Friday, November 11, 2016

Husqvarna Vitpilen 401, Svartpilen 401 shown at EICMA, will go into production in 2017

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The new Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 will be in the Swedish company's showrooms globally by mid-2017. We think the scrambler-style Svartpilen is the cooler of the two...

Husqvarna have taken the covers off the production-spec Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 machines, both of which are part of the company's new range of streetbikes and will be in Husqvarna showrooms by mid-2017.

The Vitpilen (Swedish for 'white arrow') 401 is a slim, simple street machine, powered by a KTM-sourced 375cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected single-cylinder engine, which produces 44 horsepower. The bike has a pared-down, minimalist approach to design and does away with anything that's not absolutely essential to the core riding experience. Ergonomics are sporty but relaxed, suspension components are from WP and the headlamp and taillamp are full LED units. Lightweight steel-tube trellis frame, a steel-aluminium exhaust system, slipper clutch, 9.5-litre fuel tank, long single seat and street-oriented Metzeler M5 tyres complete the package. No complicated electronics here but there is, of course, Bosch two-channel ABS that provides the essential safety net.

The other streetbike in Husqvarna's 2017 line-up is the Svartpilen (Swedish for 'black arrow') 401, which to us looks like a 'street scrambler' type of machine, with its Pirelli Scorpion knobbly tyres, a tank rack, skid plate, wider, motocross-style handlebars and a more upright riding position. Like the Vitpilen 401, the Svartpilen is powered by a KTM-sourced 375cc single-cylinder engine with ride-by-wire throttle management, while its swingarm and steel-tube trellis frame also seem to be borrowed from the KTM 390 Duke. Like the Vitpilen, the Svartpilen also gets LED lights, WP suspension and Bosch two-channel ABS. Despite the mechanical / technical similarities, we suppose both bikes will offer sufficiently different riding experiences, with the Svartpilen more suited to those who like to do a bit of mild off-roading once in a while.

"From a customer’s point of view, of course, what he wants, at the end of the day, is a pure riding machine. The dealer, on the other hand, has a little bit of a similar expectation as we do, and this is, of course, to grow his business further – with us – and, at the end of the day, approach an all new target group in a new motorbike segment," says Oliver Göhring, Managing Director, Husqvarna. "As Husqvarna Motorcycles is a global player with operations in 19 different national sales subsidiaries atop more than 50 independent importers, these bikes will be available worldwide. Of course, for the launch of the 401 Vitpilen and Svartpilen we will focus on our core markets, like Europe, North America and Australia, where we try to improve and enhance the skills and the quality of our dealer network in order to meet our customers’ expectations," he adds.

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