Group testing the Triumph Speed 400 vs Royal Enfield HNTR 350 vs Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 | Little beauties

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Who needs a big bike when these A2-legal offerings are so good? 

In the UK there is a huge number of what are referred to as ‘dormant bikers.’ While this may sound like someone who sticks their bike in a garage until the summer sun pokes its head out, this isn’t the case.  

2024 Triumph Speed 400, Royal Enfield HNTR 350, Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 Group Test - static shot outside pub

A dormant biker is someone who has a full bike licence but for one reason or another, doesn’t actually own or ride a bike. Generally it is because kids have got in the way, but there are myriad other reasons such a financial constraints, parking complications, age, rising insurance rates or, sadly, simply losing the love of two wheels. But there is a solution at hand and it comes in the shape of these three brilliant motorcycles. 

Dive into the detail:

Triumph Speed 400


2024 Triumph Speed - close up ride by shot
  • Engine 398cc 4v DOHC single 
  • Power 39.5 bhp
  • Torque 27.7 lb.ft
  • Fuel Capacity 13 litres
  • Frame Hybrid spine/perimeter, tubular steel 
  • Suspension F: 43mm BP inverted forks, non-adjustable. R: Monoshock, adjustable preload.
  • Front brake 1 x 300mm disc with four-piston radial caliper. ABS
  • Rear Brake 1 x 230mm disc with one-piston caliper. ABS
  • Seat Height 835mm
  • Kerb Weight 170kg (wet) 
  • Read our in-depth expert Triumph Speed 400 review

Royal Enfield HNTR 350

£3899 (plus £80 for paint options) 

2024 Royal Enfield HNTR 350 - cornering past camera
  • Engine 349cc air-cooled single SOHC 2v
  • Power 20.2 bhp
  • Torque 19.9 lb.ft
  • Fuel Capacity 13 litres
  • Frame Tubular twin downtube spine 
  • Suspension F: 41mm telescopic forks, non-adjustable. R: Twin shocks, six-stage adjustable preload.
  • Front brake 1 x 300mm disc with two-piston caliper. ABS
  • Rear Brake 1 x 270mm disc with one-piston caliper. ABS
  • Seat Height 805mm
  • Kerb Weight 181kg (wet) 
  • Read in-depth expert Royal Enfield HNTR 350 review

Husqvarna Vitpilen 401


2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 - riding round corner past camera
  • Engine 398.6cc 4v DOHC single 
  • Power 44.3 bhp
  • Torque 28.8 lb.ft
  • Fuel Capacity 13 litres
  • Frame Tubular steel trellis 
  • Suspension F: 43mm WP APEX inverted forks, adjustable compression and rebound damping. R: WP APEX monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound damping.
  • Front brake 1 x 320mm disc with four-piston ByBre radial caliper. Cornering ABS
  • Rear Brake 1 x 240mm disc with one-piston caliper. Cornering ABS 
  • Seat Height 820mm
  • Kerb Weight 167kg (wet) 
  • Read in-depth expert Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 review

While each of these bikes are A2-legal, the chances are that new riders won’t be where the majority of their sales will come from. So ridiculous are the current motorcycle licensing laws that, to be honest, they are killing off bike sales.

If you are between 19 and 24 years old you can get your full A2 licence (after a CBT, theory and two practical tests), but you will have to go through the whole rigmarole again (the two-part Practical Full Category A Test) after either two years or when you turn 24 to gain an unrestricted licence.

To understand the licensing levels further watch MCN’s quick breakdown on how to pass your UK Motorcycle license to understand what your next step.

Many younger riders simply wait until they are old enough and go for Direct Access, which makes financial sense, or (sadly) turn to four wheels instead. So who is likely to buy one of these A2-legal bikes? Hopefully a decent percentage of those dormant bikers but also anyone looking for a lightweight bike to have some fun on. 

If you have an interest in two wheels you can’t help but be intrigued by these three bikes and as many dormant bikers tend to be older riders, their styling hits the nail on the head for this target audience. Well, maybe not the Husky but certainly the Triumph and Enfield. 

2024 Triumph Speed 400 and Royal Enfield 350 - riding past camera on high street

Parked up outside a pub or in an urban area, these three bikes look simply amazing – and more crucially, they most certainly don’t appear like beginner bikes. You could proudly roll up at any bike meet and not feel like anyone would question your choice of machine, especially if you are on the Triumph or Husky, although the Enfield’s old-school persona certainly has its visual appeal. Something that quickly wears thin when you ride it… 

2024 Triumph Speed 400, Royal Enfield HNTR 350 - riding side by side

Although not immediately obvious when you look at it, give the HNTR (it is called Hunter but Enfield have shortened its name to appear trendy…) a closer inspection and you can’t help but feel it has been designed primarily for Enfield’s domestic market (Indian and the Far East). For a start it makes just 20.2bhp where A2 allows up to 46.6bhp and it is undeniably built to a budget.

