Husqvarna continues to bring classic styling themes bang up to date with this new Baja concept, presented this morning at the New York Motorcycle Show. Like the tracker-style Husqvarna Moab concept before it, the Baja is equipped with parent company BMW’s 650cc single-cylinder and the same steel-tube perimeter frame. Also like the Moab, the name of the Baja’s game is accessible performance. For a dual-sport, it has a relatively low seat height and friendly looks.
The progression from Moab to Baja and Husqvarna’s recent entry into the street market with the Nuda likely indicates that the brand is working on something in a similar vein for production. Combining the functionality of a bike like the G650GS in a package with a wider youth-demographic appeal is a smart move. Good looks, less machismo, broad utility and an accessible price are exactly what a bike needs to appeal to those under-49s. The Baja should have all those assets in spades. Even the price; sharing components with established BMWs is a great way to reduce the cost of developing a new model.
Like the Moab, styling themes are pulled straight out of Husqvarna’s back catalog, then updated with creases and edges and LEDs to make them look more futuristic than retro. The LED number plate/headlight is identical to the Moab’s and is exceptionally neat. Fingers crossed something like it could maybe enter production, with the individual LEDs at least serving as running lights. So too are the red, white and yellow colors, plus the tasteful dash of chrome on the tank. The big tank and large, flat seat look great, make the bike friendly and approachable and promise the kind of easy-going adventure its tall suspension and knobby tires should be capable of.
The Baja is still definitely in concept stage though. Impractical gee-whiz concept touches include the dainty horizontal-line instruments (where’s speed going to be displayed on that?) and the stop/start button integrated into the top yoke. An old-fashioned kick starter seems far more appropriate; the rest of the bike succesfully conjures man/machine connection in a way an electronic gadget never will.
As members of that elusive under-49, non-redneck demographic, we can state with some authority that a bike like this Baja is exactly the kind of thing we’d like to commit to monthly payments for. It’s also exactly the kind of thing people our age dream about when they dream about motorcycling. Bring this to market, get it out of isolated dealerships lost out on the highways and bring it into city centers and into relevant media where people with disposable income will actually see it and this thing could be a runaway success.