Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Review – Radical 2024 overhaul helps single-cylinder Husky come of age


  • First major update since 2018 release
  • Euro5+ 399cc single cylinder engine
  • Cornering ABS, modes, and traction control as standard

At a glance

Power: 44 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Low (351 lbs / 159 kg)


New £5,599
Used £5,600

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 has been around since 2018 and the A2 compliant bike has now received its first major update for 2024. Built in India by engineering giants Bajaj, it’s been released alongside an updated Vitpilen 401 roadster, with both bikes sharing almost identical spec.

Separated by styling and riding positions, the headlines for both include a new Euro5+ engine, new trellis chassis, updated styling, and lean-sensitive electronics. Like before, the Svartpilen (meaning Black Arrow) is pitched as the more rugged of the two, thanks to knobbly Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres on 17in spoked rims, plus a more upright stance thanks to gentler bars.

A2 licence compliant without need for restriction, the Svartpilen lines up alongside a new wave of small capacity singles for 2024, almost entirely produced in India. This includes Triumph’s £5595 Scrambler 400 X (also made by Bajaj), plus the recent Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 that starts at £5750 and is likely to spawn a naked Scram derivative in the not so distant future.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 side on

At £5599 on the road, the blacked-out Husky is also £100 less than the KTM 390 Duke it’s based on, featuring the same 398.6cc engine, trellis frame, and more.

Away from the costs, the 401 is also a solid road bike, providing plenty of road presence in a competent package that absolutely loves to be revved. Don’t let the chunky Italian rubber fool you, the Husky is perfectly at home scratching through the twisties and would likely struggle with anything more than a dusty fire track should you venture away from the road.

Being a single, it barks and clatters like a small enduro bike, and encourages you to throw gears at it and keep the revs high in order to get the most from its A2 compliant output. Although aided by a standard fit up/down quickshifter, it can quite jerky below 6000rpm and won’t thank you for leaving it a gear too high – something you can easily get away with on the sewing machine smooth parallel twins also found in this naked roadster class.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 riding on a scenic mountain road

Something that’s often not found in this class though is the level of trim presented on the Husqvarna as standard, with both 401s arriving with two riding modes, switchable traction control, and cornering ABS – including a Supermoto mode that deactivates the rear.

There’s also no KTM-style ‘demo mode’ meaning you can keep hold of these features for the lifetime of the bike without need for additional payments.

Add to this five-step adjustment in the WP Apex forks and shock, plus decent build quality, back lit switchgear, and a clear-yet-concise TFT dash, and the Svartpilen 401 becomes a bike worthy of serious consideration.

Exactly where it will sit in the overall singles chart still remains to be seen, however it does a good job of feeling like a big bike with plenty of road presence, without any of the intimidating ergonomics. Consider me impressed.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Despite the chunky Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, which are normally found on all-terrain adventure bikes, the Svartpilen 401 is most certainly a road-focussed motorcycle. Ground clearance has been upped to 180mm, however it’s unlikely to be enjoyable on anything more than a dusty fire track should you want to venture off-road.

There’s a 17in spoked rim at either end, with the same 150mm of suspension travel as the more focussed Vitpilen 401 roadster. Also shared is the two-stage lean sensitive traction control and ABS, as well as the single four-piston ByBre front caliper.

Biting onto a 320mm disc with no irritating hesitation from the ABS, the braking set-up has now been moved to the right side of the front wheel as a design choice, in order to show off more assets of the bike when parked up on its side stand. Also found on the right is the new offset shock and underslung exhaust exit, with the revised rear spring now also providing the space for a new airbox.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 rear view

The seat height has also dropped to 820mm from 835mm to make the bike more accessible to a wider range of customers, with the upturned flat bars sitting within easy reach for most. The result is an easy going naked scrambler, that’s unintimidating to the shorter rider and easy to hold on one foot, thanks to a claimed weight of 159kg (plus fuel).