2024 Royal Enfield HNTR - close up of engine

The air-cooled motor is a very basic 2v SOHC design, the forks are conventional, it is lacking in tech, the clocks are a bit cheap – but it does have a great old-school look, helped by some lovely  paint schemes. And it costs £1000 less than the Triumph and represents a £1500 saving on the Husky, so you need to give it a bit of leeway. But is picking the HNTR, money falsely invested? If you want to ride with a group of mates, it may well leave you frustrated… and a long way behind! 

Royale Enfield HNTR 350 - Riding alone on urban road

While great in an urban environment, get the HNTR out and about and its lack of power instantly becomes an irritation. While claimed to be 20bhp, realistically it is closer to 18bhp, which is only marginally more than a 125 produces! And that’s how it feels to ride. 

On a dual carriageway the HNTR struggles to hold 60mph and if there is a slight incline or headwind, you have to drop from top (it only has five gears) just to keep above 55mph. It’s dismal and ultimately not only frustrating but also tiring as you continually feel the need to be hammering the engine and riding with the throttle wide open everywhere. And this is a complete contrast to both the Husky and Triumph. 

2024 Husqavarna Vitpilen 401 - Carving into a corner

Making far closer to the A2-limit (39.5bhp for the Triumph and 44.3bhp for the Husky), you can ride both the Speed 400 and Vitpilen like normal bikes and easily keep up with traffic. More than happy to hold 70mph all-day-long, they can also overtake cars doing 55mph on B-roads after only dropping a single gear (or even rolling-on in top) and generally be ridden without making exceptions or excuses for their small engine size. In fact, quite quickly you will learn to love their respective motors. 

2024 Triumph Speed 400 - leaning into left hand corner

Both completely new for 2024, Husky and Triumph have taken different approaches to their single-cylinder water-cooled engines. As you would expect from a KTM-derived product (it’s a 390 Duke in disguise), the Husky’s engine matches its slightly sportier character. Revvier than the Triumph’s unit and also faster, it feels more urgent to ride and prefers to have its rev counter higher in the range with over 6000rpm its sweet spot.

Certainly not lacking in mid-range, it is a motor that encourages fun and a more aggressive riding style (it even has a quickshifter) where the Triumph is noticeably much more laid-back. And I’d say better for it. 

2024 Husqavarna Vitpilen 401 - detailed engine shot

The Speed 400’s engine is a beauty and as well as bags of mid-range, it has a lovely deep exhaust note that is matched with impressively brisk acceleration. A very hard motor to find any fault with, aside from arguably a touch of abruptness on the throttle it is simply fantastic and incredibly engaging to ride.

Not only that, it will also record over 60mpg (as will the other two) and even comes with traction control (as does the Husky) – not that it is entirely necessary. And this wonderful engine is matched to an equally impressive chassis. 

2024 Triumph Speed 400 Engine

Out on the open roads the lightweight Triumph is a delight to ride. So often A2-legal bikes feel built to a cost but Triumph have spent money where it counts on the Speed 400 and details like quality Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres and good suspension help it over-deliver in terms of its handling. You can happily zip down a B-road on the Speed 400 and feel like you are making proper progress, which you are, and not being held back by a reluctant chassis or poor quality suspension.

2024 Triumph Speed 400 - riding on high street

‘It fills the brief perfectly. Do I care it is an A2? Not one jot!’

And it is a similar story on the Husky, which reflecting its engine’s character rides in a sportier fashion than the Triumph thanks to an even better level of specification (cornering ABS, adjustable suspension, radial brake caliper, Michelin Power 6 tyres).

It’s not as relaxing as the Triumph due to a seat that is very firm and a slightly odd riding position but it is certainly fun. The Enfield, however, once again feels like its price tag is hampering it… 

2024 Royal Enfield HNTR 350 - Front Brake Assembly

If you are prepared to take it easy the Enfield is ok on B-roads thanks to a good chassis but unlike the Triumph and Husky, it never exceeds your expectations and feels very budget in comparison. Its MRF Zapper tyres, which are Indian-built, aren’t a patch on the rubber used by its rivals on test here and its suspension is also far less effective when it comes to damping, resulting in a bouncy and less assure ride.

2024 Royal Enfield HNTR 350 - Clocks and handlebar

It’s not horrific, and if you stick at 50mph is certainly acceptable, but it feels a generation behind both the Husky and Triumph in just about every way and quickly becomes tiresome where the other two only get better and more enjoyable the more miles you cover. Especially the Triumph. 

