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2013 Husqvarna TR650 Strada—First Ride

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Photo Credit: Kevin Wing

Greg Drevenstedt
February 28, 2013
Filed under Other Motorycle Reviews, Road Tests, Sport Standard + Standard Motorcycle Reviews

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A few months ago I attended the U.S. press launch for the all-new Husqvarna TR650 Terra and Strada, two street legal models powered by a more potent version of the liquid-cooled 652cc single from the BMW G 650 GS. We spent the day riding the 50/50 dual-purpose Terra on pavement and sandy tracks near Husky’s U.S. headquarters in Corona, California, and then I took a test bike home for a longer evaluation (read the first-ride report for the Husqvarna TR650 Terra). A few weeks later, I swapped the Terra for the street-oriented Strada.

The Husqvarna TR650 Strada weighs just 413 pounds fully fueled.

The Husqvarna TR650 Strada weighs just 413 pounds fully fueled.

Whereas the multi-surface-ready Terra is equipped with spoked 21-/18-inch wheels shod with Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara dual-sport tires with tubes inside, the street-focused Strada has cast 19-/17-inch wheels that are wider and wrapped in tubeless Metzeler Tourance EXPs. Smaller wheels reduce rake and trail—from 27 degrees/4.4 inches to 26 degrees/4.0 inches—and drop the seat height from 34.4 inches to 33.8. ABS is not available on the Terra, but it is standard equipment on the Strada; a button on the left switchgear turns it off. The Terra’s high fender was left in the parts bin, but both share the same minimalist flyscreen and angular bodywork around the “tank”—the 3.6 gallons of fuel is actually stored under the seat, which helps keep the center of gravity low.

Everything else about the Terra and Strada is the same, from the 58-horsepower (claimed) engine to the steel-bridge frame, steel swingarm with progressive linkage, BMW-sourced 5-speed gearbox and cable-actuated clutch, and the nonadjustable 48mm male-slider fork and preload/rebound-adjustable rear shock with 7.5 inches of travel each. With curb weights just over 400 pounds, the TR650s are little rippers, accelerating with mucho gusto. Throttle response is crisp, clutch action is light and shifting is a breeze. The only problem I experienced was a tendency for the bikes to stall when the engine is cold, and even occasionally after it had warmed up.

The Husqvarna TR650 Strada carries its 3.6 gallons of fuel under the seat.

The Husqvarna TR650 Strada carries its 3.6 gallons of fuel under the seat.

Built to a price, the TR650s offer few frills. The clutch and front brake levers aren’t adjustable, instrumentation is minimal and the suspension and brakes—though made by Sachs and Brembo, respectively—are good but not great. The single-disc front brake requires a firm pull at the lever to extract full power, and the lever squeezed my two little fingers against the grip during two-finger braking. Both models have standard metal luggage racks but there are few attachment points for bungees or straps. And the plastic exhaust shields are flimsy; I melted them (and a pair of precious Rok Straps!) against the hot pipes when I strapped on a tail bag. Oh, and did I mention how much I dislike the hair-trigger sidestand?

Both the Terra and the Strada encourage an aggressive, elbows-out riding style. Their wide handlebars, narrow tires and low weight make it easy to pitch them into corners, and they’ll carry ridiculous lean angles, never dragging hard parts. The larger front contact patch and smaller-diameter front wheel on the Strada help it feel more planted and somewhat more maneuverable. And I really appreciate the added safety margin of the standard ABS. Both models cruise easily at 80-plus mph, but the lack of wind protection beats up the rider pretty bad.

The street-focused Strada has cast 19-/17-inch wheels and standard ABS.

The street-focused Strada has cast 19-/17-inch wheels and standard ABS.

It was a hoot blasting around town on the Strada, but if I was going to buy a TR650—and believe me, I’ve seriously considered it—I’d go with the Terra because it’s a more versatile machine, ready to keep going long after the pavement ends. But if you only ride on the street, the Strada makes more sense, especially with the lower seat height, more durable wheels with tubeless tires and ABS. At $6,999 for the TR650 Terra and $7,499 for the TR650 Strada, either is a great deal. An extensive accessory list allows buyers to tailor the bikes as they see fit.

(NOTE: BMW Motorrad recently announced that it had sold Husqvarna to Pierer Industrie AG, an Austrian company headed by Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM. What exactly this means for the availability of Husqvarna models and its U.S. dealer network remains to be seen.)

2013 Husqvarna TR650 Strada
Base Price: $7,499
Website: husqvarna-motorcycles.com
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled single, DOHC, 4 valves
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 83.0mm
Displacement: 652cc
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain
Wheelbase: 59.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/4.0 in.
Seat Height: 33.8 in.
Wet Weight: 413 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.6 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 PON min. (high/avg/low) 43.4/42.0/39.6

With a wide handlebar and low weight, the Husqvarna TR650 Strada encourages an elbows-out riding style.

With a wide handlebar and low weight, the Husqvarna TR650 Strada encourages an elbows-out riding style.

The Husqvarna TR650's liquid-cooled 652cc is a tuned-up version of the BMW G 650 GS engine.

The Husqvarna TR650's liquid-cooled 652cc is a tuned-up version of the BMW G 650 GS engine.

The two-disc brake setup is by Brembo; power is decent, ABS is standard.

The two-disc brake setup is by Brembo; power is decent, ABS is standard.

Instrumentation and wind protection are minimal.

Instrumentation and wind protection are minimal.

The Husqvarna TR650 Strada has a comfortable two-up seat and a standard luggage rack.

The Husqvarna TR650 Strada has a comfortable two-up seat and a standard luggage rack.

Lean, lean, lean...you can go a long ways before anything will scrape.

Lean, lean, lean...you can go a long ways before anything will scrape.

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Comments

5 Responses to “2013 Husqvarna TR650 Strada—First Ride”

  1. Paul Meysembourg on March 1st, 2013 2:39 pm

    Both bikes look really nice. I’d seriously consider one, although once again I’m a bit disappointed at the mileage (high/avg/low) 43.4/42.0/39.6 your seeing in your test. I wouldn’t consider this “sipping” gas since my Super Ten. seems to easily obtain these numbers. I guess I consider MPG “sipping” more into the 60′s and 70′s. Looks like a fun ride, though.

    [Reply]

  2. Doc Stickel on March 2nd, 2013 2:40 pm

    Nice machines, but my Sertao does achieve 60-72 mpg easily, and on regular (87) octane to boot!

    [Reply]

  3. MadDogTR on July 1st, 2013 6:07 pm

    Real world fuel mileage varies differently for everyone. Seems my mileage is always lower than most people in the real world. My Sertao averaged 55 mpg for me. My TR650 Terra gets 50 mpg for me. Not a bad trade for the extra ponies.

    [Reply]

  4. Teakwood on December 8th, 2013 12:35 am

    The TR650 Strada looks awesome and I’d like to get one. I’m sure that with more agressive rubber it will do fine on dirt roads. It sounds like a very capable and snappy road bike, a true dualsport. I’m only worried about spare parts and maintenance as neither BMW nor Husky want to deal with these bikes. Their future in N America is questionable.

    [Reply]

  5. MadDogTR on December 9th, 2013 4:13 pm

    I don’t know how questionable the future of these bikes is. They are gone. Period. No question.

    If you want one, you better get it fast.

    [Reply]

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