With its spacious peg position, tall seat and high bars, which are gently angled back towards your chest, flattrack-style towards you, few bikes have more natural ergonomics, but shorter riders could struggle with the Husky’s tall stance.
Understandably wind protection is minimal at motorway speeds and although the seat looks firm it’s not uncomfortable. In fact, although it’s not a touring bike by any stretch and its 12-litre fuel tank won’t get you far between fill-ups, you could strap on a tank bag and it would be roomy, smooth and long-legged enough for long weekends away.
Supple and friendly around town, the Svartpilen comes alive when you grab it by the horns. It’s not as short and flappy as a highly-strung supermoto, but steers with similar razor-like accuracy and rolls into corners with confidence, despite its flattrack-inspired 18-inch front wheel and Pirelli MT60RS knobblies.
But of course, a 17-inch front would open the door to stickier, more road based rubber. A single front disc keeps unsprung weight down, but the Brembo four piston radial caliper has superbike levels of feel and power.
Like the Vitpilen (Swedish for white arrow) 701 launched early last year the Svartpilen (black arrow, hence the stealth black paintjob) 701 is heavily based on the KTM 690 Duke’s rolling tubular steel chassis and 692.7cc single cylinder motor.
With exhaust, airbox and mapping tweaks, the bike now makes 74bhp - up two ponies on the donor engine. That makes the Svartpilen 701 the most powerful production single cylinder money can buy.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the Husqvarna's thumping motor - behaving more like a racy, free-revving twin than what you’d expect a ploddy single to be.
There’s just the right amount of hard-edged, motocrossy character when you twist the light action throttle tube and it’s enough to remind you of the Husky’s off-road roots, but vibes are minimal, the fuel injection doesn’t know the meaning of glitchy and it oozes clean power and torque.
Whether you rev the satsumas off it, or ride it like you didn’t steal it, the Svartpilen 701 is happy. The quickshifter and autoblipper is impressively slick for a single and although it comes with traction control, an unmarked button on the dash (let’s call it the wheelie button) turns it off.
Husqvarna/KTM build quality can be inconsistent, but it’s something they’re working hard to fix. Like many owners, MCN has experienced problems with it long-term test bikes over the years, but you’ll equally find lots of happy customers enjoying miles of trouble-free fun.
It’s not cheap for such a minimalist machine, but it comes with lots of tasty chassis parts and the most impressive single-cylinder motor ever made.
Direct rivals are few and far between - a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled maybe, or Yamaha’s XSR700, but neither are as light, composed or give you so much pure enjoyment as the Husky.
One of the joys of the Svartpilen is its simplicity, from its uncluttered switchgear and simple single clock to its minimalist styling.
It may appear pricey and it is a little, but dig beneath the surface and you’ll find an array of tasty equipment: WP suspension, Brembos, Pirellis, ABS and traction control. What appears to be a single seat hump is actually a foam perch for a pillion (like the KTM RC390), although they’ll need to be committed to hang on.
A single LCD display contains lots of handy information, including gear position and a fuel gauge and is adjusted with buttons on the clocks themselves, leaving the switchgear clean and simple.
Clicker switches on top of the Husky’s 43mm WP forks let you adjust rebound and compression damping by hand and even when you’re riding, if the mood takes you.
An 18-inch front wheel mimics the flattrack style and is shod with knobbly Pirelli MT60RS rubber. A single disc set-up gives you has incredible stopping power and would stoppie with ease if it wasn’t for the fun-sucking ABS.