Less than a year after Husqvarna released photos of its Concept Baja, a street-legal production version of the 400 Cross-inspired 650 Single is several steps closer to reality.
At this year’s EICMA show in Milan, iconic footage from “On Any Sunday” of Malcolm Smith and Steve
McQueen spinning donuts on the sand in Mexico put the media in the appropriate frame of mind for the
unveiling of the latest version of the bike, now known as the Baja 650.
Before pulling the sheet off the bike, Max Kalbfell, head of sales and marketing, delivered a brief
presentation. He began by lauding the BMW-owned company’s strong resurgence in a down market. “In the first 10 months of 2012,” he said, “Husqvarna delivered 23 percent more motorcycles to our dealer
network than in the same period of 2011. We have achieved this result thanks to a different line of products, our expansion strategy to on-road segments and by adding new markets.”
“Today, our model range consists of three new off-road models and our brand-new on-road models, the
Nuda 900, Nuda 900R and the new TR650 Terra and TR650 Strada.
“Husqvarna is a global player,” he added, “and we are selling in more than 60 countries. We are
continuously investigating and developing new opportunities and expanding our business in emerging
Corporate news out of the way, Kalbfell turned his attention to the machine at his left. “Last year at
EICMA,” he said, “you saw the Concept Moab, and, shortly afterward, we presented the Concept Baja in
the U.S. Now, we want to take another step forward. I’m proud to present the new Concept Baja upgraded.”
While the Baja Concept may have the “same silhouette as early Huskys,” the bike appears to have grown
a bit in the past year. Are those thick fork legs longer? Is the seat plumper? One bystander opined that the new machine looks “less approachable.” No actual specifications were released.
One thing is certain: This is a streetbike. Unlike the earlier prototype, headlight, taillight, turnsignals and license-plate bracket are fitted. Other changes? The handlebar crossbar with its built-in LED readout is gone, and a second muffler has been added.
Another show-goer wondered if a production version of the Baja 650 might compete with models from
parent-company BMW, such as the $7850 G650GS.
If the Baja 650 Concept reaches the assembly line, ABS will be standard—as it will soon be on all
Husqvarnas. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another year to find out.