Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 (2023) - Review

Technical Review - Ben Purvis, Nov 22

Riding Review - Steve Lamb, Nov 23


Price: £6799 | Power: 47bhp | Weight: 241kg | Verdict 5/5


A year ago, Royal Enfield unwrapped the SG650 concept bobber to demonstrate how its air-cooled parallel twin could find a home in a cruiser-style machine and now the same idea is to reach showrooms in the form of the Super Meteor 650.

Developed in the UK at the firm’s technical centre at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, under the eye of design chief Mark Wells, the Super Meteor continues to show the burgeoning confidence that Royal Enfield has as it explores a market where it faces few direct rivals. Wells said: “Our goal was to create a motorcycle that captures the very essence of British cruisers. The design language is influenced by styles of the 1950s, including our own motorcycles, but with a contemporary twist. The Super Meteor 650 is a carefree motorcycle for riding until you decide it’s time to stop, for crossing immense, immersive landscapes, for heading towards the horizon's vanishing point”.

Siddhartha Lal, MD of RE’s parent company, Eicher Motors, adds: “Inspired by some great cruisers we’ve built through our history, and by actual riders, the Super Meteor is distinctly Royal Enfield and every bit a thoroughbred cruiser in form, factor, and design. It is an absolutely stylish, refined and enjoyable motorcycle that is intended to make cruising pleasurable and accessible even for riders who never really considered cruisers before.” And Royal Enfield CEO, B Govindarajan, said: “Even at the start of the development journey of the 650 parallel twin platform we were clear about our intentions of designing and building a true-blue highway cruiser. It’s been a while in the making, but we are very glad that it is finally here. The 650cc twin engine has been at the heart of the resounding global success of the Interceptor and the Continental GT 650 and we are confident that this platform, in a new cruiser avatar, will create new audiences for Royal Enfield across the world.”


Pros & Cons
  • Cruiser styled but with a British twist, the Super Meteor has few direct rivals
  • Harris Performance-designed chassis delivers sure-footed handling
  • Kit and quality of finish belies the price, with USD forks, LED lights and sat-nav as standard
  • Forward controls won’t suit everyone, particularly if under 5’5”


Review – In Detail

Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension
Comfort & Economy


2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Price

The company’s reputation for affordable bikes continues with the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 starting from just £6799 OTR - a couple of grand less than the most affordable of Triumph’s twin-cylinder ‘modern classic’ machines and on a par with Honda’s A2 compliant cruiser offering, the CMX500 Rebel.

Enfield is offering two versions of the bike, the standard Super Meteor 650 and the Super Meteor 650 Tourer. The ‘base model’ comes in five colours – Astral Black, Astral Blue (as tested), Astral Green and two-tone Interstellar Grey & Black and Interstellar Green & Black -  while the Tourer, with a screen, a deeper seat and pillion backrest, is offered in blue/white with gold pinstriping or red/white. Naturally, the more complex colourways add to the price, but not by that much. Here’s a run-down of the colours and prices.

  • Astral Black, Blue or Green - £6,799
  • Interstellar Green or Grey - £6,999
  • Celestial Red or Blue - £7,299



2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Engine & Performance

The engine is the same oil/air-cooled, 648cc parallel twin used in the Continental GT 650 and Interceptor 650, making an A2-licence-friendly 47hp (34.6kW) at 7250rpm and 38.6lb-ft (52.3Nm) of torque at 5650rpm. It’s an old-school design, with a single overhead camshaft and prominent cooling fins, but far from being a criticism that’s a bonus for the Super Meteor. The performance is already at the limit for A2 class riders, so more complexity would provide no benefit, and the engine’s retro construction means it fits the bike’s look perfectly without needing to find space for a radiator.

It's not all old, though. Like every other major manufacturer, Royal Enfield needs to hit Euro 5 emissions limits that have already pushed many rivals out of the air-cooled arena. It achieves that target with modest performance goals and the use of electronic fuel injection. There are also four valves per cylinder despite the single overhead camshaft, and the engine drives through a six-speed transmission – something that’s surprisingly new tech for Royal Enfield, which was still using four-speed boxes well into the current century.

