PH2: 2013 TR650 TERRA & STRADA
Two more offerings from BMW's ownership of Husqvarna
Much like the Nuda, Husqvarna’s new TR650 models borrow a few key components from parent company BMW’s parts bin. The engine is essentially a re-worked G650 GS motor that has been given new cams with longer timing, larger valves and a forged piston - all measures that have seen the compression increased as well as the power. With a claimed 58bhp and 44ft.lb of torque, the Husky models make 10bhp more than the G650 GS with the same torque.
The steel chassis and swingarm are unique to the TR models and so is the styling as despite originally being Swedish, Husky are now very much an Italian company and like to bring a bit of flair to the party. However flair only gets you so far with the Germans parents and to keep everything nice and safe, the TRs are the first Husky models to come with ABS, taken from BMW’s vast supplies but fitted with an option to disable it to meet with Husky’s off-road ethos. And speaking of off-road, the TR comes in two forms. The more road orientated Strada and the off-road inspired Terra, with styling and wheel sizes distinguishing them.
On the road but thinking of going off it…
But good as the handling is, the motor is the real star of the show. The G650 GS engine isn’t the most exciting lump around – functional certainly, exciting probably not - but despite feeling a bit sanitised due to a lack of vibrations, the work Husky have done to the 652cc single has transformed it. The throttle response is still beautifully smooth and soft, but the engine now has some poke, lifting the front in first and even second with a good slip of the clutch and pull on the bars. On the road it merrily revs away and is an absolute hoot to ride. The throttle soon becomes something of an all or nothing switch, but it’s brilliant fun despite being far from intimidating.
As this style of machine is aimed at newer riders there is certainly an element of the softly, softly, that isn’t found in a traditional Husky off-roader, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In typical Husky fashion if you want to play silly things you can, if not then just enjoy the ride. And should you feel the urge to venture off-road you can, the TR is more than up for a little light trail riding. Due to its road nature the Husky is a bit top heavy thanks to 14 litres of fuel swooshing around, but if you want to head up a trail you certainly can on the Terra and simply holding down a button on the switchgear deactivates the ABS so you can skid it around until you heart’s content.
Sticking to the tarmac
With different styling and a 19-inch front wheel replacing the Terra’s 21-inch item, the Strada carries no off-road pretence. On-road tyres (although chunky looking) and firmer suspension make this a bike for those who want to buzz around on an easy-going single cylinder machine – something the Strada does very well. The engine is exactly the same as the Terra’s unit but the difference the suspension, wheels and tyres make to the ride is noticeable.
On the road the Strada’s handling is nice and light while also feeling pretty planted through the corners thanks to the firmer ride. I’m not a huge off-road fan, so I preferred the more secure feel of the Strada in corners, however other riders liked the feeling of the Terra as it is a bit more characterful thanks to its large front wheel. It’s whatever floats your boat. Comfort-wise there is little to split the pair but due to the wheel/tyres the Strada felt a bit more assured under brakes.
Owners of single cylinder bikes seem to really take them to their hearts and the G650 GS is a very popular BMW model thanks to its easy going nature. The Husky brings all this to the table but adds in a bit of style and a more entertaining motor. BMW initially bought Husky with the intention of encouraging more younger riders into the BMW family and while the Nuda is a cracking bike, I reckon the TR will sell in bigger volumes.
Priced at £5,690 for the ABS bikes (there is also a non-ABS off-road targeted Terra with a 18-inch rear wheel for £4,990) the Strada and Terra are competitively priced and represent pretty good value when compared to the £6,195 GS or £6,499 Yamaha XT660R (no ABS) or £6,999 Tenere. My only slight concern is that at motorway speeds some riders complained of a slight weaving sensation. It seemed a weight issue as heavier riders didn’t notice it at all. I would like to claim I did, however the diet starts tomorrow and my bike was perfectly stable…
2013 TR650 Terra & Strada
Engine: 652cc, liquid-cooled single, DOHC, fuel injection
Power: 58hp @ 7,250rpm
Torque: 44ft.lb @ 5,750rpm
Top speed: 108mph (est)
Weight: 186kg (dry)
MPG: 70 (est)