Tag Archives: Husqvarna Motorcycles

Striking Vikings: How Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
This 1970 Husqvarna 250 Cross belonged to Bruce Brown and appeared in On Any Sunday. It is now part of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s collection. Photos by TED7 / Courtesy of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

For a while there, 50 years ago, Husqvarna was perhaps the best-known and most desirable dirtbike in the world. They were good enough bikes — I owned and tested them in the day — but fame earned in the hands of Baja racer and ISDT gold medalist Malcolm Smith, and their use by actor Steve McQueen, exposed and validated the bikes to more people through the movie On Any Sunday than probably any amount of advertising or editorial coverage could accomplish. Whereas magazine tests and race results reached readers hungry for the latest news about the latest products, such impressions often vaporize when the next generation of products arrives. And from the mid-1960s onward until the modern 4-stroke dirtbike era, those changes were relentless. 

What the movie actually did for the Scandinavian machines was far deeper, what scientists would define as “imprinting.” In 1935, Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz noticed that goslings (newly hatched geese) would memorably imprint on the first living animal they saw, whether that was Mother Goose or a person. This imprint became lifelong, the same powerful imprint that Husqvarna’s heroic and emotional appearances in On Any Sunday created for kids and young adults at the time. And so, all these years later, the effect Husqvarna — particularly the twin-shock, chrome-sided tank models with the aluminum fenders — has on legions of middle-aged men is real, bordering on mental. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart

With its hand-stenciled number plate, scuffed finishes, and weathered patina, Bruce Brown’s 250 Cross tells a story of competition and heavy use, and it helped make Husqvarna famous in America. Its air-cooled 2-stroke single and bolt-together frame were simple but durable. Brown replaced the original metal fenders with lighter, flexible plastic fenders made by Preston Petty Products. 

How did Husqvarna of far-flung Sweden — the land of reindeer and icy fjords — find itself in the right place at the right time? Maybe it was serendipity, since in 1953 the company produced its first purpose-built enduro, the Silver Arrow, featuring an upswept exhaust and high-mounted fenders to idealize the bike for trail use. Presciently, Husky likewise pioneered a 500cc 4-stroke for FIM motocross competition in 1958, but that model had a short lifespan. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
Featuring lights, a horn, a speedometer, and a California green sticker, this 1967 250 Commando (VIN 167038) dual-sport was the first Husqvarna owned by Steve McQueen. Like Brown’s 250 Cross, it has been preserved in its original, unrestored condition, with a battered red-and-silver tank, a rusty exhaust pipe and a taped-up seat.

From there, a few more years of development finally produced a 2-stroke production motocross bike fit for America. Motocross had just come here by way of California in 1965, thanks to West Coast roadracer Wes Cooley, Sr., who discovered the fledgling sport while in Europe. After returning home, he organized the first known sanctioned MX event in this country, an invitational at Castaic near Los Angeles. 

“When Wes called to announce the race, most of us said, ‘What?’” laughed AMA Hall of Fame member Mary McGee. “Even so, 45 of us, mostly desert riders, showed up.” McGee rode that event, although on a Triumph twin desert sled and not a Husky, making her America’s first female motocross racer. Then Cooley repeated in 1966. 

“This was the first U.S. motocross race for Husqvarna, and also the first U.S. race for Torsten Hallman,” McGee added. Hallman would ultimately win six 250cc world titles for Husky and was atop his game in ’66. “Now there were close to 60 riders, but everyone had their eyes on Torsten. He and the Husky together made a huge impact. Mostly because Torsten was so bloody fast, but also because the Husky was a proper motocross bike — it was so beautiful compared to looking at a big, huge Triumph, Matchless, or AJS. That reverberated fast through the manufacturers.” 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart

The other factor in the serendipity equation was Edison Dye, who obtained Husqvarna distribution rights in America and had brought Hallman here. Aboard the newfangled Husqvarna, Torsten simply blew the competition away, establishing a benchmark for the new sport of motocross that was totally European — Swedish, actually — from the bikes’ weirdly named Trelleborg knobby tires on up. 