On the road, the engine is as good as, if not better than, I remember it from the Interceptor 650 that John ran as a long-termer. It suits the laid-back cruiser style of Super Meteor incredibly well - so well in fact that did wonder if something within the engine had been changed to alter the characteristics (maybe a bigger flywheel, or smaller balancer), but a conversation of a representative of Royal Enfield at the recent Motorcycle Live show confirmed that the engine is untouched.

Right from the off, the engine is smooth, but characterful enough to feel like a ‘proper’ cruiser engine. It’s a hard act to master as if the engine is too smooth, you lose the rough-and-ready image, as demonstrated by the Honda Rebel which has a wonderful engine (as demonstrated by the incredibly popular bikes that share the 471cc parallel twin) but it just feels a little too clinical for the ‘bad-to-the-bone’ image of the Rebel. The flip side is that if the engine were too rough, the naysayers would have a field day quoting Indian build quality as the root of all evils. It’s a fine path to tread and one the Royal Enfield has done very well.

The power plant is plenty torquey enough too, with great pick up from low revs, and an instant confidence-building throttle response. Even at a very slow walking pace, the engine copes incredibly well, in fact you’d have to try hard to stall it.

Once speeds start to pick up to fast a-road or motorway speeds, the lack of power starts to reveal itself, but you could argue that if motorway and fast riding is your aim, you’ve probably picked the wrong bike. Once you bring your speeds a touch – just enough to let the engine have a little left in reserve – the whole package gels and you’ll struggle to stop yourself from smiling while you ride.



2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Handling, weight and suspension

The Super Meteor doesn’t try to be too clever with its chassis, which – like several of the firm’s current models – was developed by Harris Performance in the UK. Rather than carrying over the frame used for the Continental and Interceptor, the Super Meteor has a new design with a more low-slung look and weight distribution. There’s a central spine under the fuel tank, with two hoops at the back to provide upper mounts for the rear shocks and a substantial strut hanging down from the headstock to the front engine mount, splitting into dual cradle sections running under the engine.

The suspension includes 43mm USD forks with 120mm of travel and twin rear shocks, each with preload adjustment and 101mm of movement.

Unsurprisingly, it’s no flyweight, coming in at 241kg with its 15.7 litre fuel tank filled to 90% capacity.

Despite the hefty 240-odd kilo weight, the Super Meteor 650 carries its weight well. The low centre of gravity and low pegs mean that you feel safe and comfortable right from the off, while the forward controls mean that peg-scraping round corners isn’t the limiting factor in making progress (they didn’t touch down once for me, but I’m not sure if that’s a compliment to the bike’s handling, or a comment on my riding skills!?).

As with all test bikes I ride, I took the Super Meteor on a test route that is specifically chosen to include a good mixture of road conditions, classes and twistiness, and the Super Meteor took them all in its stride.

Scratching round the B-roads of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, it felt planted in the corners - the CEAT Zoom Cruz tyres doing a surprisingly good job of holding a constant and tight line – while, once into the traffic-rich, stop-start city stretch through Cambridge, the light handling mean that pothole dodging and nipping in and out queues was a doddle.



2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Comfort & Economy

With a low, low 740mm seat height, the Super Meteor isn’t going to penalise the short-of-leg too much, but the extreme forward-mounted footpegs and controls are very much in the cruiser mould and won’t suit everyone’s taste. At 5’6”, I would say that I’m at the limit of comfortably using the forward controls and, even then, I tended to rest the balls of my feet on the pegs rather than the arch, only stretching forward that bit more when needing to operate the brake or change gear. If you are 5’5” or under, it will most definitely be worth trying one at the dealers before making a purchase.

Once on the bike, it’s a very comfortable place to be – the seat is wide and plush and while the forward controls do mean that you put your body weight through your tailbone, it's not as uncomfortable as you might imagine, and a darn site better than some other cruisers that I’ve ridden. So much so, in fact, that I found myself purposely taking the long way home just to extend the ride - praise indeed!

While the base model does have a pillion pad, it’s really aimed at one-up riding, and those planning to go longer distances or carry passengers will be looking at the Tourer model with a deeper, wider, full length seat, a pillion backrest and a screen.

The wide-open reach of the handlebars means you do catch the full force of the wind, but the soft rubbery grips mean they are easy to hold, vibration free, and the bars are canted back enough to allow full lock turn with ease.

