Royal Enfield Super-Meteor 650 initial (non-ride) thoughts.

It’s 8:30 and I’m already drooling out the front of ‘Moonraker Motorcycles’ in Norwich. A total coincidence (not) that I booked my 3100 mile service on exactly the same week they had the new ‘Super-Meteor’ available for everyone to have a good old gorp at. Gorp I certainly did!

First impressions.

The Super-Meteor 650cc

Honestly, it’s a lot smaller than it looks from the reveal, I’m not sure if that was down to camera angle, dynamic lightening or plain old trickery to make the bike appear bigger. It’s not huge, a lot chunkier as you can see from the pictures and when I was sitting on it, my feet easily touched the floor. It’s taller than the Interceptor but it doesn’t feel an awful lot different to the 350 in terms of proportions.

The weight.

Getting personal here straight away, without fuel in it was naturally a bit lighter than it would be in proper running order. Yes, the bike does obviously feel a lot heavier and you can really feel that weight sitting on it. This isn’t the 350 where you could shuffle on the seat and the bike will move, I tried and nothing happened. Royal Enfield have done that weight voodoo again as the weight feels low to the ground and the balance is SUPERB. I can’t really state this enough, I took both feet off the ground for a moment and the bike just hung there, motionless. It doesn’t have the weight pendulum effect the Interceptor has. When I rocked it forward off the centre stand it did it with considerably more ease than the 350. Someone far more clever and more experienced could no doubt tell me why this is, for me it just me a great feeling that the bike wasn’t going to tip over for a less than full seasoned biker.

Close up, note the side stand is a lot closer to the ground.
Full frontal.

Controls.

For anyone who owns any of the J platform or Interceptor/GT’s will know the controls are fairly standard, there’s nothing actually wrong with them and they feel sturdy and not at all loose, it’s just there is “nothing to write home to muma about”. These are rather different.

Left side controls.

They feel solid, tactile and with a good deal better quality on touch with & without my gloves on. If you were trying to justify the price difference between this and the other twins (and I’ll get to that) you can easily start here. None of the controls are loose, while I’m aware this is a straight from the factory display model it should be noted RE didn’t send them a key deliberately so it couldn’t be started up for test rides. This is what we can expect to purchase.

One for Alex.

Gas cap!

Yep I took a pic of the gas cap, this isn’t to mock Alex but merely something I appreciate gets over looked quite a bit and so this is a homage if anything. My current 350cc gas cap is plastic and takes a quick cap lift and key insertion to get the job done. It feels kinda cheap, like RE needed a way to keep the price down a bit and so chucked one on that does the job.

For the Super-Meteor I can only imagine they figured this bike was going to sell like hot cakes and we’d just pay for a better one. I think they’re probably right on this as it feels so much sturdier than the prior offering.

Just tell me the price.

While currently no-one appears to have a price set in stone, the general consensus seems to be £6800-£7200 OTR. So we’re looking a good £300 cheaper than the BSA and this includes the Tripper navigation system I so enjoy on my current 350cc incarnation.

To conclude:

I hope this has given everyone a quick heads up of what to expect after release day, sadly we couldn’t start it up or have a ride today. That’s for another visit….

The Honda CL500, a new hope?

Honda CL500

So while scrolling through my usual large repotoire of Asian bike sites for news I spot the CL300 and further down the article the usual speculation of will it come to Europe or will it just be the 500…. A 500 you say? Built on the Rebel platform in Thailand and having a good number of universal parts? I’m intrigued, but sadly knowing Honda’s reputation for thinking about installing a door after the horse is bolted (but not actually installing it) I casually tab over to Honda’s website and see the 500cc version is coming soon. Suddenly this day got interesting!!!

We have a rather attractive Retro-classic street scrambler here with a variety of colourful tank options as opposed to black or black(yay!), personally I think the blue looks the best, but then I would say that. No spokes!!! The exhaust has managed to look discreet and is nicely tucked away so you don’t have either, too much on show OR a burn hazard (GJ Mahindra don’t make one eh?) to your upper legs. Now I’m not here to blow smoke up manufacturers’ arses, so they still have time to drop a proverbial here.

Can they shoot themselves in the foot?

It’s Honda in Europe so probably, I’m ignoring the comments about seat height as frankly that’s a preference issue there. The only issue from specs right now is the tank being a tad small at 10L, will they totally overprice it? I hope not but when looking at how the Rebel 500 is priced (considering you could get a V7 for less) who rightly knows? I did ask the only Honda dealer still following me on Twitter just before Chrimbo, but at that time they didn’t have an idea on price. Frankly I hope they price it competitively and sell a ton of them, it would stop other RC sellers getting complacent and start to innovate. In the current financial times, getting more bike for our money can only be a good thing for us.

