Husqvarna's new G650GS-powered Strada 'street bike'

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This is Husqvarna’s latest road bike offering – a 650cc single-cylinder machine aimed at new riders.

It uses the punchy engine from BMW’s G650GS, but promises to be lighter and more powerful.

The Strada (Italian for street) was unveiled as a ‘concept’ at the Paris motorcycle show, but is due to go into production late next year.

Husqvarna says its price will be close to the BMWs, which at £5150 on-the-road is one of the cheapest 250cc-plus bike you can buy.

Power and torque figures have not been released, but Husqvarna says its engineers have ‘breathed on’ the engine to produce slightly more than the BMWs 47bhp and 44ftlb.

The firm says its weight is under 170kg dry – considerably less than the BMWs 192kg.

‘Lively street bike’

The result is a ‘lively street bike’ and urban commuter aimed at young and ‘young at heart’ riders, according to Husqvarna.

Like the G650GS, the firm says the Strada will also have off-road capabilities.

Husqvarna have been limited in how much it can improve on the BMW’s power and weight figures while still appealing to new licence holders. From 2013 they will be limited to 47bhp and 0.2 kilowatts per kilogramme (0.27bhp per kg) for two years after passing their test, instead of the current 33bhp, in line with the rest of Europe.

The BMW’s figures precisely match the limit. For every kilogramme the Husqvarna loses, it will also have to lose more power to qualify.

Two versions possible

Husqvarna’s PR Manager Martino Bianchi said the firm may produce a variant specifically to meet the new restrictions, but initially only the higher-spec version would be launched.

Newly-qualified bikers who don’t want to wait will have to get it restricted.

The bike’s styling is likely to make it an appealing addition to the market for new riders, who will be looking for more than the 33bhp offered by the likes of Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R.

Manufacturers have blamed uncertainty over the changing restrictions for a dearth of small-to-medium-capacity machines aimed at novices. Husqvarna’s Strada is the latest offering to help close that gap.

It follows others closely matching the new limits, including Yamaha’s latest MT-03 and Moto Guzzi’s V7 Classic. But the Strada’s looks and expected low price should also ensure its appeal is not limited to new riders, especially if it retains some of the fuel efficiency of the BMW, which easily manages 60mpg.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell