RS 650R: (review)

Feb 22 2016

RS 650R: (review)

ADV Magazine – Mar-2016


Australia’s newest adventure bike is a blast from the past – in more ways than one.


SWM is a bike brand that’ll ring a few bells with older riders. Back in the last century the Italian marque used to knock out a pretty competitive two-stroke enduro bike. In the 1970s SWMs were podium finishers in enduro world championships, and as it moved into the 1980s the company also developed a range of competitive trials bikes using Rotax engines. In the best traditions of European motorcycle manufacturers, the company shut its doors in 1984, only to be resurrected later. In 2014, Ampelio Macchi, a bit of an engineering brainbox who cut his teeth with companies like Cagiva, Aprilia and Husqvarna, breathed life back into SWM and set up in what was the Husqvarna factory in Lombadia, Italiano.


Anyhoo, the relevance of all this history to the bronzed Aussie lies in the recent appointment of an Australian distributor – Mojo Motorcycles – and the release of the RS 650R, a bike that offers adventure riders some really frigging exciting possibilities.

We’re really frigging excited about it, anyway.


The RS is heavily based on the old Husqvarna TE630. We happen to know a bit about that model Husky and we have a very high opinion of the bike. What gets us so excited about the SWM is that, if as it appears on paper this bike is essentially a refined TE630, it’ll mean there’s once again on the Australian market a 650cc single with a strong engine, good suspension, quality brakes, fuel injection and no electronics – except for the fuel injection.


We like that bit.


The whole package weighs in at 144kg.


We love the performance of modern bikes as much as anyone, but we know there are plenty of riders who prefer a bike without rider aids. They like the feel and challenge of the bare-bones ride. Now, instead of having to shop around for a good second-hand bike, Australians can buy a brand-new one at an insane price. As this issue goes to print, the SWM rolls off the dealer floor for $8990 including GST, plus ORC.

We’re not for a second downplaying the great value of the KLR, DR and Sertão, but the more choice, the better. Those in the market for a 650cc single are starting to look a little spoiled for choice.


Can you see why we’re peeing our pants?


We’ll give you the full rundown on the SWM next issue after we’ve ridden it.


We love our job!


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