Generally, once we have finished testing bikes we stick them back in the MCN lock-up ready to be returned to their respective manufacturer. Which is the case with the HNTR and Vitpilen – however the Speed 400 is currently residing in my garage at home. Why? I absolutely love riding it and for what I do on a bike, which is generally pottering to and from an office or zipping into the closest town for shopping, it fills the brief perfectly. Do I care it is an A2-legal bike? Not one jot! 

2024 Triumph Speed 400, Royal Enfield HNTR 350, Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 Group Test - riding past the shops

It looks, feels and more importantly rides like a proper motorcycle and I’m thoroughly enjoying my time with it. If you know a dormant biker that needs reminding why two-wheels are so good, take them to your local Triumph dealership and stick them on a Speed 400. At just £69 a month it is quite simply remarkable in just about every way. 

Fuel Facts – from the frugal 400s:

2024 Triumph Speed 400, Royal Enfield HNTR 350 - static shop outside pub

Triumph Speed 400 

  • 13 litre tank 
  • 60mpg 
  • 141 miles to reserve light 
  • 172 miles tank range 
  • Owners Review – Read what owners have to say form their real world experiences with the bike.

Royal Enfield HNTR 350 

  • 13 litre tank 
  • 67mpg 
  • 169 miles to reserve light 
  • 193 miles tank range 
  • Owners Review – Read what owners have to say form their real world experiences with the bike.
2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401  - leaning into a right hand corner

Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 

  • 13 litre tank 
  • 64mpg 
  • 157 miles to reserve light 
  • 184 miles tank range 
  • Owners Review – Leave your own review or read what owners have to say form their real world experiences with the bike.


‘Triumph and Husky leave the Enfield behind’ 

2024 Triumph Speed 400, Royal Enfield HNTR 350, Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 Group Test - Jon and colleagues discussing the bikes

When you look at their respective price tags, styling and spec level, it is very hard to be too harsh about any of these three A2-legal bikes. However there is no sugar-coating the fact that the Royal Enfield was a disappointment.  

The HNTR has an incredibly tempting price tag and looks fantastic however it is just too slow for anything other than urban use. Get it out of town and it feels, and performs, like a 125 and that’s incredibly frustrating when an A2 licence allows you access to so much more. As the Husky and Triumph demonstrate. 

2024 Royal Enfield HNTR 350 - leaning into a left hand corner

Neither the Vitpilen nor Speed 400 feel out of place in a modern traffic environment and that means they can be ridden and thoroughly enjoyed. In or out of town, both bikes are remarkably good fun and there is no need to be fearful about dual carriageways as they will merrily keep up with traffic. And they both look fantastic, in their own ways… 

The Husky’s quirky styling won’t appeal to everyone but younger riders may be attracted to its modern look and its tech level is incredibly impressive. Arguably unnecessary but impressive nonetheless. However the Triumph is the one that would get our money. 

2024 Triumph Speed - riding past on a country lane

Cheaper than the Husky, classically better looking and with a real beauty of an engine that is more relaxed to ride and sounds great, the Speed 400 is very, very hard to fault. And that’s why it is currently selling by the bucketload… 


  • The Triumph’s overall feel of completeness and quality 
  • The Husky’s fun-factor and sprightly engine 
  • The classical looks of both the Enfield and Triumph 


  • The Enfield’s frustrating lack of power 
  • The Husky’s look splits opinions 

See MCN’s Road Tester Carl Stevens give his verdict of the Triumph Speed 400 as he tests it on the roads of Valencia at its launch.

While you’re here: How MCN tests bikes

Our highly experienced team of road testers grind out hundreds of miles, come rain or snow, on the UK’s pothole-ridden roads to decide which bike is best in a particular category.

Using years of riding and racing experience (on and off-road), our expert journalists are able to assess the capabilities of a machine and translate that into understandable language to help MCN’s readers make an informed buying decision. Pitching bikes against their main rivals, we aim to give a conclusive verdict on which bike is best for your needs and your budget.

Using their considerable knowledge of the motorcycling market and audience, they can put a motorcycle into context and deliver a verdict that means something to anyone considering buying a particular machine, whether it be a cutting-edge, 200bhp sportsbike, a tall adventure weapon or a low-capacity 125cc machine.

When we ride the bikes in the UK we tend to do at least one full day of riding on various different types of road and in varying conditions. Our testers will then spend another day riding the bike – with rivals – to get images and video footage for our print and online reviews.

We will also, often, weigh the bikes, speed and dyno test them to see just how accurately the manufacturer claims are in these areas to give a more empirical assessment.

Find out more about how we test bikes right here.