The Husky inherits the same impressive spec as the KTM including a four-piston Brembo caliper up front. Apply the brakes with the merest stroke of a finger and the mighty Brembo caliper halts with precision, but despite its long travel the front fork does a commendable job of stiffening under hard braking. The brakes are assisted by the latest Bosch 9.1 MP ABS, which can be disabled completely via a button on the dash. The forks are essentially the same with different shimming to give a softer initial stroke, making it plusher and more progressive. Head for a twisty B-roads and this bike really comes to life. The fat forks, which look like two mighty Roman pillars, soak up imperfections and are firm yet plush. And the bodywork has been altered for comfort, with rubber-mounted handlebars, and there’s an extra litre of fuel, taking the tank up to 13 litres. The seat is softer than that on the KTM, but make no mistake it's still a supermoto seat and is such is hard, unforgiving an uncomfortable. The lack of any wind protection whatsoever makes riding in bad weather quite a chore.
It’s the same potent 690cc single-cylinder motor pumping out 67bhp and 50ftlb. The Husky gets three fuel maps: soft, advanced and standard (there’s also an A2-licence option). The maps are smoother and less aggressive than the 690’s with a less snappy throttle response. Wrap your fingers round the throttle, tighten your knees on the grippy fairings and wind on the throttle – it’s impossible not to grin. The torquey engine is urgent and borderline brutal in such a lightweight chassis. It manically propels you forward, seemingly topping a ton in an instant.
The 701 comes with sweet finishing touches such as LED lights and smart branding. It’s cleverly thought out, the build quality looks spot on and overall it’s impressive.
This is no everyday bike, it’s an impractical, yet excessively exciting toy. It’s a slightly softer option than the equivalent KTM, but with the same power and torque. So for the same £7999 price as the KTM you get all the rip-roaring, shoulder-tugging fun, except it’s easier to ride and handle, with a bigger fuel tank and the Husqvarna badge.
The 701 has swish extras such as a slipper clutch, supermoto ABS and an endo sensor (to stop it flipping). The clever supermoto/enduro ABS comes in the form of an accessory plug-in dongle that disables the rear wheel ABS while keeping it active on the front if you fancy pulling some immature skids on or off-road.