Come on Honda, you can do it!!!

A quick note & clarification.

Many people think I dislike Honda motorcycles, not true at all it’s just they make a ton of ugly bikes I dislike and (in the UK) often have an overly toxic fanbase who believe them to be the greatest motorcycles ever etc. I love Retro-classic bikes and will frankly fawn over anything within my general style preference. They make some absolutely great looking bikes in Asia, the H’ness for example, sells like hot cakes and fans absolutely love it. It’s a gorgeous Retro-classic bike with a huge fanbase, sadly Honda in Europe won’t let us have nice things and instead we get another CB something something RRRR-RRRR…

ARRR!!!

3000 miles of smiles: My Meteor 350

Just before the start of the festive season I at last managed to hit the 3000 mile mark and the first mini milestone of ownership. I know for an RE this still essentially makes it brand new (for the average Himalayan rider I’ve essentially shuffled it about on the forecourt) and this year has mostly been about commuting with the occasional trips for cheese & meat while I try and build my skill level and learn to deal with different conditions.

Just over 3000, sadly couldn’t stop to capture the magic.

I frankly never understand those who choose not to ride their bike so they are worth more on resale. It seems like not going to bed with your partner, because you want them to be in better condition for the next person.

What have I learnt?

The budget CEAT tyres it came with seem to be pretty damn good, they will certainly allow you to take a torn up narrow country roads at national speed limit without any real difficulty in practically anything but ice. Though in fairness, they weren’t bad in ice either….. Half a bulk bag of 10mm shingle that got ditched on the road last week was a tad squeeky bum though! If I hear any other numpty mention ‘greasy roads ‘, they might get a slap.

Tripper works pretty well for something which essentially cones free with the bike, it will work in 3G but essentially prefers 4G. A lot of it’s issues would probably be sorted if they patched the onboard firmware to the current version.

20mph is a really odd speed for the engine, I really don’t now what the best way to deal with it is. In 3rd it sounds like I’m revving the tits off it unless I drop to 16 or so. In fourth though the engine just starts choking without the revs and really isn’t happy. If you give it the required revs the engine just wants to pull away, and will!

The fuel economy is pretty awesome, below 50 it runs on solar or something, generally I get 200ish miles from the 10L of the main tank before the 5L reserve kicks in.

To conclude:

While it’s taken since early March to get this far, I’m pretty damn confident that 2023 will feature a hell of a lot more miles. Here’s to that! Cheers pal!

Clash of the 300cc V-twins.

Trying to stay ahead of the curve coming from the east, as I do so often on this blog (bar moaning about GS owners). I present the 300cc V-twins that already rolling off of the forecourts.

QJ SRV 300
Keeway V302C

Both have fairly comparable stats and will hit your 26NM of chug (similar to the Meteor) so I won’t really waste your time by posting them. Both straight out of China, interestingly anyone who read an earlier blog post on Benda will probably recognise the Keeway.

Neither of these will sound like a Harley-Davidson Fat Bob, while the startup will sound a tad deeper than a Hyosung, no windows are going to be rattled and no pensioner’s reaching for the neighbourhood watch.

All that said, I think they’re both a worthy addition to the constantly expanding 300-400cc category and I think it would be damn interesting to see them in Europe anytime soon.

What does everyone think?

The Royal Enfield rumours for 2023.

Yup, it’s that time of year again folks! Especially considering on the day of writing (29/11/22), even more leaks or mysterious information releases seem to have occurred. I’m going to have to grab the bull by horns and segregate these as they are intended to be, if nothing else to make it less of an absolute word-fest for anyone trying to make head or tail out of it.

The J platform.

  • The long overdue street scrambler, this was originally confused by practically everyone (including me) as being the Hunter. We haven’t seen any leaks for a while, but no-one has actually said it’s a no-go.
  • The bobber variety of the Meteor, something allegedly closer to the Jawa 42 Bobber, hopefully with cast wheels though unlike the 42, which imho kinda ruins the aesthetic.
  • The bobber variant of the Classic was announced just today and Instantly swooped on by Indian bike journalists, I can’t help but think this will be a direct rival to the Jawa Perak in India, where it’s more Classic cuts a different trend to the newer 42 Bobber.
  • The new Bullet 350, unlike the Hunter this looks a lot closer to the original RE bikes, as spy shots show. (All credit: Bullet Guru). UPDATE: from details floating around it seems this will be essentially a straight ‘copy & paste’ from the existing platform to the J, no new features and set to be prices lower than the Hunter.
Bullet 350

“Twins Basel! Twins!!!”

