HUSQVARNA SVARTPILEN 125 (2021 - on) Review
- Same motor and frame as KTM Duke 125
- Upright, spacious riding position
- Follows on from 401 and 701 Svartpilens
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 will be available in February 2021 in just a single colour scheme and looks to capitalise on the success of the larger 401 and 701 models. We've ridden a pre-production version to find out if it can do just that.
- Related: Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 bike review
- Related: Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 bike review
- Related: Best 125 motorcycles
It uses the same Euro5 DOHC four-valve single cylinder motor and trellis frame as the KTM Duke 125. The big difference between the two models is the bodywork and styling, which on the Husqvarna is an all-enveloping short-tailed one-piece design creating an almost monocoque-like appearance.
Willing, playful and easy to ride as a novice, where the small Husky falls down is its narrow seat, which feels firm and can lead to a numb bum. Still, it's no problem on a short blast.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Svartpilen 125 carries a tall scrambler-style handlebar which, combined with the 835mm seat, delivers a spacious riding position, with an upright stance - making the baby Husqvarna an ideal traffic tool. The light clutch action and crisp-but-controllable throttle response help, too.
This stance also delivers heaps of confidence, with predictable handling aided by the improbably excellent grip from the knobbly Pirelli tyres. It steers very neutrally, much more like a downsized KTM 690 single than the more nervous behaviour of, say, a Honda CB125F, and that Indo-Italian ByBre brake package is excellent. Engine braking is quite good, too, presumably thanks to a high compression ratio.
The only thing I was less than impressed with was that the quite narrow seat seems more designed for form than function – what minimal foam there is feels firm, leading to a semi- numb bum, but that wouldn’t be a problem on short commutes.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Svartpilen 125’s twin-cam engine settles to a slightly high idle with a muffled but definitely fruity-sounding thump, which pops back occasionally on deceleration. It's eager and willing and you can zing along nicely using the clean-shifting gearbox, with the large red shifter light at the top of the circular dash flashing at 8000rpm in every gear.
There’s hardly any mechanical noise from the engine, either and the low first gear makes getting off the mark a giggle. Evenly-spaced ratios in the six-speed gearbox make progression easy and enjoyable and it’s pretty torquey for a little ’un. You can just use third or fourth gear most of the time.
The whole transmission on the Svartpilen is flawless, too, with a progressive-action clutch that feeds out controllably. There’s also a sense of flywheel mass to prevent revs falling away unduly as you swap gears, with the engine morphing smoothly into the next ratio.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Being a new model and tested as a pre-production machine, it is very difficult to comment on reliability, however owners’ reviews of the existing 2017-on KTM Duke 125 (which shares the same motor, just in Euro4 specification) award the bike an average of 4.3 out of 5 for build quality and reliability.
- Related: KTM Duke 125 updated for 2021
That said, the larger-capacity Svartpilens already on sale have gathered a more mixed reception, with the 401 sitting at an average of 3.8 after criticisms of surface rust and one owner reporting electrical problems, plus another with condensation in their dash. The full-fat 701 fares much better in its feedback, scoring 4.5 out of 5 so far from riders.
Watch our 2017-2020 KTM Duke 125 video review below:
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
With the bike not coming until February 2021 and no price tag yet revealed for the UK market, it is difficult to place the Svartpilen 125 against its rivals. German market models are being advertised at €4850, so we’d expect to pay around £3799.
If that’s the case, it will undercut its main rival – the KTM Duke 125 – by a considerable margin, with 2021 machines available for £4299. All will become clearer once the little Husky is fully revealed to the public though, and it may well be that the Svartpilen comes in a little closer to its Austrian sibling.
The premium nature and sideways styling of the Husqvarna puts it in direct contention with the neo-retro Honda CB125R - itself updated for 2021 with a greener Euro5 engine and Showa Separate Function Big Piston forks.
There’s a luggage rack on top of the fuel tank with clip-on points for a tank bag, a small bash plate and Husqvarna branding everywhere.
The round retro-style mirrors are functionally adequate, but don’t give a great rear view and the sidestand is sturdy, stable when down and easy to access, while both clutch and brake levers are five-way adjustable. The only visual downer is the licence plate carrier behind the rear wheel, which also carries the turn signals and vestigial mudguard.
During 2021 it was announced that Husqvarna would be supplying Akrapovic slip-on end cans for the Svartpilen 125. They cost £542.76 at time of writing and you can see them in the image below.
|Engine type||Single cylinder four-stroke|
|Frame type||Steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||9.5 litres|
|Front suspension||USD hydraulic fork, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, non-adjustable|
|Front brake||Single 320mm disc, four-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||Single 230mm disc with single piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||150/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£21|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||15 bhp|
|Max torque||8.5 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2021: Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 launched, using KTM's Duke 125 engine and chassis as a base, with fresh styling, extras, rims, tyres and more.
Owners' reviews for the HUSQVARNA SVARTPILEN 125 (2021 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the HUSQVARNA SVARTPILEN 125 (2021 - on).