First ride of Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 incoming

Published: 13 March 2018

Husqvarna first unveiled their Svartpilen (Black Arrow) and Vitpilen (White Arrow) concepts three years ago. The bikes have come a long way since then, and the range has even expanded to include two different displacements.

The 701 models came as something of a surprise when we first saw them, and we expected them to be a later development. We will be riding the new 701 Vitpilen on March 21, in Barcelona, so keep an eye on our social media and on

Prices have been confirmed at £8899, which means the 692.7, single-cylinder appears a little pricy. However, quality fully-adjustable WP suspension, Brembo brakes front and rear, plus traction control are all standard.

Husqvarna are claiming a ‘dry’ weight of just 157kg and 75bhp from the same engine you’ll find in their 701 Enduro and 701 Supermoto – shoething that should make it a fun bike.

Is it a café racer or a fun commuter? What is the competition to the Vitpilen?  Hopefully we will be able to answer all your questions. 

Last September, we first reported that we'd spied the 701 Vitpilen...

Razor sharp roadsters

If you’re not familiar with the models, the Vitpilen was a café racer concept that’s steadily become reality. The main frame is a steel trellis and while the subframes on the other 701s are a polyamide petrol tank, the Vitpilen has broken rank. The subframe is actually a self-supporting airbox, while the tank is… well, a tank.


Suspension comes from WP, and we think the low weight, good suspension and reasonable power should make for a fun road bike.

So what has changed from the previous prototype we saw? To begin with, the whole bike looks a lot more finished - no bits of tape stuck over things or brackets informally bolted on. There are still some items that appear to be unfinished – such as the mismatching gloss-black subframe versus the matte-black tank, and the raw metal number-plate support – but on the whole it’s pretty much there.

There are other clear indicators of a complete bike, too, such as the Husqvarna logo on the side of the radiator and on the new matt-black exhaust. The easily readable coolant window is a practical touch, too. The LED ring headlight is now finished, as is the single clock – although what that will display (or how) is unclear.

The rear of the bike is arguably the best bit, as the finished undertray is beautifully smooth without all the usual clutter. Even the brake light is neatly packaged. The Vitpilen doesn’t appear to be fashion over function, either, as the pillion pad looks reasonably plush and the footrest position shouldn’t put your passenger’s knees by their elbows.

Down to business

Unfortunately, we’re going to pick up on a couple of things. First, the packaging doesn’t seem to be fantastic. There are wires all over the place and electrical boxes dotted around. Hopefully these will be covered up or rerouted – but if they remain, it will be a poor show in comparison with the new Triumphs, which have really upped the game.

Also gone are the wire-spoke wheels in favour of five-spoke alloys that appear to be off a Honda CB500 circa 1996. We’ve previously seen a Vitpilen prototype wearing the wheels from a 390 Duke, which looked much nicer– and that’s a fairly cheap bike, so the money-saving excuse doesn’t really add up. We imagine the wire-spoke wheels will be an optional extra; if the five-spokes are standard fit, a lot of owners will be taking up that offer.

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