It feels light and small between your legs and yet still offers proper big bike feel with plenty of room to move about in the seat. It’s by far the comfier of the two 401 offerings and was my weapon of choice on our near 200km test route.

This ease of use is carried over into the riding, with the Husky flicking from side to side with the slightest nudge on the bars. Coupled with the long flat seat and narrow proportions, the small fly screen above the rounded front LED headlight also goes some way towards protecting you from the elements. It’s hardly a sports tourer though, so expect to get wet.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Pirelli tyres

Out on the open road, the Svartpilen feels calm and stable at speed too – thanks in part to a slightly increased wheelbase. The same cannot be said for the engine itself however, which feels like its crying out for a seventh gear when you get up to a motorway speeds and could perhaps benefit from a slightly smaller rear sprocket.

Despite travelling to Spain for the launch of the model, much of our ride was spent in typically English heavy rain – with temperatures dropping into single digits at times. Although unpleasant, the conditions did highlight the impressive nature of the tyres, which deliver far more feel and assurance than the sportier Michelin Power 6s found on the all-white Vitpilen.

Unfortunately, there was no chance to adjust the suspension on our trip, however it was perfectly adequate as standard for our fairly cautious ride. That said, it is on the soft side as standard and would need some stiffening at both ends to carry a pillion passenger.

Being a single, you also get plenty of vibes through the handlebars and foot pegs. Whilst this does add to the bike’s scrambler charm, it can wear thin over distance – causing a noticeable tingle in my feet especially. The same criticism cannot be pointed at the seat though, which remained comfortable and supportive of my sodden buns throughout the trip.


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The circa 399cc single cylinder engine on the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is either going to be something you’re into, or something you’re not. It’s grown from its original 373cc capacity, helping it to meet Euro5+ emissions regulations and is now fed by a larger 13 litre fuel tank, up from 9.5-litres on the original.

Unlike the smooth parallel twin offerings found in some rivals including Honda’s £6149 CL500 naked scrambler, this is an engine that responds best to plenty of revs – with the single cylinder set up making it naturally more vibey through your fingers and toes.

That’s not to say it’s uncomfortable, it’s just different. Some will like that, and others won’t, but if you’re the type of rider that’s always eager to feed in big handfuls of throttle then this could well be the bike for you. The higher you are in the revs, the more the vibrations calm down, with the standard fitment quickshifter and autoblipper working as the perfect companion to reach optimum RPMs quickly.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 side view

At the bottom of the needle though, it can be quite clattery, and it isn’t afraid to splutter and jerk if you leave it a gear too high. With just 28.9lb.ft of torque available at 7000rpm, there’s also not a great deal of shove at the bottom for overtakes, meaning you’ll need to make one or two downshifts to nip past a slower vehicle quickly. That said, most A2 category motorcycles face this problem, so it would be unfair to single out the Husky.

Once you’re driving forward, it’s almost as if there’s a variable valve timing system lurking inside the motor (there isn’t) with the bike appearing to catch a second, cleaner burst of drive from around 6000rpm. Keep it above this figure on spirited rides and you’ll be having a great time.

What’s less impressive is the bike’s irritating habit of cutting out at low speed. Fire it up before the TFT has finished its loading sequence and chances are it’ll cut out again, with my test bike also stopping on an occasion when coming to a slow speed stop with the clutch pulled in. It fired up first time after each incident, but that would quickly start to grate on me as an owner.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Euro5+ motor

Elsewhere though, it makes a surprisingly good noise through its underslung pipe, which exits to the right of the bike beneath the offset rear WP shock. Shift down aggressively and you’ll get the odd pop, and you can hear it make its way through the revs under acceleration at any speed.

Growling away like a tiny enduro bike, it calms down into an almost popping-like noise on tick over, which sometimes sounds a bit like a bike running without its header pipes attached. I don’t mind that though.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Being an almost entirely new motorcycle for 2024, it’s difficult to talk about reliability at this stage.