Prior to this time, Malcolm Smith rode a heavy 4-stroke Matchless G80CS, and then hopped over to a 2-stroke Greeves before trying a Husqvarna in a desert shakedown. “In 1966, Edison came to my repair shop and wanted me to race one of the two Husqvarnas he had imported,” Smith recalled. “I said no because I was racing a Greeves for Nick Nicholson. But he had one in his pickup and said, ‘At least try it.’ So, I rode it around the track we had built in the hills and came back and told him I would race it. It was so much better feeling than anything I had ridden before — light, powerful, and agile. I won many races on it and kept on racing Husqvarnas until they were sold to the Italians.” 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
The 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross is one of two donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum by Mark and Randy Zimmerman. Steve McQueen had it done up in chrome before giving it to his friend and fellow actor, James Coburn.

I asked Malcolm to recall his favorite and least-favorite Huskys. “The best Husqvarna I had was a 400WR 6-speed,” he said. “Very smooth, even power, and no vibration. It was only produced one year before they made it a 430.” 

And the worst? “The worst bike Husqvarna ever made was the air-cooled Desert Master 450,” he revealed. “They used the ‘boat anchor’ motor, as we called it. Big, heavy, slow, and unreliable.” 

With good business smarts even as a young man, Smith obtained a dealership franchise as he started racing Husqvarnas. Over the years that franchise grew into the Malcolm Smith Motorsports dealership in Riverside, California, and the Malcolm Smith Racing (now MSR) product line that have made Smith wealthy as well as famous for his on-track and on-screen accomplishments. As is typical though, instead of mentioning this, Malcolm credited Husqvarna rep Gunnar Lindstrom, a talented engineer as well as racer, with helping the brand grow in the States. 

The story thus far may appear to start Husqvarna’s clock in the mid-1960s. While that’s true in the U.S., the brand’s history runs much deeper. Husqvarna began as a gun manufacturer in 1689, produced bicycles in the late 1800s, and in 1903 began manufacturing motorcycles. Starting in the 1910s, Husqvarna produced V-twin road bikes, and for a time in the 1930s, 350cc and 500cc V-twin racing models that won several Grands Prix, although most of the precious team bikes were lost in a truck fire. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna 400 Cross has the original aluminum fenders, with a rubber mud flap on the front that would bend and flop around at speed.

The basic engine that powered the famous Husqvarna 250 Cross and 400 Cross bikes in Bruce Brown’s historic 1971 film first took shape in the mid-1950s Silver Arrow enduro model. Studying the egg-shaped engine cases and the organic shape of the air-cooled piston-port cylinder and head reveals how a postwar engineering draftsman’s board produced forms that, decades later, were drawn by innumerable school kids on their schoolbook covers. 

The ode of these early purebred dirtbikes, from the mid-1950s through the mid-1980s and the end of the line for the “original” Husqvarna motorcycles, was defined by engineering principles of simplicity, strength, performance, and light weight. Inside those first egg-shaped cases were a straightforward pressed-together crankshaft supported by ball bearings and using a roller-bearing connecting-rod big end. Up top was an iron cylinder liner press-fit into an aluminum cylinder, topped by an aluminum head. A simple magneto provided spark and, for enduro versions, lighting. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart

Power flowed from the crank to the early 4-speed dog-type gearbox via a gear primary drive and a multi-plate wet clutch. This type of architecture was widely found among European dirtbikes such as Bultaco and CZ. A tuned upswept expansion chamber maximized power in the desired portion of the rev range, and complemented, as did the gearbox ratios, the intended use of the model. 

Noted motocross bike restorer Bill Masho has rebuilt numerous Huskys to museum standards and knows them from their crankshafts up. “They are logical but not over-engineered, and robust enough with regular maintenance,” he noted. “Early (1966-67) oval-case 4-speeds were exceedingly good, displacing 2-stroke Greeves and other early ’smokers. The 1970-71 400 Cross was probably the best model of the series — no major faults. The first 5-speeds (starting in 1972) were heavy and slower, and didn’t handle as well. But the later ones — particularly the GP of 1975-76 — were very effective.” Masho should know. As this was written he was in Unadilla racing a post-vintage national. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
This 1971 400 Cross (VIN MI4666) was registered to Solar Productions, Steve McQueen’s production company. It’s the same model Husky on which he did a shirtless wheelie for the August 23, 1971, cover of Sports Illustrated (“Steve McQueen Escapes on Wheels”). This one was modified with a Ceriani fork and Koni shocks, and it underwent a full restoration in 2012.

