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Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Husqvarna 401s spied testing

The first fruits of Husqvarna’s new road bike family have been spied testing in the earliest possible state, but the distinctive lines of the Vitpilen and Svartpilen concept bikes are clear to see amidst the obvious KTM donor parts.

Multiple versions of the bikes have been spotted testing on the roads near to KTM’s test facility in Spain. The 401 Svartpilen and 401 Vitpilen bikes use the single-cylinder Duke 390 engine and chassis platforms to keep costs under control, but wrap them in futuristic bodywork. At this stage of the development the bike is running a large amount of KTM Duke 390 parts with little or no changes. These include the engine, wheels, exhaust, suspension and brakes, but the straight line of the 401 Vitpilen tank shape is clearly visible, as are the café racer-style clip-ons, while the other version clearly wears the more traditional bars of the Svartpilen.

With the basic chassis set by the shared platform format, much of their character will come from the rider positioning. At this stage that means getting the rider’s feet and hands in the right place, and you can clearly see crude adjustable rearsets on both bikes, allowing fast repositioning of the pegs. The clip-ons on the Vitpilen are also adjustable.

Husqvarna are making a big play of the history of the brand which is one of the world’s oldest motorcycle names – but the past few years have been horribly disruptive with multiple owners making huge changes.

Now the firm has a laid out development plan which will see three new production bikes on sale in around 18 months. The first to arrive will be production versions of the 701 Supermoto and Enduro models already unveiled, and will be followed by the two bikes spied here around a year later.

KTM and Husqvarna boss Stefan Pierer has already made the bold claim that he wants Husqvarna to be in the top five selling manufacturers in Europe within five years which will also see KTM unveiling a new range of 750cc to 800cc V-twins to add to the model range in the next 18 months.
Husqvarna will get access to all of these engines, delivering the firm a pre-developed and proven range of engine and chassis options on which to build a highly cost effective new range of bikes. 

As with the KTM range, these new Husqvarnas will be penned by Kiska Design, who have worked on the styling and design engineering of all KTMs for the past 20 years. Gerald Kiska, founder and owner, told MCN recently: “Husqvarna has always been a pioneering brand since 1903. It’s not going to be retro and Husqvarna will be doing new things and being smart. Husqvarna will try to do things in a slightly different way. Of course parts will be shared but the bikes will appeal to a completely different type of customer.”

We expect to see further concepts from the firm at this year’s EICMA show in Milan in November, but don’t expect production versions of the Vit and Svartpilen to be shown until late 2016, in readiness for a 2017 release. 


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Item Reviewed: New Husqvarna 401s spied testing Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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