Our test bike did suffer with the occasional cutting out issue, but it fired back into life without fuss every time. Should things go wrong, Husqvarna do offer a 24 month warranty on their road-going motorcycles.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 single cylinder engine

Owners of the previous Svartpilen score the old bike an average of 3.9/5 in this category though, with the ownership experience extremely varied. While some award five stars and no faults, others report of warning lights, corrosion, poor dealership experiences, and moisture within the old LCD dash.

It’s unknown at this stage whether the second generation Svartpilen will suffer anything similar, however with so much of the bike changed we would hope that this has now all been sorted. They also felt very well screwed together during our launch ride.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The A2-ready roadster market is big business these days and the Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 will have its work cut out if it wants to take top spot in 2024. Priced at £5599 on the road, it’s yours for £119 a month over three years on finance, with a deposit of £1558.25.

Alternatively, it’s even cheaper on PCP, and could be yours for £79 a month across three years with a £1558 deposit and £2082.50 optional final payment.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 side view while riding

That price puts it at the cheaper end of the market, which is seriously impressive when you consider the level of spec it comes with as standard. Built in India by Bajaj in the same way as the KTM 390 Duke it’s based on, the Husky’s main rivals consist of the £5595 Triumph Scrambler 400 X and Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 that starts at £5750.

You could also consider the £6149 Honda CL500, which shares its parallel twin engine with the CMX500 Rebel cruiser, plus the slightly more expensive and left field Fantic Caballero 500 range, which starts in the region of 6749.

Husqvarna say the Svartpilen is good for 83mpg, which would mean a theoretical 237.3-mile range from its 13 litre tank.


5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is easily one of the best specced bikes in its class, featuring a lean sensitive electronics package as standard, plus full LED lighting, quality Pirelli rubber, adjustable suspension at both ends, mobile connectivity for turn by turn navigation, and all for under six grand.

So often bikes built to meet the A2 licence bracket without restriction can feel like stepping stone machinery, however the Svartpilen ticks all the equipment boxes you’d expect to see on bikes of double the capacity and double the price tag. This can be taken further with an optional extras catalogue that includes a Remus end can, luggage, crash protection, and more.

Further to this, whilst being a clever little bike, everything remains simple to operate, with the chunky backlit switchgear easy to use in thicker all season gloves, plus a five inch TFT design that’s clear and easy to navigate with just an occasional glance on the fly.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 trellis chassis

This display also doubles up as a shift light – flashing in your peripheral vision first at 8500rpm and then again at 10,500rpm to tell you it’s time for the next cog. There’s self-cancelling indicators too, which remain active long enough to negotiate an entire motorway slip road.

Much like the tech, suspension adjustment is kept simple too, with just five stages of adjustment for the front compression and rebound clickers, plus preload and rebound at the back. This means even if you get it completely wrong it’s easy to find your way back to the standard settings.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 cornering

It should also be relatively quick and easy to make changes for luggage and pillions too – meaning less time getting dirty on the tools.

Our launch bikes came in standard trim, with my only real gripe being the mirrors. These rounded designs show more of your elbows than the road behind you but do an impressive job of producing a clear image, despite the engine vibrations felt through the handlebars.


Engine size 398cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, four stroke single cylinder
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 159kg
Front suspension 43mm, WP Apex forks adjustable for rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension Single WP Apex rear shock, adjustable for rebound and preload
Front brake 320mm disc with ByBre four-piston radial caliper
Rear brake 240mm single disc with ByBre twin-piston floating caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £55
Annual service cost -
New price £5,599
Used price £5,600
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 44 bhp
Max torque 28.9 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

Other versions

Both the original 2018 and current Svartpilen models have also had a more road focussed Vitpilen 401 counterpart. In the original models, this was far more focussed – with clip-on handlebars that ultimately made it too intimidating for some new riders approaching the brand.

Husqvarna say they listened to customer feedback for the second generation and, as a result, it’s now more upright, with a lower seat height of 820mm (the same as on the Svartpilen). Although it’s more sensible, it remains the sportier of the two, thanks to a more aggressive bend in its flat bars.

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