Highly desirable today are the early “bolt together” frame models, and naturally the iconic On Any Sunday models with the rounded, chrome-sided tanks and that peculiar mud flap hanging off the front fender like the floppy ear of a mutt. Honda copied it on the first Elsinore models, a shameless mimicry some thought. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart

Husqvarna was on the world stage in motocross from the get-go, and it soon enough got there in America too, thanks to Hallman, Smith, and notable U.S. riders including Mark Blackwell, Kent Howerton, Brad Lackey, and Chuck Sun. And in the desert, J.N. Roberts and Whitey Martino — and John McCown with his dog Kookie riding on the gas tank! — excelled. Remarkably, given the brand’s strong reputation, in 1976 Howerton claimed Husqvarna’s first and only U.S. national motocross championship in the 500cc class. It would be over 40 years before Zach Osborne repeated the feat aboard the modern KTM-bred 250cc and 450cc 4-strokes. Dick Burleson and Malcolm Smith flew the Husqvarna flag in enduros, and Smith won the Baja 1000 twice on Husqvarnas, first with Roberts and later with Gunnar Nilsson.


The Japanese companies got on the pipe big time in the 1980s, reshaping the technology battlefield with liquid cooling, long-travel suspension, and single-shock, rising-rate rear suspension systems in a stampede of progress. Husqvarna was late to follow, and eventually fell out of favor with the hard chargers. Even so, with its antiquated air-cooled engines and twin shocks, the brand soldiered on into the mid-1980s in the U.S. And then the party — at least here — ended, as the forward-looking ’83 TE 510 4-stroke enduro was a decade ahead of the industry. Ownership of Husqvarna traded hands several times — Cagiva in 1987, BMW in 2007, and finally KTM in 2013. 

Today the “new” Husqvarna is active in motocross, cross country, and enduro, and offers a line of 2-stroke and 4-stroke bikes paralleling KTM’s meteoric line. Husky is now also back on the street with the 701 Supermoto, 701 Enduro dual-sport, the avant-garde Svartpilen and Vitpilen naked bikes, and the upcoming Norden 901 adventure bike. 

How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart
How Sweden’s Scrappy Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart

It’s been 50 years since On Any Sunday charmed audiences across the country, and even longer since those first wraithlike silver-and-red Husqvarnas lined up to race in the hills of Southern California. A kid who got an eyeful that day would nearly be a senior citizen now, but he would still remember the unmuffled shout of 2-stroke racing engines and the flash of the Huskys’ chrome-sided tanks, polished fenders, and maybe even that floppy mud flap swept back in the wind. 

And that, my friends, is what you call an imprint. 

The Husqvarnas shown in the accompanying photos were donated to the Petersen Automotive Museum by Mark and Randy Zimmerman. The Petersen’s permanent collection includes hundreds of automobiles and motorcycles. Located in Los Angeles, the museum regularly features motorcycle exhibits in the Richard Varner Family Gallery — “ADV:Overland,” curated by Paul d’Orléans, opened in July 2021. For more information, visit petersen.org. 

The post Striking Vikings: How Husqvarna Captured America’s Heart first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR Announced in North America

Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, Inc. has announced that the Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR will be coming to the US. The 701 Enduro LR is identical to the 701 Enduro, but features an extended 6.6-gallon fuel tank aimed at off-road riders looking to tackle greater mileage. MSRP in the United States is set at $12,499.

2020 Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR Announced In North America

From Press Release:

Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the 2020 701 Enduro LR, the new long range enduro machine for riders wanting to travel further. Offering additional touring capabilities, thanks to its increased fuel capacity of 6.6 gallons, the 701 Enduro LR features the same advanced electronics as the highly popular 701 Enduro.

