2013 Husqvarna TR650 Test
At the end of last year we tested the dual-sport half of Husqvarna’s new fraternal TR650 twins. We found the Terra to be quite a fun bike on the street, and capable on unchallenging dirt terrain.
The road-only Strada is issued Metzeler Tourance tires, along with smaller diameter cast aluminum wheels that brings the TR650 chassis seat height under 34 inches and tucks the rake in an extra degree for more responsive handling.
The Strada uses the same China-sourced 652cc single cylinder motor found in BMW’s G 650 GS line (we’ll see if it survives Husqvarna’s recent sale to KTM), but with the head and valve train reworked, and compression boosted to 12.3:1 to pump out 58 horses at 7250 rpm. This extra power doesn’t turn a workhorse into a thoroughbred, but it definitely increases the fun factor.
The motor feels like a normal 650 until you rev up past the mid-range and then it actually has a hit that can allow you to hooligan around if you keep the revs up. The TR650 Strada has a quick turning chassis to match the peppy engine, and this keeps it agile in town, as well as a blast to ride in the canyons.
The 410-pound claimed curb weight of the Strada is in line for a pure street bike this size. A single 300mm disc with Brembo calipers is enough to slow things down at an adequate rate.
There is a price to pay for the Strada’s frisky performance in tighter quarters. Stability at speed is a little suspect. Small speed wobbles on the freeway are easy to induce with a little shake of the handlebar, and I would be careful when using panniers or loading up the bike for high-speed riding.
The Strada has huge weighted bar ends, so this must be a known engineering issue; when I asked the Husky guys, they really did not have much to say about it. It’s not a huge problem, as with little wind protection and harsh heavily-sprung/lightly damped suspension, freeway rides of any length are not comfortable.
If we were interested in Husqvarna TR650 touring, we would go with the Terra, as it handles higher speeds better and has the ability to do a bit of exploring. In town, the Strada can be a blast working your way around cars and enjoying a little mischief along the way.
This story is featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine — available on newsstands and good bookstores everywhere. The issue is also available free to readers on Apple Newsstand (for iOS devices) and Google Play (Android). To subscribe to the print edition, please visit our Subscriber Services page.