Adventure Alert: Husqvarna ups the dual-sport ante with the TR650 Terra, which has dirt on its mind and adventure in its heart
Story Tuffy | Photography iKapture
What manufacturer in their right mind would want to enter into the adventure bike market? Surely the dual-sport game is sewn up with Suzuki’s ever-popular DR650E at one end of the scale and KTM’s 690 Enduro R at the other.
If we’re talking the 650 market we have the Kawasaki KLR650, Yamaha’s XT660 and XT660Z Ténéré, plus the BMW G 650 GS. Then there’s the almighty big boppers of adventure but that’s another bag of lollies altogether. For riders coming off pure enduro machines, the 650 category is popular because, well, the bikes feel more like dirtbikes than road bikes.
The makes and models we’ve already mentioned have solidified themselves in the marketplace and there’s a bike for every need, price range and preference. It’s been a steady market, until now.
The Husqvarna TR650 Terra is here and it’s built to take a slice of the dual-sport pie and take riders into their next adventure. And after sampling the Terra at the Australian press launch we can’t help thinking this bike might put some terror into the hearts of rival brand salesmen across the country.
The TR650 Terra began life based on the BMW G 650 GS Sertao. That’s no real surprise given the BMW ownership of Husqvarna — well, until recently, anyway.
The tech heads at Husqvarna then injected some of Husky’s enduro DNA into the beast, let it mutate and what you get is a great bike with a surprisingly fun engine in a very capable package at a killer price.
The 652cc fuel-injected engine pumps out 48hp, or 35kw in the LAMS-approved version off the showroom floor. But you get another 10 horses when it’s de-restricted and the five-speed transmission offers plenty of versatility for on- and off-road applications.
The 14-litre fuel tank is arguably a good size for this bike when you take into account the factory claim of 4.3L per 100km at 120km/h: that’s around 300km. The LCD instrument display doesn’t have a fuel gauge but it does show fuel consumption and there is a fuel light when juice gets low.
Reserve offers 2.5 litres. We didn’t hit the limits on our ride but all you serious adventure freaks out there will be pleased to know Australian brand Safari Tanks is working on a long-range option for this machine.
Like most dual-sport adventures, our ride began on the tar and took in some freeway and highway action before we could hit the dirt. The Terra powered up and cruised on the open roads like it was born to be there — no vibrations or uncomfortable annoyances to speak of. Excellent.
Once we hit the twisty roads, the Terra began to shine. Husqvarna’s enduro gun Glenn Kearney was on the ride and he threw his Terra around like a TE250R. At a roadside stop Glenn informed us he liked the performance he was getting from the Terra when he revved the thing. Glenn’s wheelies were very impressive and it was a pleasure to watch him ride the 650.
The dirt roads were where the Terra really stood up and made a name for itself. I ploughed my bike over corrugations and slammed a few potholes and the 190mm of suspension at the front and rear just soaked it up.
Cornering was no big deal. The Terra feels stable and well balanced and there’s no nervousness when approaching corners.
The Terra runs a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel so it behaves like a dirtbike. Our test bikes were fitted with Pirelli MT 90 A/T tyres which do not come standard but they were very nice to ride on.
The other good thing about the Terra is the seat height. At 860mm, the Terra will win over a lot of riders. And, when you count in the claimed 174kg dry weight, you have quite a manageable bike for a broad range of riders.
The Terra certainly is impressive straight off the showroom floor and when you consider the national rideaway price of $9995 it’s bound to attract plenty of potential buyers.
With more dirt roads than tar in mind there are a few things I’d want on the Terra before I left my local Husqvarna dealership. The great news is Husqvarna has a range of parts ready and waiting.
Starting with handguards, I’d then ask for the heated grips, high windshield and off-road footpegs, finishing with the aluminium skid plate. Going off Husqvarna’s Special Parts list, that’s another $1283.10 but I’m sure your local dealer could work some magic there to get you riding in style as soon as possible. I’d also think about fitting a set of Pirelli MT 90 A/T tyres once I’d worn the scabs off the standard Metzlers.
The TR650 Terra didn’t emerge from the Husqvarna maternity ward on its own — the Terra has a non-identical twin in the TR650 Strada.
The Strada carries more road DNA than its Terra twin and most notably boasts cast-aluminium 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. The styling of the Strada is also different, the bodywork boasting a different colour scheme and a low-mounted front guard.
The Strada shares the same engine and suspension and comes fitted with switchable ABS. Turning the ABS off for any dirt work is easy: all you do is pull up, press the ABS button on the handlebars for three seconds or until the ABS signal illuminates on the LCD and off you go.
The biggest surprise for us was just how capable the Strada was on the dirt. You really should test-ride both of these bikes to see for yourself.
Both machines come with 24 months’ parts and labour warranty with unlimited kilometres. The final dollop of icing on the cake is the 10,000km service intervals.
Jump on www.husqvarnamotorcycles.com.au to find your nearest dealer and book in a test ride. Not all Husqvarna dealers are authorised Terra and Strada dealers but those who are all have a test unit available.
Husqvarna have a great range of Special Parts available for the Terra and Strada right now. Check it out at www.husqvarnamotorcycles.com.au and do some window shopping. In the mean time here’s our list for the Terra.
Handguard set $142.80
Alloy skid plate $254.30
High windshield kit $176.05
Heated grip set $507.85
Off-road footpegs $202.10