s the same 648 cc twin-cylinder unit that is there on the Interceptor INT 650 and the Continental GT 650. Power is 47 PS (46.36 bhp), torque is 52.3 Nm, gearbox is 6-speed manual, and fuel tank is 15.7 litres. On my day-long ride I couldn’t test the fuel efficiency, but expect it to be about 30 km/litre.
How does it ride?
Highway: Straddling it is easy (low seat height); even though it’s a heavy motorcycle (241 kg), once you start riding, it handles like a toy. It’s in its element on open highways. On twisty roads, it’s pure nirvana—it has an excellent lean angle, exceptional shockers, perfect riding position, and never feels out of power while accelerating out of a corner.
City: The weight shows. In typical Indian urban conditions where streets can be narrow, it’s quite a task to manoeuvre the Super Meteor 650. One thing is clear: You need to be physical fit (and strong) to easily handle this motorcycle.
Is it the best cruiser, ever?
It’s definitely the best Royal Enfield motorcycle, ever. It’s available in three variants: Astral (Rs 3,48,900), Interstellar (Rs 3,63,900) and Celestial (Rs 3,78,900). The Astral and the Interstellar are standard variants (not tourer) that don’t have a windscreen and a pillion backrest. While these have two seats, these are best for a single-person road trips. The Celestial comes with a windscreen, a pillion backrest and a wide seat comfortable for two people.At these prices, it’s the best cruiser motorcycle in India.In England it’s priced GBP 6,799 and in Europe it can be bought for 7,890 euros (Astral). At these prices, it’s also the world’s best cruiser motorcycle. Although I have not done it, as yet, it feels like a motorcycle that you can ride from Germany to Spain or France to Italy, without getting tired.Delhi to Mumbai on the Super Meteor 650 would be a breeze.
Engine: 648 cc, petrol
Power: 47 PS (46.36 bhp)
Torque: 52.3 Nm
Gearbox: 6-speed, manual
Fuel tank: 15.7 litres
Wheelbase: 1,500 mm
Seat height: 740 mm
Ground clearance: 135 mm
Weight: 241 kg
Price: Rs 3.49 lakh onwards
Competitors (price): None
Competitors (engine size): Triumph Tiger Sport 660 and Tiger 660, but both are priced above Rs 7 lakh
The three variants explained
AstralPrice: Rs 3,48,900Available in green, blue and black, the Astral is a standard variant (not tourer). It doesn’t have a windscreen and a pillion backrest.
InterstellarPrice: Rs 3,63,900Available in grey and green, the Interstellar is more or less the same as the Astral.
CelestialPrice: Rs 3,78,900It’s the fully-loaded variant, with a windscreen and a pillion backrest. It comes in two colours: red and blue.
(All variants get dual channel ABS, dual disc brakes, and tubeless tyres)