Husqvarna get brutal

Published: 18 May 2016

New power-packed ‘anti-retro’ sets sights on Ducati’s Diavel

Husqvarna are preparing to unleash this savage-looking 1301 super-naked in a bid to blow bikes like the Ducati Diavel into the weeds.

This is the first time we have seen anything from the Husqvarna brand sporting a larger engine than the 690cc single-cylinder motor housed in the 701 Vitpilen concept first seen in 2013. We are expecting the production model to be revealed later this year.

The template laid down by the existing Husqvarna models appears to be carried over to the 1301 in that as many parts as possible are transferred from the equivalent KTM model. In this case that means the 1301cc water-cooled
V-twin packing 175bhp that is currently used in the 1290 family.

It also appears the main chassis parts, radiator, wheels and brakes are carried over from the 1290 Super Duke R. This parts sharing makes perfect sense as it’s the easiest way of maximising value from R&D investment.

What is radically new with this Husqvarna is the direction of the styling. We’ve seen a number of concept and production bikes, all of which have looks that follow a clear ‘modern-roadster’ theme – but that’s far from the case here. Rather than following the 701/401 model, it appears to be clearly taking a swipe at the Ducati Diavel in terms of the muscular mid section being mated with a chopped tailpiece and stark front end. It’s brutish rather than beautiful.

Husqvarna were brought under the same ownership as KTM back in 2013 and after closing the previous headquarters in Varese, Italy – which dated back to previous BMW and Cagiva stewardship – the firm packed the whole lot up and moved to Mattighofen, Austria to be directly under the wing of KTM.

Since then KTM’s owner, Stefan Pierer, has ploughed a huge sum of money into ensuring Husqvarna and KTM have the resources available to massively boost their ranges. Pierer has previously said Husqvarna will have access to every KTM engine from the current and future line-ups; this means 125, 250, 390, 690 and 1301cc powerplants will all find their way into Husqvarna models.

Another parallel-twin motor, expected to be around 800cc, will slot between the 690 and 1301 engines soon.

While KTM engines, running gear and chassis parts will be used by Husqvarna, the plan is to set Husqvarna up as a distinct motorcycle company appealing to a different type of customer to KTM. The design team – Kiska Design in Austria – explained to MCN that they wanted all of the bikes to be ‘anti-retro’ as a counterpoint to the flood of retro-styled machines swamping the market.

We expect a 125 Vitpilen and 701 Vitpilen to be shown in finished form later this year before going on sale in 2017. After that we expect the 401 and then this 1301 to be added to the revitalised
Husqvarna range. At some point in the next 18 months the new 800cc parallel-twin motor KTM are developing will bridge the gap between the 690 single and the walloping 1301 V-twin.