Bred from Husqvarna Motorcycles’ 701 Enduro, the brand new 701 Enduro LR provides astounding power-to-weight performance, a Ride-by-Wire throttle system and carefully engineered ergonomics. With its fully integrated 6.6-gallon fuel tanks, it is the perfect machine for extended, adrenaline-filled on-road or offroad adventures, allowing incredible range between fuel stops.

2020 Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR Announced In North America

The renowned, torquey, single-cylinder 692.7 cc engine offers a perfectly linear power delivery in all riding conditions. Fitted with cornering ABS, lean angle sensitive Traction Control, switchable Ride Modes and Easy Shift as standard, the 701 Enduro LR is capable of serious adventure riding and long-distance touring.

Extremely well-balanced and delivering impressive agility and handling, the 701 Enduro LR comes fitted with fully-adjustable 48 mm WP XPLOR upside-down forks and a WP XPLOR rear shock, offering 250 mm of wheel travel and excellent all-terrain capabilities.

The 701 Enduro LR comes with its own unique new graphics. Strikingly individual, it features progressive colors that guarantee they stand out in style.

2020 Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR

Technical Highlights:

  • Lightweight, integrated fuel tanks – additional 3.2-gallon capacity
  • Switchable Ride Modes – change power characteristics while riding
  • Bosch cornering ABS – lean angle specific braking technology
  • Easy Shift function – seamless up- and down shifting for a smoother ride
  • Lean-angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control – perfect rear wheel traction
  • Chromium-molybdenum steel trellis frame – amazing agility and stability
  • Aluminum swingarm – extremely low weight for maximum traction and stability
  • Polyamide rear subframe with integrated fuel tank – high-tech, single-piece construction

Ensuring all 701 Enduro LR riders are fully prepared for their next adventure, the Functional Clothing Offroad 2020 collection offers high-quality items that guarantee protection, all-around functionality and comfort. Husqvarna Motorcycles also offers an extensive lineup of Accessories – high-quality items that add additional protection, durability and style to all 701 Enduro LR machines.

The 2020 701 Enduro LR will be available at authorized Husqvarna Motorcycles Dealers beginning fall of 2020. For all details on pricing and availability please refer to the Husqvarna Motorcycles website: www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com/en-us.

2020 Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR

2020 Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR Photo Gallery:

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 | Road Test Review

2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
Unique Scandinavian style and a mission-specific solo seat are trademarks of the Vitpilen 701. Just add a twisty road. Photos by Mark Tuttle.

Some bikes prize form over function, and that’s OK. I mean, come on, the star-spangled chopper ridden by Peter Fonda in “Easy Rider” was pretty far from perfectly functional — it looked cool and that was that. It’s no chopper, but Husqvarna’s Vitpilen 701 lies at a similar place on the form/function spectrum, and if you’re a fan of Scandinavian style it’s quite appealing to the eye.

Not to say it isn’t fun to ride, as long as those rides are primarily on tight, technical, twisty roads, where the Vitpilen’s taut chassis and suspension and feisty, liquid-cooled 693cc single are allowed to shine. With 73 peak horsepower and almost 51 lb-ft of torque per the Jett Tuning dyno, the 365-pound Vitpilen 701 is highly entertaining and an ideal mount for a weekend warrior looking to own his or her local run of twisties, unencumbered by a passenger (there are no rear footpegs) and without straying too far from a gas station (though if you can tame your throttle hand the 3.2-gallon tank is good for about 160 miles).

2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
Scooting down a steep set of tight turns, I appreciated the Vitpilen’s strong Brembo brakes. Handling is sharp and scalpel-like…which unfortunately also describes its comfort level.

Jenny’s Gear
Helmet: Vemar Zephir
Jacket: Fly Racing Butane
Pants: MotoGirl
Boots: Sidi Performer Lei

My main beef with the bike is its seat, which is tall, hard and angular. With toes on the ground, the edges cut painfully into my thighs and once underway its sticky material locked me into place, making it hard to shift around when doing my best Valentino Rossi impression in the canyons. Coupled with the reach to the wide clip-ons, the Vitpilen is decidedly sporty — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was made, after all, to “rip it,” as they say here in SoCal. And when ripping it, you’ll forget about how hard the seat is.

