Despite its off-road look, the Svartpilen rides well and its 17-inch wheels with only marginally chunky-style rubber ensures it handles naturally and doesn’t forsake agility in the name of fashion. The WP suspension delivers a nice balance between sports and comfort, the brakes and ABS are good and if it wasn’t for a hideous seat that seriously lacks padding, there would be little to complain about.
Using the 390 Duke as a base has ensured that the Husqvarna rides and drives excellently. The Duke’s 375cc single has enough grunt for urban use and its ride-by-wire throttle is spot on in terms of feel and connection. The gearbox is a little on the clunky side, but this is a bike at the budget end of the spectrum and it is nothing that will ruin the experience for newer riders.
The 390 Duke is a solid machine that is now in its second generation, so there is little to suggest the Svartpilen will be unreliable. Although many of its components are manufactured in India, the actual bike is assembled in Austria, which is reassuring.
The Svartpilen costs nearly £1000 more than the KTM 390 Duke, despite sharing most of its components including its frame, engine and suspension. Husky claim potential buyers will be prepared to pay a premium as it is a lifestyle product, whether this proves accurate or not is yet to be seen…
The Svartpilen comes with some neat features such as a slipper clutch, Bosch ABS, WP suspension, radial brakes, spoke wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres. However, unlike the Duke, its dash isn’t full-colour and lacks connectivity – that said it does have a gear indicator and fuel gauge.