That 900cc, F800GS-derived, parallel twin Husqvarna’s been showing off? It’s going in this naked roadster. BMW’s Italian dirt bike brand just released these sketches, teasing a product that will likely be unveiled at EICMA in November. So what do they tell us?
It’s hard not to draw parallels to KTM here. A dirt bike company getting into street bikes? The hard angles on the minimal bodywork? The steel tube chassis? The sharp, high tail? The number plate-like front cowl? If I’d colored these drawings orange on photoshop you’d believe this was the next Duke. It’s impossible to draw a definitive conclusion on specs from sketches, but if Husky follows through with the beefy USD forks, radial brakes and whatnot you see here, then they’ll also be following KTM’s lead in offering a mid-capacity naked with very high-end bits and pieces.
Having drawn the KTM connection, there’s actually another bike that these sketches remind us strongly of. Remember the Husqvarna SMQ concept from a couple year’s back? Minus the controversial front fairing/radiator cover, this new bike appears to be developing that design language. Also having drawn the KTM connection, this bike won't actually compete directly with any current KTM model, rather sitting between the Duke and Super Duke.
Our only concern here is in that BMW-derived parallel twin. In the BMW F800R and F800GS it’s pretty damn boring, delivering neither low down punch or top end rush. It just sort of thrums underwhelmingly along while you wish you were riding something else. With the 100cc capacity increase and other, unspecified, modifications, Husqvarna has hopefully found a way to build some actual excitement into this powerplant.
The big question here is how this bike will relate to that F800R. Priced from $9,950 to $11,395, the BMW is already significantly more expensive than superior rivals like the Triumph Street Triple. What seems to be happening here is a lighter, more powerful, higher-spec take on the F800R concept. While that seems, on the surface, like a good idea (who doesn’t like a light, powerful naked?), Husqvarna’s challenge will be delivering that bike at a competitive price point. $9,599 Triumph Street Triple R or $12-13,000 parallel-twin Husqvarna with minimal dealer presence?