Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 long term review, 8,800km report

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650

Our long-term Super Meteor hasn’t had a proper custodian in a few months and with a 4,000-odd km tour to the South coming up, I decided to grab the keys and give this bike a proper send-off from our long-term garage. Before this, I hadn’t spent proper seat time aboard the Super Meteor, and ever since it had entered our fleet, I’d always wanted to take it for a long road trip.

Even before I’d clocked a single kilometre on this ride, I was smitten by how good this bike looks. And it’s an opinion the general public seems to share. From the large teardrop-shaped fuel tank, that swooping rear fender and those chrome exhaust header pipes, this bike is a looker. There were some much larger and way more expensive bikes with me on the trip but even when parked next to those machines, the Super Meteor always had people swarming around it.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 engine
The 648cc parallel-twin motor is refined all through the rev range; sounds sweet too!

Those textbook good looks do come at a price though. Due to that long, low-slung silhouette that the Super Meteor cuts, suspension travel at the rear is quite limited. And it is set up quite stiff, which means that you feel every little bump on the road. It’s not as bad as some other Chinese cruisers at this price point, but it’s not a very pleasant ride either. What makes matters worse is that sofa-like feet-forward riding position, which means your back bears the brunt of all the abuse Indian roads subject the bike to. And when you inevitably encounter a mountainous speedbreaker on the road, you need to slow down to a halt and negotiate it carefully due to the limited ground clearance on offer.

To its credit, the Super Meteor only scraped its belly twice over the multitude of speed breakers I came across and that could be due to the fact that I had loaded the bike up with luggage, plus 80kg me. 

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 side
Charming, straightforward design is very easy on the eyes; grabs attention too.

Thankfully, that sweet 648cc parallel-twin mill diverts your mind from all these shortcomings as soon as you twist the throttle. There’s no sudden surge like on a KTM 390 Duke (my personal bike that I usually tour on), but there’s strong pull available at fairly low revs in just about any gear. 100kph in sixth gear is effortless and if you choose to venture beyond that threshold, this engine will be a willing companion along with a sweet soundtrack to accompany it. Fuel economy while cruising at triple-digit speeds constantly ranged in the early to mid-20s for me.

If you’ve done any amount of touring you’ll know that an engine that just makes power isn’t everything; refinement is equally important. And I’m pleased to report that the Super Meteor has fared exceptionally well in this regard. What did annoy me on those long days was the fuel gauge that had a mind of its own once it dropped below the halfway point. In fact, if you put the bike on the side stand, the fuel level would climb back up and stay there for a good 5-10 minutes once you start riding, and then drop back down at an alarmingly quick rate. On a bike that’s got some proper mile-munching capabilities, fixing this niggle would go a long way.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 rear
Stiff shocks result in harsh ride on most Indian roads, amplified by the cruiser ergos.

The last service we did was a pretty comprehensive one as I wanted to make sure everything was shipshape before such a long ride. The total was Rs 10,351 which seems a little steep, and more than half of that amount (Rs 5,900) went towards replacing the front and rear brake pads. This is something to keep in mind because our bike had only done 4,000km when we got it serviced and the pads were nearly worn out.

In our nine months with it, there have been no worrying issues with the bike. It has held up largely well but there is a bit of oxidation on the engine casing and the triple clamp has also started to rust. However, our bike was parked outside through the monsoon so I suppose this may not have happened if the bike had sheltered parking.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 instrument
Fuel indicator fluctuates a lot once the level dips below the halfway mark.

Barring these issues, the Super Meteor 650 has been faultless and I have to say I’ll be quite dejected to see it go. However, the silver lining to this proverbial dark cloud is that we will quite possibly be swapping the Super Meteor for the new Himalayan, and that is one new Royal Enfield I believe will be a serious contender in the sub-Rs 4 lakh ADV tourer category. An exciting year up ahead indeed!

Also see:

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 long term review, 3500km report

Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 long term review, 1180km report

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