In November 2014, a year after the re-launch of the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand and subsequent move to Austria, Husqvarna further emphasised its return to the street motorcycle segment presenting two concept bikes at EICMA: the VITPILEN 401 and the SVARTPILEN 401. Husqvarna Motorcycles is now delivering production versions of the VITPILEN 401 and SVARTPILEN 401 to the general public. Later, also at EICMA, Husqvarna Motorcycles presented two different versions of the bigger 701 concepts, VITPILEN 701 in 2015 and SVARTPILEN 701 at this year’s press conference.
Earlier this month Husqvarna unveiled its latest addition to the family. Guests including yours truly, Spencer Matthews, Tamara Orlov-Alvarez, Darren Charman and Paul Sculfor among others were amongst the first in the UK to view the new Svartpilen 401, Vitpilen 701 and Vitpilen 401 models which will be available for purchase from early 2018. These single-cylinder ‘Thumpers’ are exquisite and offer great performance from the single cylinder four stroke engines.
My favourite, the VITPILEN 701 is powered by a modern 692.7 cc liquid-cooled, single cylinder engine that features the latest design and electronics technology, such as disengageable traction control. This is great tech that allows you to ride the bike safer in wet conditions, or in dry conditions for the less experienced. With a peak horsepower of 56kW (75hp) and 72Nm of torque at 6750 rpm, there is no doubting this bike’s performance potential.
Husqvarna has not only focused on the design of the VITPILEN 701, but also equipped it with the most modern and state-of-the-art technology available. From the chromoly steel-trellis frame to the proven WP mono-shock suspension and the supreme Italian BREMBO brakes.
The electronic fuel-injection is operated by a ride-by-wire system and delivers immediate, sharp and refined power. The Keihin fuel injection throttle body features a throttle valve that is electronically controlled by the engine management system (EMS). Sensors continuously send feedback to the EMS, which adjusts the throttle valve accordingly, resulting in perfect power delivery and throttle response.
The VITPILEN 701 is fitted with hydraulic BREMBO disk brake calipers, together with a state-of-the-art BOSCH ABS system, they ensure the highest level of safety in varying braking conditions. This function can also be fully disengaged, for more advanced riders.
The APTC (Adler Power Torque Control) slipper clutch allows for greater speeds when entering and exiting corners. The system maximises rear-wheel grip under hard acceleration and also prevents rear-wheel instability or hopping when braking hard into a turn, resulting in more control and perfect down-shifting.
The only 2 things I would’ve added to this very modern motorcycle is a rear single sided swing arm for ease of maintenance making the removal of the back wheel a zilch. Secondly, I would’ve replaced the cumbersome chain drive with a BELT drive! Chain drives have been around since 1800’s and they’re noisy, old-fashioned and very messy compared to a sleek, quiet, clean, maintenance-free belt drive. Of course, this would be a little more expensive to manufacture, but it would’ve been worth it.
I am looking forward to the test drive early next year and will be reporting further on the ride characteristics then.
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