Stunning. There is no other way to describe the spartan, thoroughly modern interpretation of retro themes that work so well on the new Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen and Svartpilen production models. Husqvarna has managed to not only put both the concept-bikes into production, the directness of the translation from concept from production for the 401s is incredible. Husqvarna also presented a faired motorcycles, the 401 Aero, as a concept that points the way to a faired motorcycle based on the same underpinnings. The Vitpilen has the ergonomics of a cafe racer while the Svartpilen has the taller, wider bars and chunky tyres of a street-scrambler.
The 401s are based on the same production platform as the KTM 390 Duke and it is, in fact, the new KTM 390 platform as evinced by the bolt-on rear subframe. The engine is a 375cc single-cylinder with liquid-cooling and fuel-injection. The spec sheet says 44PS but the details of gearing and actual tune are not yet fully revealed.
Husqvarna describes the Vitpilen 401 has a simple and progressive street motorcycle that is expected to go on sale late 2017 in some markets.
Sitting on the motorcycle immediately reveals a simple, pared back feel that is almost deliciously at odds with the sharply futuristic interpretations of nostalgic themes. The details are excellent though the models on the show floor – production ready for essentially prototypes – were just slightly rough around the edges.
The Vitpilen is flanked by the Svartpilen 401 which, as Husqvarna puts it, is the more functional of the two models. It gets knobby tyres – Pirelli Scorpion Rally and a beautiful aluminium rack that sits on top of the fuel tank. Husqvarna has also added a set of guards all around to underline the nature and intent of the motorcycle.
The big difference when you climb on, are the bars. The sit on conventional mounts and are a set of high and wide motocross-style handlebars unlike the dropped units on the Vitpilen. This is also set to go into production in late 2017 along with the Vitpilen
The common bits
Both bikes use the KTM 390 Duke steel trellis frame with the new split function WP from upside down forks and the simple pre-load adjustable shock absorber at the back. At this point there is no word on whether the state of tune is different or not. The fuel tank is 10 litres and all the lights are LED. The bikes also get Bosch 9.11MB two-channel ABS and slipper clutch.
Production and availability
The Husqvarna 401s were designed to be manufactured at Bajaj’s Chakan facility just like the KTM Dukes. In as much, that is where they will go into production. We expect Bajaj and KTM to sell the Husqvarnas out of the KTM network when the sales begin in 2017. The pricing is unknown at this time but as we have said before, our guess is that the Husqvarnas will be positioned above the KTM line up and be priced at Rs 30-40,000 higher than the equivalent KTM, in this case, the KTM 390 Duke.
401 Aero concept
Isn’t that beautiful? Husqvarna has revealed the 401 Aero concept at the EICMA show in Milan as an interpretation of how a faired motorcycle should look like. This is especially interesting because Husqvarna has put into production its last three concepts, the 701 and the two 401s without making any significant changes. And the Aero looks stunning.
The 401 Aero concept adds a fairing that walks the same delightfully appearing line between modern surfaces and retro shapes which makes the 401 Svartpilen and Vitpilen so appealing. The 401 Aero is, of course, based on the Vitpilen. Husqvarna says the fairing is more than a cosmetic addition and is designed to channel more air to the engine for better cooling. Husqvarna talks about the fairing allowing a more committed riding position – a euphemism for a sportier riding experience. While not explicitly stated, the 401 Aero should find its way into production about a year after the 401 Svartpilen and Vitpilen go on sale.