Rolling on tubeless spoked 17-inch wheels for a supermoto look, shod with sticky Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S21 tires, and with adjustable WP Apex suspension with 5.3 inches of travel front and rear, the Vitpilen feels stable and planted despite its extremely light weight. Its engine is tuned for ripping as well, rewarding a heavy hand (there goes the 160-mile range…) and protesting with fits and jerks if you’re too lenient. Don’t worry about diving in too hot, the 4-piston front and single-piston rear brakes, both Brembo and fitted with switchable Bosch 9M+ ABS, are strong and offer good feedback.

Arrive at the top, drop the kickstand and admire the way the light plays off the gorgeous blue paint; bask in your status as King (or Queen) of the Mountain. Are there better all-around bikes? Sure, but the Vitpilen 701 knows what it is and makes no apologies for it. 

2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701.

Keep scrolling for more photos.

2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
Liquid-cooled, high-strung single sips or slurps high-octane, depending on how successful you are at taming your throttle hand.
2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
LED headlight incorporates a halo DRL. Clip-ons and mirrors are wide for a rear view of more than elbows.
2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
Like its darker Svartpilen sibling, the Vitpilen’s LCD is small, awkwardly placed and somewhat hard to read at a glance.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 | Road Test Review

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen
With a taller, wider handlebar than its sportier Vitpilen siblings and reasonably placed footpegs, the Svartpilen puts the rider in position to comfortably tackle both traffic and twisties alike. Photos by Kevin Wing.

Different is good. What would our world be like if the only ice cream flavors were chocolate and vanilla? A life without Denali Mint Moose Tracks or Cherry Garcia would be rather bland indeed. And that’s why bikes like Husqvarna’s Svartpilen 701 excite me: it’s a refreshing antidote to the homogeny we can often detect creeping into our lives.

Husqvarna, founded in Sweden in 1689 as a manufacturer of guns and, since 1903, motorcycles, is probably best known for its off-road models, but after its motorcycle division’s acquisition by KTM in 2013 it decided to make a return to the street bike market — with a decidedly Scandinavian flair. Its current lineup of four street models includes the café racer-styled Vitpilen 401 and 701, the Svartpilen 401  scrambler and the Svartpilen 701.

Powered by the 693cc liquid-cooled single used in KTM’s 690 Duke and 690 Enduro, the Svartpilen 701 might be best described as a Swedish street tracker, complete with vestigial number plate on the right side, and its 18-inch front, 17-inch rear cast wheels are shod with the same Pirelli MT60 RS tires as those found on other street-oriented but off-road-flavored bikes like Ducati’s Scrambler lineup.

The harder you look at it, the more oddities — or art, per the eye of the beholder — you see. The engine is clutched within a tubular steel trellis frame — nothing outlandish there, but everything from there up (and back) is rendered in a futuristic blend of straight lines and curves, a departure from the origami angles of its KTM cousins.

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen
Love it or hate it, you’ve gotta admit the Svartpilen 701 looks like nothing else on the road. Bonus: it’s a hoot to ride too!

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: Nolan N86
Jacket: Fly Racing Airraid
Pants: Fly Racing Terra Trek
Boots: Fly Racing Milepost II

The hard, nearly 33-inch-high seat makes ample use of the straight lines, including on its edges: uncomfortable at stops but surprisingly livable with feet on pegs and hands on the wide, slightly swept-back handlebar, at least for an hour or so at a time. No matter, you can’t even pretend that this is a touring bike, and at its intended purpose — carving up city traffic and twisty, technical roads — it succeeds in spades.

Fully adjustable WP suspension, though it boasts 5.9 inches of travel front and rear, is stiff and sporty, even at its softest settings. The throttle-by-wire EFI, pushing high-octane fuel through one big 50mm throttle body, prefers a heavy hand and higher rpm; a couple of times I felt some herky-jerkiness rolling back on out of a corner if I let the engine speed drop too far. There’s a slipper clutch if you like to keep your left hand active, plus an up/down quickshifter if you don’t, and traction control and ABS can be disabled if you so choose, although it’s all or nothing; you can’t disable/enable them separately. 