One of the proposed upcoming twins.
  • A scrambler in the 650cc twin segment, but as we’re yet to see it’s single incarnation we have frankly no idea how far away this is. A great shame as scramblers in general are essentially missing from RE’s portfolio (unless you count the SCRAM). We saw the converted Interceptor scrambler concept bikes for the ‘Highland scramble’, which were mostly well received (gold forks was a major detraction).
  • The long teased Himalayan 650, theirs also been a good chunk of news about the new ADV version, though I have absolutely no inclination if these are/are not the same rumour. We’ve seen a lot of spy shots of this about and remember it was officially confirmed after being talked down at one point. The current inclination is for two variants, one as a road focused tour bike and the second closer to the SCRAM.
  • A Classic twin, essentially I have nothing but unconfirmed hearsay here. It was noted during the year that RE had copyrighted the name ‘Constellation’. A 650cc twin with an image closer to that of the Classic 350? Yeah that sounds pretty awesome to me, hopefully it will be lighter than the Super-Meteor.
  • The Continental GT rumours have an awful lot of IF’s about them, it’s not confirmed if the bike itself is getting a minor facelift or optional accessories to style it closer to the cup winning bike.
  • The Shotgun was rumoured to be following after the release of the Super-Meteor, as deliveries are expected in February, we can expect it mid to late 2023.
  • The standard twin is probably the teased Bullet 650 which has been seen testing in January this year. No other details yet.
Confirmed 05/12/22

The 450’s!

Lastly we come to the new range of Himalayan’s in the 450cc range to challenge the incoming menagerie piling into that category with an already tried and tested platform. There are expected to reflect the ADV & SCRAM with ungraded power & features.

Though this seems to be the start of the 450cc line, it is by no means the end of it as another 3 models have also been teased with a similar plan to the 650cc twin range. It is at last confirmed that these will feature the much speculated liquid cooled 40BHP engine which kept popping up in confused spy shots earlier this year.

Well after all that, what an exciting year or two we have coming up! That’s not even considering some of the REALLY crazy rumours out there! Ride safe folks.

Things I don’t like: The battery saga.

For anyone who has ever seen the battery on a Meteor, it’s about the size of a Taco (though fatter) and only needs roughly the same amount of electrical charge. It doesn’t appear, like many bikes to enjoy the cold. I wonder what Himalayan riders do?

A rough timeline here follows:

  • 9th of November, battery dead with no explanation. Garage sat it’s odd but can’t get out and to use my Roadside assist (I have 3 years).
  • Roadside come out, advise it’s probably the battery re:the cold.
  • 22nd of November, battery dead again with no explanation despite charging. Impromptu WFH day and charger for full overnight.
  • 23rd, nope the battery is dead. RSA come out but naturally won’t have one. The bike is jump started in the pouring rain and I have to ride to Norwich to get it done. I’ll be honest I absolutely booted it to Oak Street and I’ve never been so terrified of stalling in my life. I’d not done it for 4+ months but hey, you never know…..

Queue the bike being totally checked over (under warranty) as there seemed to be a lot of concern that a battery had gone Kaput in 7 months. I Left the bike with them and stopped over to river side in the pouring rain, for extra effect I put my helmet on so I looked a right nutter. 3 hours later I get the call that despite checking practically everything electrical (which actually isn’t much on an Enfield) it was just a dud battery. Typical, as this is the only item not under the full 3 year warranty. Yup I was pissed, but at this time I’m just after getting my Comrade back.

So yes, right now I hate batteries.

Squeaky bum moment.

So I’ve just pulled off the dual carriageway and I’m trundling across the overpass when I hit a ‘Norfolk Roadblock’. One of the many joys of riding here is you can turn a corner and randomly come across something that someone else thought: “Hah! Fuck all yous then!”

In this case someone had left a roughly 5m square patch of mud, about 5cm thick and slightly damp from the general air moistness. It’s often potatoes or random other produce, just to keep riders on their toes. I think my speed gave me an advantage here.

The handlebars dropped left almost instantly but I pulled it back just as the rear wheel caught up with it and they dropped to the right, I pulled that back up too though I nipped up like anything. It definitely had the heart racing as I pulled away and hoped that I could use the terrible road surface to shed the mud from my tyres as fast as possible.

That thankfully, worked!