Husqvarna first unveiled their Svartpilen (Black Arrow) and Vitpilen (White Arrow) concepts three years ago. The bikes have come a long way since then, and the range has expanded to include two different displacements.
The 701 models came as something of a surprise when we first saw them, and we expected them to be a later development – but these new spy shots of the 701 Vitpilen suggest the bike is coming sooner rather than later.
Razor sharp roadsters
If you’re not familiar with the models, the Vitpilen was a café racer concept that’s steadily become reality. It’s powered by the 65hp 690cc motor from Husqvarna’s 701 Enduro and 701 Supermoto. The main frame is a steel trellis, and while the subframes on the other 701s is a polyamide petrol tank, the Vitpilen has broken rank. The subframe is actually a self-supporting airbox, while the tank is… well, a tank.
MORE ON THE HUSQVARNA VITPILEN
A 701 Enduro weighs just 145kg, so a kerb weight of around 185kg is realistic for the Vitpilen. Suspension comes from WP, and we think the low weight, good suspension and reasonable power should make for a fun road bike.
So what has changed from the previous prototype we saw? To begin with, the whole bike looks a lot more finished - no bits of tape stuck over things or brackets informally bolted on. There are still some items that appear to be unfinished – such as the mismatching gloss-black subframe versus the matte-black tank, and the raw metal number-plate support – but on the whole it’s pretty much there.
There are other clear indicators of a complete bike, too, such as the Husqvarna logo on the side of the radiator and on the new matte-black exhaust. The easily readable coolant window is a practical touch, too. The LED ring headlight is now finished, as is the single clock – although what that will display (or how) is unclear.
The rear of the bike is arguably the best bit, as the finished undertray is beautifully smooth without all the usual clutter. Even the brake light is neatly packaged. The Vitpilen doesn’t appear to be fashion over function, either, as the pillion pad looks reasonably plush and the footrest position shouldn’t put your passenger’s knees by their elbows.
Down to business
Unfortunately, we’re going to pick up on a couple of things. First, the packaging doesn’t seem to be fantastic. There are wires all over the place and electrical boxes dotted around. Hopefully these will be covered up or rerouted – but if they remain, it will be a poor show in comparison with the new Triumphs, which have really upped the game.
Also gone are the wire-spoke wheels in favour of five-spoke alloys that appear to be off a Honda CB500 circa 1996. We’ve previously seen a Vitpilen prototype wearing the wheels from a 390 Duke, which looked much nicer– and that’s a fairly cheap bike, so the money-saving excuse doesn’t really add up. We imagine the wire-spoke wheels will be an optional extra; if the five-spokes are standard fit, a lot of owners will be taking up that offer.
We’re expecting the 701 Vitpilen to be officially unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in November, alongside the Svartpilen and the lower capacity 401 models. We then expect the bikes to go on sale early 2018, with the prices around £8500-9000.
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