The 4-valve single spins out an entertaining 72.4 horsepower at 8,200 rpm and almost 51 lb-ft of torque at 6,800, making the lithe 368-pound Svartpilen 701 gobs of fun and very easy to toss around, even for someone my size. Speaking of which, you may be looking at these road test photos and wondering if I ate the wrong mushroom in Wonderland, gaining several inches and more than several pounds. Not to worry, that’s Senior Editor Drevenstedt riding as my body double, since I was finishing up a European tour when the photo shoot occurred.

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen
Wrapped in a steel trellis frame, the 693cc liquid-cooled single spools up quickly and the key to the engine’s smoothness is dual counterbalancers.

The Svartpilen and I got to know each other on the twisty roads of the Santa Monica Mountains, where I became smitten with its ruthless efficiency and seemingly effortless handling — as long as we were keeping the speeds below about 75 mph. Not a touring bike.

And as its looks might suggest, the Black Arrow (in Swedish, svart = black, pilen = arrow) isn’t without its quirks. For starters, fit-and-finish is a bit hit-or-miss…for example, both the Brembo front brake lever and Magura hydraulic clutch lever are adjustable, but the neighboring switchgear feels cheap and plasticky. The LED headlight and taillight are svelte and modern, but the single round LCD instrument is poorly lit with small numbers that are hard to read at a glance, and the buttons to change/reset the display are difficult to use. I also found the fuel gauge to be a bit pessimistic, with the range to empty requiring about a mile of riding after the bike was shut off/restarted before displaying again.

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen
LCD instrument contains plenty of useful info, but is difficult to read and sticks out like a designer’s afterthought.

As personality traits go, these are quirks, however, not fatal flaws, and they disappeared pretty quickly when I was barreling up the canyon with a grin plastered across my silly face. For something so lightweight, the Svartpilen conveys a reassuring stability even as it’s flung left-to-right-to-left, the 72-ish horses being enough to keep an experienced rider entertained without feeling shortchanged by things like speed limits. A big 320mm front brake disc with 4-piston radial Brembo caliper and 240mm rear with a single-piston Brembo are more than up to the task if you do feel things getting out of hand.

After the fun is done, parked at the beach with the sun slipping under the pier and into the Pacific, I could sit and admire its rear three-quarter profile until darkness sent me home. Yes, different is good, and in a vanilla world it’s nice to get a bowl of Sea Salt Caramel now and then.

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen
Admiring the sunset over the Pacific after a day of canyon carving on the Svartpilen 701.

2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 Specs

Base Price: $11,999
Warranty: 2 yrs., 24,000 miles
Website: husqvarna-motorcycles.com


Type: Liquid-cooled single
Displacement: 693cc
Bore x Stroke: 105.0 x 80.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.8:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves
Valve Insp. Interval: 6,200 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 50mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 1.8-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically-actuated wet slipper clutch
Final Drive: X-ring chain


Ignition: Electronic
Charging Output: 300 watts max.
Battery: 12V 8.6AH


Frame: Chromium-molybdenum tubular steel, aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 56.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.7 in.
Seat Height: 32.9 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, fully adj., 5.9-in. travel
Rear: Single link-type shock, fully adj., 5.9-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single 320mm floating disc w/ radial 4-piston caliper & ABS
Rear: Single 240mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.00 x 18 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 100/80-R18
Rear: 160/60-R17
Wet Weight: 368 lbs.
Load Capacity: 403 lbs.
GVWR: 771 lbs.


Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gals., last 0.7 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 AKI min. (low/avg/high) 53.6/58.4/63.2
Estimated Range: 187 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,000

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Massive discounts on Husqvarna 701 and 401

Husqvarna Australia is about to offer some massive discounts on the 401 and 701 Svartpilen and Vitpilen motorcycles.

And by “massive” we mean a massive $3000 to $7000, depending on the model!

