Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 Review – Rev hungry single gets comfier riding position and class leading tech


  • Advanced lean sensitive electronics package as standard
  • Engine and chassis shared with chunkier Svartpilen 401
  • 398.6cc Euro5+ single cylinder engine is A2 compliant

At a glance

Power: 44 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Low (341 lbs / 154 kg)


New £5,599
Used £3,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The A2 licence compliant 2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 was first seen in January of this year, marking the first significant update to the model since its arrival back in 2018.

Launched alongside a smaller 125 version, as well as a pair of road focussed Svartpilen scramblers, it’s an A2 compliant sports roadster packing adjustable suspension at both ends, lean sensitive electronics, and an eager single cylinder engine that’s happiest buzzing round the top of the revs.

This engine has grown in capacity from 373cc to just shy of 399cc – helping it to meet Euro5+ emissions regulations and deliver a claimed 44.3bhp at 8500rpm. Being a single, it barks and clatters like a small enduro bike, and encourages you to throw gears at it.

Side view of the 2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401

Although good fun on the pipe, it can be quite jerky below 6000rpm and won’t thank you for leaving it a gear too high.

Prior to this update, the 2018-2023 Vitpilen 401 was far more focussed, previously sporting an 835mm seat height and clip-on bars as a mini café racer. Trouble was, that stance made it unappealing to some new riders and Husqvarna say they have learned from that feedback with the new model.

Now the seat sits at a lower 820mm, and whilst it’s still the sportier of the two 401s found in Husqvarna’s range, it has become far less extreme. Sat on the same mounts as the 2024 Svartpilen 401’s flat bars, there’s a different bend in the Vitpilen’s pipework to put a little more weight on your wrists.

This stance is likely to appeal to more sports focussed riders, however it also makes the bike feel physically smaller than its Svartpilen counterpart. Even at 5ft6in, it feels like a small motorcycle between my legs and whilst that will assist with shorter riders and newbies, it could deter some taller customers.

Despite travelling to Malaga for our first test, the weather was incredibly British – delivering lashings of rain, single digit temperatures and hailstones. This exposed weaknesses in the Michelin Power 6 tyres which were fine in isolation, but the poor relation in comparison to the Svartpilen’s Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR hoops.

On its own, the Vitpilen is a very good bike, and I’d wager the best looking in its class. However its own Svartpilen sibling combines the same performance with better ergonomics, comfort, and wet weather grip for the same price. That’s the one I’d go for.

Ride quality & brakes

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

As I alluded to in the introduction, there’s nothing particularly bad about how the Vitpilen 401 rides. Far from it, in fact. It’s just the Svartpilen version does everything ever-so-slightly better.

Both share the same WP Apex fork and shock set-up, with 150mm of travel at both end. They also both use the same trellis chassis, and both run on 17in rims.

The key difference comes in the handlebar position and tyres, with the Vitpilen’s flat bars featuring a slightly more aggressive bend for more weight on your wrists. It also runs on Michelin Power 6 tyres, which I’ve no doubt would be impressive in the dry, but they were far less impressive than the Svartpilen’s Pirellis during our sodden trip.

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 rear view

The sportier stance may only be marginal, but the Vitpilen actually feels far smaller than the Svartpilen alternative – drawing you into the front of the bike in a more hunched over position. This might be appealing to some, but may cause issues for taller riders.

Elsewhere, the suspension is unsurprisingly soft as standard and would likely require some additional clicks of preload should you wish to take a pillion. This is unlikely to be a long journey through with limited space available at the rear.

Elsewhere though, Husky’s changes in pursuit of an easier time of things have really paid off, with the bike feeling thin and light between your legs, with an easy reach to the ground beneath you. I can comfortably hold the bike on either one or two feet, and it should provide an easy-going introduction to the world of bigger motorcycles.


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

The 398.6cc single cylinder engine won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s now grown from its original 373cc capacity, helping it to meet Euro5+ emissions regulations and is fed by a 13-litre fuel tank, up from 9.5 litres on the original.

Not as smooth or forgiving as the parallel twin offerings also found in this category, it’s an engine that responds best to plenty of revs – all the while delivering vibrations through the bars and pegs that leave your digits tingling after heavy mileage. It’s not bad, it’s just different, and actually quite refreshing in an age where so many manufacturers would rather opt for parallel twins.

Some will like it, and others won’t, but if you’re the type of rider that’s always eager to twist the throttle then this could be the machine for you. The higher you are in the revs, the more the vibrations calm down too, with the standard fitment quickshifter and autoblipper working as the perfect companion to reach optimum RPMs quickly.

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 single cylinder engine

At the bottom of the rpm range though, it can be quite clattery, and it isn’t afraid to splutter and jerk if you leave it a gear too high. Once you’re driving forward though, the bike appears to catch a second, cleaner burst of drive from around 6000rpm. Keep it above this figure and you’ll be having a great time.