On board, equipment levels aren’t extravagant but there’s the same part-analogue, part-digital display that current RE riders will be familiar with, combining a conventional speedo around the edge with an LCD centre section including a trip computer, fuel gauge, gear position and clock. On the right, a second pod features the Tripper turn-by-turn navigation system that’s also featured on other Enfield models.

Over the two weeks that I had the bike, a mixture of spirited riding early on, more sedate relaxed riding and some city commuting, I managed to average 55.2mpg meaning that a full 15.7 litre tank will be enough for around 190 miles, which for a bike like this is plenty and more than likely will coincide with a numb-bum or arm-ache induced rest stop.



2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - Brakes

There’s nothing too exotic to be found here, with a single 320mm front disc and twin-piston floating caliper from ByBre (a budget friendly off shoot of Brembo), assisted by a large, 300mm rear disc, also with a two-pot ByBre caliper. Dual channel ABS is standard.

As on most cruisers, the low-slung weight distribution means you’ll be using more rear brake than you might on a sportier bike, but that’s not to say that the front brake alone isn’t enough, because it most certainly is. Even with ‘just’ a single disc at the front, the Super Meteor has plenty of stopping power, though you will need a firm grip on the lever – afterall 240 kilos still has plenty of inertia.

If you pick your speed and lines well though, you can make good progress without using the brakes much and it’s this ‘light-touch’ style of riding that suits the bike best rather than hard braking and powering out of corners.



2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Rivals

There aren’t many direct rivals to the Super Meteor in the affordable, middleweight cruiser market, but you might want to try one of these:


BSA Gold Star | Price: £6800

The reborn BSA brand is clearly targeting Royal Enfield, and while the Gold Star is more a direct rival to the Interceptor 650 it might also interest some Super Meteor customers.

Power/Torque: 45bhp/40.5lb-ft | Weight: 213kg


Kawasaki Vulcan S | Price: £7249

A more modern take on the cruiser idea, the Vulcan has substantially more power (although a 47hp A2 version is offered), but lacks the classic looks of the Super Meteor.

Power/Torque: 61bhp/46lb-ft | Weight: 229kg


Honda CMX500 Rebel | Price: £6299

The parallel twin Rebel 500 is smaller and lighter than the Enfield, but again lacks the classic looks and the engine, as great as it is, doesn’t quite feel the part.

Power/Torque: 45.6bhp/32lb-ft | Weight: 190kg



2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 – Verdict

Royal Enfield seems to be hitting a purple patch at the moment with one or two bikes regularly in the monthly top-ten best sellers stats, and it’s easy to see why.

Without riding them, it’s all too easy to dismiss them as ‘cheap’ with all the bad connotations that comes with that word, but once you spend some time with them, you soon realise that the build quality, features, design and ergonomics match those of bikes several thousands of pounds more expensive and your perception soon changes from ‘cheap’ to ‘bargain’. The Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 is no exception.

Easy to ride for beginners yet fulfilling and rewarding to ride for more experienced riders - smooth, yet characterful - classically designed, yet full of great tech - pocket-friendly, yet a genuine head-turner – the Super Meteor has a lot going for it and is rightly selling very well.

In many ways I hope that this bike rekindles the UK’s return to cruisers (a genre that has been much maligned and avoided of late) as it does far more for the style of bike that the heavy and massively overpriced models from the U.S. have done.


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2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Review Price Spec_203


2023 Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 Technical Specification

New price

From £6,799



Bore x Stroke

78mm x 67.8mm

Engine layout

Parallel twin

Engine details

4-stroke, SOHC, Air-Oil Cooled


47bhp (34.6kW) @ 7250rpm


38.6lb-ft (52.3Nm) @ 5650rpm


Six speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption

55.2mpg as tested

Tank size

15.7 litres

Max range to empty

190 miles

Rider aids



Steel tubular spine frame

Front suspension

43mm Upside Down Telescopic Fork, 120mm travel

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Twin Shocks, 101mm travel

Rear suspension adjustment

Preload only

Front brake

Single 320mm disc, ByBre twin piston fl­oating caliper

Rear brake

Single 300mm disc, By Bre twin piston ­floating caliper

Front wheel / tyre

Cast alloy / 100/90-19 MC 57H CEAT Zoom Cruz

Rear wheel / tyre

Cast alloy / 150/80 B16 MC 71H CEAT Zoom Cruz

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2260mm x 890mm x 1155mm



Seat height



241kg (kerb)


3 years



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