Husqvarna Baja 650: escapes on wheels

Dailies, Galleries, Import -


First there was the Moab concept, then the Baja and, now, the Baja again, this time in what appears to be production ready form. Where the first two on that list were all LEDs and edges bolted to a BMW G650GS frame and motor, this new Baja is realistic exhausts, round shapes and a real headlight…bolted to a G650GS frame and motor. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

In 1971, some guy named Steve took his shirt off and jumped an old Husqvarna onto the cover of Sports Illustrated. Today, it remains not only SI‘s most famous cover, but also probably the most famous non-prisoner of war image of that guy. That image also manages to capture all the freedom and style and speed an adventure that makes motorcycling great.

Cut to 2012 and motorcycles no longer make appearance on the front page of Sports Illustrated, no one outside of hardcore racing circles knows what a Husqvarna is and a bunch of kids tool around old shitty old motorcycles because modern bikes leave them cold.


Bolting a round headlight and some nice-looking bodywork to an G650GS could fix that for these reasons:

a) the littlest GS costs just $7,850. In BMW terms, that’s basically free.

2) people in ‘murika don’t buy the cheapest GS because it tells no story…aside from being clearly inferior to the 800 and 1200.

iii) those mythical young folk think having adventures on bikes is rad, but don’t think adventure bikes are rad.

D) Thanks to On Any Sunday and old photos they found in their dad’s garage, all those damn kids could actually be made to care about the Husqvarna brand, if it had any sort of connection to its history.

5) the bike just looks fucking rad and I want to strap a sleeping bag and a tent to it and take it camping. Don’t you?

gallery link

  • zero

    That does look rad. Dig the big frame tube, looks better rounded.

  • Jesse

    Liked the Moab concept better better with the single exhaust, pseudo number plate and LED lights, but still a fine looking bike.

  • tomwito

    Basically free! LOL, that is so true. I’ve heard that the only option that came free with a BMW was the air inside the cabin.

  • Troy R

    I agree that the G650GS is just a bit lacking, but add some legendary Husky bodywork. That’s a win.

  • Filipe

    FUCK. YES. if this thing actually comes out in ‘Murika it’ll be my next bike.

  • Roman

    Did they pour any Husqvarna sauce on the engine and/or chassis like they did with the TR 650 models? Or is this just (a most excellent looking) body kit on a standard 650 GS?

    • Wes Siler

      No word. I do spot USD forks in place of the BMW’s RWUs.

  • John

    It would be even nicer and lighter and more fun with the 450 engine, but oh well.

    • Wes Siler

      And require more maintenance and be more expensive and less broadly applicable to a smaller group of riders. In short, the antithesis of the bike you see here.

      • John

        And this is the antithesis of the original Husqvarnas.

        Meh. Stylistically cool, but nothing else. Recycled and common in a pretty bow. Are we reduced to buying bikes because of the cool new (old) aesthetics now? The could detune the 450 quite a bit or call Rotax for a new engine. I’m sure they’re on speed dial. Or even better, Highland, if they cared about lineage.

        Not nearly as special as the KTM Duke 390 or Free Ride 350 and that will have directly to do with the fact that it’s going to be too heavy for its styling and supposed audience. It will look great going to the coffee shop though.

        The Husqvarna Cross 400 has gotten old and fat.

        Cool, just not the tool it should be.

        • Wes Siler

          Or, you know, identify a gap in the market and fill it with a cool bike instead of playing the same game as every other bike maker, a game in which they can’t possibly hope to compete. If you want a 450 motocross or enduro or whatever, there’s already a million options.

          • Jon B.


            • John

              ……because there are just not enough different ways to go down to the local Starbuck’s.

          • John

            Brings a new meaning to the words “cafe racer”, doesn’t it?

            What bothers me isn’t the bike, which I rather like, it’s the marketing of it, invoking motorcycles that were light, small engined, fast, Swedish, minimalist to marketing a BMW X-Country.

            Also, you’re smoking dope if you think there are millions of 450 “enduros” or scramblers or trail bikes any more. There are essentially zero. These bikes didn’t give you nosebleeds and had little better than street suspension, but were relatively light and they could take you off road, certainly down dirt roads at high speeds and not break when you wreck them, nor did they cost a bloody fortune.

            This is may have the aesthetics down pat, but the spirit truly is the opposie of the bike that “inspired” it.

            It would be truly complete with a Starbuck’s logo on the number plates. Probably would get you preferential parking.

            • roccopeterbilt

              Just curious, John, as I agree with some of what you are saying…
              Is the bike you are picturing air-cooled or liquid-cooled? The nose-bleed 450 dirt only bikes out there are liquid and the 650s seem to come either way (Honda and Suzuki, air-cooled ~350lbs – Kawasaki, liquid-cooled ~430lbs) I haven’t ridden any of the above, but I never did understand why you couldn’t get a cross between a DRZ400 and the 650.

          • stickfigure

            I believe the current crop of 450 enduros are all plated dirt bikes with 15-hour service intervals. If you wanted to ride Baja on a EXC450 you’d need two oil changes along the way and a new top end when you got back.