It also makes a surprisingly good noise through its underslung pipe as standard, with an optional Akrapovič tip also available. This remains EU5+ though, meaning it's unlikely to be much louder than standard.

Cornering on the 2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401

Exiting to the right of the bike beneath the offset rear WP shock it delivers the odd pop under deceleration, and you can hear it make its way through the revs under acceleration at any speed.

As the speeds increase to motorway speeds though, both the Vitpilen and Svartpilen can begin to feel a bit breathless and could benefit from longer gearing.

Reliability & build quality

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

Being a new model consisting of almost entirely new parts, it’s hard to comment on reliability at this stage. That said, the three owners’ reviews found on our original 2018-2023 Vitpilen review score the bike 5/5 in this field.

Husqvarna sell all of their road bikes with a two-year warranty, and the machines we sampled on our launch test felt very well screwed together – complimented by the quality WP Apex suspension and Michelin rubber.

Tucked in on the 2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401

Although our time with the Vitpilen was largely faultless, I also sampled the Svartpilen on the same ride which shares an identical 398.6cc single cylinder engine.

This version of the motorcycle cut out on more than one occasion, both when starting and when coming to a stop. Each time it fired back into life quickly and without fuss,, but could become annoying over time.

Value vs rivals

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

Given the spec that comes as standard, the Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 represents serious value for money. If you’re in the market for an A2 compliant road-focussed naked, it’s an option that simply can’t be overlooked.

Now that the fuel tank has grown from 9.5 litres to 13 litres, Husky reckon that the Vitpilen is capable of 237.6 miles between fill ups, and given it produces just shy of 45bhp and weighs 154.5kg with an empty tank, it should be kind on its tyres too.

Being a sporty roadster, there are three main rivals to the Svartpilen. One of these is the £5699 KTM 390 Duke, which was revealed just a few months before the 401s and shares the same frame, engine, and more. At £100 more, it just comes down to your preference on styling. Both are built in India by Bajaj, alongside the Svartpilen 401.

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 cornering right

Another is BMW’s £5190 G310R, which is also built in India – this time by manufacturing giants TVS. Although cheaper than the KTM and Husqvarna, the level of trim, finish, and performance isn’t even in the same league.

Finally, there's the slightly more retro Triumph Speed 400, which is also built by Bajaj and was recently awarded five stars by Road Tester Carl Stevens.


5 out of 5 (5/5)

Just like its Svartpilen sibling, the Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 is easily one of the best specced bikes in its class, featuring a lean sensitive electronics package as standard, plus full LED lighting, Michelin Power 6 sports tyres, adjustable WP Apex suspension at both ends, and free mobile connectivity for turn by turn navigation. Not only that, but you get all of it for under £6000.

The Vitpilen isn’t just well equipped for this class, it actually ticks all the boxes you’d expect to see on bikes of double the capacity and double the price tag.

If your budget stetches, optional extras also include luggage, heated grips, an Akrapovic exhaust can, and more. In fact, with the bar end mirrors and winglet style crash mushrooms in place, I’d go as far as to say it’s the best looking bike in its class.

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 dashboard

This is only made better by the six spoke cast 17in rims, which look like a set of tiny carbon Dymag wheels partly obscured by the space age mudguards. In an A2 class dominated by small capacity retros and scramblers, it’s a refreshing change from the norm.

What’s more, whilst also looking great, everything remains simple to operate – making it ideal for newbies. The chunky backlit switchgear easy to use in thicker all season gloves, and the five inch bonded glass TFT display is clear and easy to navigate with just an occasional glance on the fly.

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 headlight

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 are self-cancelling indicators too, which remain active long enough to negotiate an entire motorway slip road. Impressive.

The suspension adjustment is kept simple too, offering the same 150mm of travel and choice of alteration as what’s found on the blacked-out Svartpilen.

You get five stages of adjustment for the front compression and rebound clickers, and the same again at the back for preload and rebound. This makes it easy to get back to standard settings and should make adjustment for pillions quick and simple.


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 154kg
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 £3,500
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

  • 2018: First generation Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 launched, based on the existing KTM 390 Duke. Like its orange sibling, it featured a 373cc single cylinder engine, and trellis chassis - plus unique styling traits that can still be seen in the latest generation. The original version featured a taller seat and clip-on handlebars, something that’s been dropped for the second generation model as a consequence of customer feedback.

Other versions

Both the original 2018 and current Vitpilen models have also had a more rugged Svartpilen (Black Arrow) counterpart. Both versions have provided a more upright street scrambler stance than the Vitpilen, with the latest blacked-out version wearing chunky dual purpose Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, spoked 17in rims, and more upright flat bars.

An updated Vitpilen and Svartpilen 125 have also been launched for 2024.

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