The Enduro gets a different front fork with 275mm of travel – it’s a closed-cartridge WP 4CS unit that’s lighter than a conventional USD fork and used by competition models. It’s softer than the supermoto fork but both bikes have easily adjustable rebound and compression damping and share the same rear monoshock with rebound, compression and preload adjustment. The Enduro also swaps the fourpot front caliper for a twin-pot. The KTM 690 Enduro is an excellent and extremely capable off-roader and the Husqvarna is no different. It’s just as much of a weapon, except with smoother fuel maps and its new softer fork makes it easier to handle so you don’t need to be an off-road god to ride it.
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. And the bodywork has been altered for comfort, with rubber-mounted handlebars, a more comfortable seat, and there’s an extra litre of fuel, taking the tank up to 13 litres.
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, and I love it. It’s a slightly softer option than the 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 and enduro 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 drifting on or off-road.Also, Husqvarna are developing adventure accessories for the Enduro, a wise move considering the popularity of aftermarket rally and adventure kits for the KTM. Extras include a taller screen and a 20-litre fuel tank, which Husky reckon will return 250 miles. It could potentially give the 701 a serious shot in the adventure bike market as a lightweight and off-road capable option. Especially considering the 701 has a 6200-mile service interval and a ‘Bad Fuel’ map included for countries where fuel is of a lower quality.