If rumors are to be believed, Husqvarna, the recently acquired brand by BMW, is going to use the F800GS’s Rotax motor to develop a set of four new motorcycles. I’ve heard about the development of a longer stroke of the Rotax twin, bored to 900cc. This motor would be the soul of four Husqvarna badged motorcycles: the first two developments being an Enduro Street and a Hard Enduro, subsequently followed by a Super Moto and a Street Fighter. The Enduro versions are rumored to be displayed at the 2011 EICMA this coming fall.
First of all, I welcome this expansion of opportunities in the enduro or adventure market. Personally, I hope these bikes won’t look too hooligan or moto-cross style for my taste. I had been waiting or hoping that BMW itself would offer a more dirt oriented version of the F800GS at some point. I wanted minor changes, such as improved and adjustable front suspension. And improved reliability as development of this model solidified along the years.
The F800GS 2011 model year is this bikes’ fourth production year, it is facing direct competition for the first time (Tiger 800 and Tiger 800XC), and BMW maintains an average of four to five years of shelf life on their products. So was I assuming the F800GS should be ready for an upgrade, beyond changes in color scheme, for 2012 anyway.
I wonder if the F800GS will in the end, be also updated considering all these speculated developments. Considering the Husqvarna brand belongs to BMW, and this brand evokes a more dirt oriented imagination, it is possible the F800GS will not incorporate the same specs as what is speculated for the Husqvarna version. On the other hand, Husqvarna is not known, or as known, for making street bikes as it is for making dirt bikes. If these rumors are correct, Husqvarna will be braking through on a segment of the market that is new to them.
Overall, these speculation about new models fit BMW’s recent line up expansion. Notable examples of the expansion on the line up are the 2010 S1000RR and the 2011 K1600GT models. The S1000RR has been a sales success! As an aside, BMW is also reviving the F650GS singles via a face lift of the re-badged G650.
Anyway, more options on the segment of motorcycles that I like are always a good thing! Let’s see what will come out of this as the other makers flood the markets with new models as well. It is hard to believe, though, that all these new models will survive without some level of cannibalization taking place.
Waiting and seeing.