            There doesn’t appear to be anything in production between the WR250R/CRF250L and the 690E/TE630/DR650/XR650L. Feels like a gap in the market to me – the only question is whether a 450 would save enough weight over a big-bore thumper to be worth the downgrade.

            • Wes Siler

              That 450 would have to be in an incredibly mild state of tune in order to be the least bit practical. What’s the DR-Z make? 34bhp?

              • John

                35-40hp is just fine, especially in a 300lb bike. The G450x is supposed to put out 50 and weights 250lbs dry.

                Take that same basic engine, redo it for reliability as many companies have done throughout history, substitute steel for aluminium in areas of likely damage and where it will save money, bigger tank, let it “pork up” to around 300lbs, keep the seat height and suspension reasonable, make it look cool and you have a helluva scrambler and trail bike that will also do great in town.

                Everyone should know by now that the ideal piston size is approximately 450cc for a good cross of torque, durability and revability. The engineers do, though are often told do so something completely different.

              • John

                The other option is detune, but stroke the 450 and make it a 500. Keep the weight down, but the torque up. With the 6 speed, the top end HP isn’t critical for the job.

                The 650 is a great engine for tooling around town, but geez, what’t the point of that when you can lighten it and get out and find some nice dirt roads to explore? A 450 will rev better, making up for some of the loss of the torque and, within reason, allow it to get pretty close in total power without being unreliable.

                To be honest, as long as they’re going to make it a heavy 650 single, they might as well toss the 700cc twin in the chassis. It’s obviously not much heavier.

                Let’s face it, this is a street bike with off road looks, so you might as well get a street oriented engine.

                Granted, if I were 6″ taller and 100lbs heavier, I’d probably be fine with how porky it will be.

                • Wes Siler

                  One thing I think you’re forgetting in all this is cost. To buy, run, insure etc. They aren’t trying to say this is a dedicated dirt bike. It’s a fun/easy/cheap bike for riding around town everyday and taking camping on the occasional weekend.

              • John

                I’d also like to remind you of this –

                “The single best thing about this new KTM 390 Duke? It’s not the 44bhp, 370cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor, the strong styling, the ABS brakes or even the high-spec WP suspension. No, it’s the weight: just 139kg/306lbs (dry). That, plus manufacturing by Bajaj in India should equal a fast, light, fun, easy-to-ride and affordable motorcycle. More like this please.” Who said that?

                Aside from all the “light makes right” stuff, are you saying that this 44HP 370 cc engine is going to have to be rebuild every 6 weeks? That it’s impractical? We know how to make a reasonably powerful small motor now that is reliable. You telling me you’d rather have a 650 Baja over something that weighed 300lbs and puts out nearly as much power, because, what, it looks old school?

                Look at the trend lines on cars. The V8 is essentially extinct, the V6 is heading in that direction, VW and Ford are building 1 liter 4-cylinder engines capable of pulling a car around and lasting 100K+ miles.

                • Wes Siler

                  They’re different bikes for different people. Not everyone wants to go fast.

              • John

                Also, I don’t know the cost. If it’s $7K-$8K, ummm, maybe. Kind of a nice allrounder I suppose. But I doubt BMW is going to do that. But there’s NO WAY it would pull me from a KTM Duke 390 unless the Duke cost $2000 more. And that just isn’t likely.

                This thing is totally going to have to rely on looks because its predecessor, the X-Country didn’t sell for crap and was heavily discounted. There just isn’t a desire (at its likely price) for what this bike DOES, though there maybe some for how it LOOKS. The X-Country proved this, even though it was a very good all around bike with a reasonable price. This bike will no doubt cost $2-3K more than the X-Country. But then, that DOES make it exclusive. There are suckers for that all right.

                • Wes Siler

                  The KTM and this aren’t competitors. Think of this as BMW’s competitor to the Triumph Scrambler.

              • John

                Well, we’ll see, though I would have preferred a very light 450cc machine, if the bike is under 350lbs and under $8K, it will at least make me think.

              • John

                Well, they’re not competitors because at anything like the same price, the KTM is going to be the truly cool bike and this thing is going to be nothing more than a conversation piece.

                The Scrambler is another bike that misses the mark and I highly doubt sells very well.

        • Steven

          There are already ugly motorcycles designed for wealthy enthusiasts with refined tastes. This is aimed at people who’d like a nice-looking motorcycle and don’t need cutting-edge performance or even know what it is.

          • Steven


          • John

            Poser bike, IOW.

            • Scott Jones

              ^ This.

            • Steven

              lol how’s the 8th grade treating you

  • John

    So, the subtitle here should be “Heavy Done Right”?

  • JaySD

    That is really nice looking.

  • BMW11GS

    I personally love the f650 and would choose one to ride around the world in a heartbeat (they take tons of abuse…and the components seems to be tougher than an old XR/XL/KRL/DR etc. after said abuse)…pop a windshield on this, fab a couple racks and we are looking good. 60 MPG all day no matter what and nice handling manners for ugly 3rd (or Houston) world back roads. I already have a 1100gs and think it is rad though… kids need to get over what they think is cool and put some substance back in their vacuous lifestyles.

  • Jon B.

    I made good on my word and bought the CRF250L when it came out. The minute this bike is for sale in the US, the 250L will goto the wife, or craigslist, and I will buy this.

    And then we will have many adventures.

    • AHA

      I’ll put my wife on Craig’s list…

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    That is by far the most oppugnant mix of curves and geodesics I’ve seen yet on a motorcycle. It’s as if two different designers got into a fist fight, and the result was this curiously disturbing agglomeration of round and polygonal shapes.

    • Mathew F.

      Reading that press release got me super excited, but then seeing the bike totally killed that boner. I’m with Miles here, this thing is a mess.

      • Chris Davis

        Looks like they veered off production road and had themselves a styling and proportion adventure. The great thing about adventures is their uncertainty. Sometimes you have an epic journey and sometimes you dump it and hobble back wounded. I’m afraid this was a journey of the latter variety. The Moab and Baja concepts were nailed down, angular evolutions inspired by the past. The production model looks like a bloated version of its old self. I feel like I just attended the Baja concept’s high school reunion.

  • Trev

    So this bike is a slightly better X-country/F-GS? Nice! I like the XC and F-GS, and I am looking forward to when this comes out.

    • Eben

      Yah, it looks a lot like a X-Country with different suspension and bodywork. Nothing wrong with that.

      • John

        Yes, and congrats to BMW for figuring out how to take a design that never sold and double its sales at twice the price.

        I feel like a Starbuck’s.

      • roccopeterbilt

        Didn’t these have tons of electrical problems? I used to work at a shop that now sells BMW and when I stopped in to inquire about the small BMW singles I was told to steer clear.

  • Taco

    a, 2, iii, D, 5

  • John

    I imagine a Cross 400 must have weighed about 275lbs, maybe less.

    What do you think this think will weigh?

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    90% Hasselhoff, 10% McQueen

    • John

      “Order me a vente frappucino, Kitt, when we’re 3 minutes from Starbuck’s. How do I look?”

      “Yes, Michael. You look fantastic”.

  • resonance

    I really like it, it looks very close to the concept. just with a n new headlight and exhausts.

    There will be new exhausts for aftermarket to reduce the weight and if you are desperate you can get a new headlight fabbed up for a low cost.

    otherwise it gives the Triumph scrambler a run for its money in the old is new department

  • holdingfast

    i dont know.. doesnt it looks clunky and heavy? i have a feeling this might look better in person.. or rather i hope it does, because i sort of want it. just because.

  • Ben

    I’ll buy it. Hell, I’ll buy two.
    Please Husky, please sell it here…

  • Vincent

    I love it.

  • Coreyvwc

    Meh… I happy enough with the off road handling of my monster 800 , which is the exact same size and weight as that (and infinitely better on the road). Then again, people also tell me I’m a nut job…

  • Charlie

    You would think everyone here is as talented as NYC Fastest. How about sensible, cool transportation at a good price. No bleeding edge needed for commuting. The perfect comp as noted is the Triumph Scrambler, which is heavier. I see a ton of modern Triumphs on the road because they are serviceable transportation and look good. I’m a buyer of these inexpensive knobbies.

  • Mark D [EX500]

    If its close to the same price as the BMW, hell, why not. Its a rad bike that can get you to a fire trails, but still be able to pick up when you lay it down because you have no fucking clue how to ride in the dirt. Perfect.

  • cheapdre

    dr dre headphones, Dr. Dre Beats Nate Robinson Limited Edition Headphones,Cheap beats Up to 79 % discount from Cheap beats by dre outlet flagship store.
    including: [url=]Beats By Dr Dre NBA Headphones[/url]
    [url=]Beats By Dr Dre Justin Bieber[/url]
    [url=]Cheap Monster Dr Dre Beats Studio Ferrari Limited Edition Headphone[/url]
    [url=]Beats By Dr Dre Lebron James[/url]
    [url=]Cheap Beats by Dr Dre Tour High Resolution In Ear White Headphones[/url]
    in [url=] cheap dr dre[/url] store online. all the cheap beats by de dre are hight quality and free shipping!

  • discountdre

    dr Dre cheap are our most popular one of the in our Beats By Dre headphones.
    including: [url=]Beats By Dr Dre Ferrari[/url]
    [url=]Monster Dr Dre Beats Mixr On Ear Headphones Silver[/url]
    [url=]Cheap Beats by Dr Dre Tour High Resolution In Ear White Headphones[/url]
    [url=]Monster Dr Dre Beats Mixr On Ear Headphones Silver[/url]
    [url=]Beats V MODA Crossfade LP[/url]
    in [url=] beats by dre sale[/url] store online. all the discount beats by de dre are hight quality and free shipping!

  • Ron Connors

    They should sell me the first one. I will actually use it. I have 8000 miles on 2013 HONDA CRF 250 L I bought in September. I need the HUSKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!