New 690 single cylinder prototype spotted on the road
The rebirth of the Husqvarna brand under KTM ownership has taken another leap forward with this first sighting of a new café racer, which uses a KTM Duke 690 engine.
While the firm have been very open about some of their forthcoming bikes, this new roadster hasn’t directly featured in any of their confirmed forward plans.
So far, Husqvarna has shown the 701 Supermoto in both concept and near-production specification, along with both the 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen concept bikes – both based around the KTM 390 Duke platform. It has been made clear by the boss of KTM and Husqvarna, Stefan Pierer, that eventually the Husqvarna range would expand to use all of the KTM engine and chassis platforms from 125 through to the storming 1290 V-twin, and this prototype confirms that this development program is now well under way across a growing range of models.
This new 701 café racer variant was spotted as it returned to the KTM Research and Design headquarters in Mattighofen, Austria, and is more advanced than any of the other test mules spied to date. It’s also the first bike to be seen using the larger 690 single cylinder motor. While there’s been no official comment on this model, it bears undeniably striking similarities to the 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen concept bikes shown at the 2014 Milan motorcycle show, suggesting that the firm are committed to families of models around this key design.
MCN spy photographers have already captured much rougher test bikes using the 390 Duke engine at the company’s test facility in Spain, but aside from the 701 Supermoto, this is the largest -capacity Husqvarna prototype seen since ownership passed to Pierer in 2013 after an ultimately unsuccessful period under BMW ownership.
It also further ratifies the firm’s assertion that their bikes will have a distinct brand identity, despite the amount of shared parts with sister company KTM, creating – the firm hopes – a range of bikes that will appeal to a different type of customer, while dramatically reducing R&D exposure.
KTM have laid out development plans which will see three new production bikes on sale in around 18 months. The first bikes to arrive will be production versions of the 701 Supermoto and Enduro models and then the Svartpilen and Vitpilen production bikes to follow a year later. Where this 701 café racer fits into this plan is unclear, but it could well be heading for simultaneous release with the 401 models based on the advanced appearance of this test mule. KTM and Husqvarna boss Stefan Pierer has already made the bold claim that he wants Husqvarna to be the in the top five selling manufacturers in Europe within five years.