First Ride: Royal Enfield’s Confident Shotgun 650 Is Versatile Enough for Big Bike Vets and First Timers Alike

Take one glance at the new Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 and it’s not immediately obvious what it is. Is it a bobber, a custom roadster, or a cruiser? Is it old, new, or a restomod? The lack of overt Royal Enfield branding might make you even question who made it. And that’s entirely the point. The Shotgun has been designed to be chopped up by its owner, a blank canvas of sorts that you can make entirely your own. It doesn’t fit into a category and is designed, instead, for good old-fashioned fun.

Royal Enfield has long embraced custom-motorcycle culture, and has collaborated with various artists over the years to create one-off versions of its bikes. But this is the first production model which nods to the custom builders right off the bat. You don’t require any metalworking skill to change its looks either. A rear section of its frame is modular, so you can pop it on or off on a whim. And there are 31 factory accessories you can add—from engine crash bars and bar-end mirrors to front fairings and billet rims—while the Sheetmetal Grey option is practically primed and ready to be painted in your color of choice.

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The 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.
The 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.

At the launch of the Shotgun 650 in Los Angeles, Royal Enfield showcased the model’s stylistic versatility by inviting nine of the world’s premier custom builders to show off their own takes on the machine. Each iteration featured customized tanks and fenders, with everything else kept entirely stock. Every maker’s build took on a unique look of its own, showing the potential of the bike’s hybrid design.

While less streamlined than the SG650 concept revealed back in 2021, the Shotgun 650 has a floating, bobber-style single seat, which elongates the rear wheel, giving it a low-profile silhouette. Covering the rear wheel is a large fender, which references classic American cruisers, while the engine and exhaust are presented in an all-black finish for a contemporary twist.

The 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.
A rear section of the bike’s frame is modular, so you can pop it on or off on a whim, and 31 factory accessories are available as options for the model.

This blend of old and new continues with how the bike rides. Like all Royal Enfields, the Shotgun 650 is a relatively simple machine, without rider modes, elaborate tech, or large LCD screens. It features a bygone-era aesthetic, designed to echo the purity of what riding a motorcycle was like before the digital age. But when compared with the Continental GT 650 and the Interceptor 650, of which the Shotgun shares the same platform, it seems like a big level up.

For starters, everything just feels like it’s been engineered with precision. The indicator switch clicks into place with satisfying ease, while shifts decidedly clunk through each change to ensure you never doubt what gear you’re in. There’s also a distinct lack of plastic on the bike, a trait shared by the equally premium Super Meteor 650. On the move, the Shotgun delivers a surprisingly elegant ride experience; the Showa forks offering lots of front-end feel at speed, which inspires confidence through sweeping bends and hairpins alike. The large Bybre disc brakes (320 mm at the front and 300 mm at the rear) are reassuringly powerful, while the wider tires offer plenty of grip.

Riding the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 motorcycle.
The bike’s Showa forks offer lots of front-end feel at speed, while the Bybre disc brakes are reassuringly powerful.

Part of the Shotgun’s appeal is its accessibility, able to meet the needs of both veteran motorcyclists as well as those looking for their first big bike. The mid-set foot position and upright bars combine for a comfortable, relaxed riding position, while the 650 cc parallel-twin engine delivers its 47 hp smoothly and predictably.

The Shotgun can be whatever you want it to be. Chop it up or keep it stock; ride it hard and enjoy the addictive soundtrack, or leisurely rumble through the city admiring the view. It’s a chameleon that channels the best of Royal Enfield’s past into a capable canyon carver, highway cruiser, or daily commuter—an open canvas awaiting your personal expression.

Click here for more photos of the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.

Riding the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.
Riding the 2024 Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.

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