Test and previews Tue 04 February 2020

Ajp PR7 650 Extreme: the bike that was missing

The bike that the market has been clamoring for years but that nobody manufactured is finally on the market: it comes from Portugal, it’s manufactured by AJP and it focuses on simplicity and effectiveness.

Do you want to know Columbus’ egg recipe? Simple!

Take a large displacement single-cylinder engine, equip it with long travel suspensions, feed it with an 18-liter tank capable of a range of more than 300km and make sure that the rider has decent aerodynamic protection with a standard navigation tower not an aftermarket one.

It might seem simple and yet this is the recipe for the perfect adventure bike especially if, as in the case of the AJP PR7, the wet weight is 165kg.

The bike we tested is the PR7 Extreme, the spearhead of the Portuguese brand that draws heavily from the standard version accessories catalog and has a decidedly racing graphic.

Once unloaded from the van, the bike shows off all its merchandise: very long 48mm ZF forks, a profusion of parts machined from solid and anodized, the DOMA exhaust and a nice pair of Michelin Desert that immediately identify the attitude and the intentions of this Extreme version.

With this passport, the test couldn’t take place in a small patch of land, we felt compelled to spend a whole day in the mountains to test its strengths and weaknesses and we swear that the bike itself asked for it.

The first thing evaluated is ergonomics as always. It’s really easy to ride the AJP in a standup position, holding a handlebar with a nice fold and with boots well planted on the wide, comfortable and with good grip footrests. Riding seated did not impress us in the same way, a triangulation that can be perfected since the feet are a bit too advanced and too closed as if the saddle was low, which is probably due to the need to keep it at a human height (920mm) despite the suspension travel of 300mm.

The saddle is flat and moving is easy while riding. In this Extreme version the upholstery guarantees excellent grip and padded so that it is comfortable enough even at the end of the day.

During the ride, the qualities of a chassis that prefers ease to absolute performance emerge and this is how it should be on a bike not expressly born for races.

The closed-cradle frame, in bolted aluminum and steel mixed tubes, has been designed to give the bike excellent agility and has a generous steering angle.

The ZF suspensions, as mentioned, have a travel of 300mm like the enduro racing bikes and this is a unique feature in today's dual panorama that underlines the strong off-road vocation of the bike.

The fork is good and, like the frame, it helps even those who don’t have extreme off-road riding experience. It filters ground roughness well and is rather smooth, however it is almost too soft and in the hands of throttle jockeys on fast sections or forcing the rhythm with the standard setup it can’t keep up. It is therefore necessary to close a few clicks to make it work more in accordance with the monoshock which, on the contrary, is more rigid.

To fully enjoy riding it, you need to play a bit with the setup controls to improve a set-up that is perfectible from the point of view of the balance between the front end and the rear.

As for the brakes (Brembo) the front is good, the rear instead is perhaps the only real drawback of the bike; almost not modulable and with a lever that is rather far from the footrests especially for riders with small feet, which make using the brake less intuitive (same problem also for the gear lever).

Moving from the chassis to the engine, the simple choices remain at the basis of this PR7 design.

The engine – which immediately gives away its origin linked to the pre-Austrian Husqvarna to the eyes of those who have been riding enduro for more than a few years - is the one that equips the SWMs today. Obviously, compared to Husqvarna engines, the displacement has been increased to 600cc and it has been made compliant with Euro4 standards.

Compared to the standard PR7, that engine of this Extreme version has been increased to 60hp thanks to the work done on the intake, exhaust and mapping; it certainly doesn’t a twin cylinder but the PR7 has other ambitions and the horsepower is more than enough for off-road fun.

Pickup is always present, even at low revs, but the horsepower comes out as the revs increase; in fact, when you first open the gas it is not violent and this facilitates the less prepared, the more skilled riders instead would probably prefer a more immediate gas response.

The low DOMA exhaust, which runs along the side of the bike nicely ending with a carbon cap, gives a very rally-like touch to the bike and has a nice sound even if contained by the homologation restrictions.

Finally, speaking of the instrumentation, we can say that it is the synthesis of the bike: a hymn to simplicity and functionality that doesn’t neglect style, that many would do well to follow.

It is composed of a minimal odometer having the same basic functions as enduro racing motorcycles, and of a 7-inch wide and very readable tablet placed separately on the turret, on which Android is installed. This means that it is an open and intuitive system used by everybody and on which all your favorite apps can be installed including those for navigating: no need for anything else.

AJP therefore presents an essential bike with a 100% off-road vocation which, thanks to the trick of being enduro approved, doesn’t have the troubles of ABS but, for the same reason, is approved for one person only.

A motorbike that achieves the objectives of the Portugal brand with only two little defects: a scarcely modulable rear brake and a tank which, once full, makes its inertia felt especially when riding sideways.

A product simple to use, which helps a lot those approaching off-road tourism and that answers all the complaints of those who wanted a non-exasperated single-cylinder with which one can also travel; the item now is finally on the price lists, it’s up to you to choose the destination!

Text: Dario Lupini

Tester:Pietro Bartolomei

Photos and Video: MBfotopress e Dario Lupini

Clothing: Completo Acerbis Adventure

Boots: TCX Comp EVO 2 Michelin

Helmet: Arai MX-V

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