The official announcement has not yet been made, but we have seen the ride-away prices announced to the dealers recently.

Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 - controversial upgrade massive
Vitpilen 401

Husqvarna massive discounts

Model Old price (+ORC) New on-road price (New Zealand)
Svartpilen 701 $A15,995 $A10,495 $NZ11,500
Vitpilen 701 $A16,995 $A9995 $NZ10,999
Svartpilen 401 $A10,495 $A7495 $NZ8495
Vitpilen 401 $A10,495 $A7495 $NZ8495


Riders who have recently bought one for the full price may be able to get a rebate.

While companies are not legally bound to rebate the difference as it a a case of “buyer beware”, offering a rebate would show good faith with their customers.

However, the only time we can recall a motoring company issuing a full refund after heavily discounting a big-ticket item was in 2004 when Holden slashed the price of its off-road Adventra wagon by $4000.

We have rarely seen such a massive discount in the motorcycle industry. And by comparison, this is much higher than the Holden discount.

Yet we would expect the distributor to be understanding about rebates and retaining customer loyalty.

They may offer cash, or free accessories or service to make up the difference. It could come down to your negotiating skills.

The motorcycles

We love the four models with their quirky looks and names.

Vitpilen means white arrow and is the road bike while Svartpilen means black arrow and is a scrambler semi-off-roader.

They are all fun and agile motorcycles with quality components.

For example, the 701 comes with a lot of standard “goodies” such as Bi-Directional Quick Shifter, Brembo Brakes with braided lines, LED lighting and WP Suspension.

Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 massive

However, we always said they would be a hard sell at the prices they were asking, especially for single-cylinder motorcycles.

Click on the following model names to read our full road tests: Vitpilen 701 and Vitpilen 401.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Husqvarna adds Svartpilen 701 flat tracker

Husqvarna Motorcycles has unveiled the production Svartpilen 701 flat tracker as well as the Vitpilen 701 Aero retro sports bike concept and the EE 5 electric minicycle at EICMA in Milan.

Husqvarna Motorcycles has unveiled the production Svartpilen 701 flat tracker as well as the Vitpilen 701 Aero retro sports bike and the EE 5
Vitpilen 701 Aero retro concept

Svartpilen 701

Husky calls the Svartpilen 701 a “street explorer”, but it is inspired by flat-trackers which are all the rage, especially since Indian Motorcycle unveiled its FTR 1200 recently.

Svartpilen means “black arrow” in Swedish and, like the Vitpilen (white arrow), it is powered by a lightweight 692.7cc, liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with 56kW (75hp) of power  and 72Nm of torque.

Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 svarptilen
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

There is no word yet on when it will arrive in Australia but the Vitpilen 701 sells for $17,500 (+ORC) which is a tall order for a single-cylinder bike in this market.

The lightweight trellis frame is made with high-grade chromium molybdenum steel, the suspension is fully-adjustable WP and brakes are Brembo brakes with Bosch’s latest switchable ABS.

It has ride-by-wire throttle, slipper clutch and Up/down quickshifter and a big range of dedicated Husqvarna accessories.

Husqvarna Motorcycles has unveiled the production Svartpilen 701 flat tracker as well as the Vitpilen 701 Aero retro sports bike and the EE 5
Svartpilen 701

Vitpilen 701 Aero ConceptHusqvarna Motorcycles has unveiled the production Svartpilen 701 flat tracker as well as the Vitpilen 701 Aero retro sports bike and the EE 5

Husky describes this as “a modern faired sport bike with an innovative design approach that pays its respect to the past”.

Again it is powered by the 692.7cc single.

EE 5Husqvarna Motorcycles has unveiled the production Svartpilen 701 flat tracker as well as the Vitpilen 701 Aero retro sports bike and the EE 5

Europe is literally buzzing with small electric motorcycles, so Husky has jumped on the bandwagon with the EE 5 mini trail bike.

They say it has the latest in high-quality componentry, a 5kW motor, six ride modes, 907Wh lithium-ion battery, quick charging, and WP suspension.

It will be available at Husqvarna Motorcycles dealers in mid-2019, but we doubt we will see it here.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com