It’s raining 400s in the motorcycling world and we have yet another… this one though was long due. We know what you’re wondering - Why did they not launch this when they first launched the brand a few years ago? Well I wonder the same. But let’s not get bogged down by the why’s and the why not. It is here. But the question is… Is it still relevant?
Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 Review
A bit late to the Svarty?
Design and Build
To understand where the design stems from, you need to know the heritage of the Husqvarna brand. The KTM owned Swedish brand has been around since the 17th century. They have produced everything from sewing machines, typewriters, firearms and power tools! The industrial design element is deeply embedded here and that is what Maxime Thouvenin encapsulated so well. It looks nothing like the other bikes on the market and the neo-cafe racer design might just be the biggest draw here. The quality is typically KTM as well and it even shares some, if not most of the components with the Duke 390.
Performance and Features
Greeting you up front is a gorgeous borderless 5in TFT that displays all you need to know about your bike. It’s a simple layout and is customisable to be minimalistic straight down to just Lap Timings and Number of Laps. You get a Street mode as standard and a Rain mode, but that is an optional extra, so you need to pay for a module. The ABS modes come standard thankfully and you get Road and Supermoto in which the rear ABS is switched off. Apart from that there’s also EasyShift on board for seamless gear shifting and a host of other information is available to you such as coolant temperature, fuel economy and more.
The 398CC engine on the Svartpilen produces 46hp and 39 nm of torque. Pretty much similar to the KTM. It even sounds the same to be honest. However, the power comes in a bit higher in the rev range which gives an impression that it is a more neutered version of what you get on the KTM Duke 390 and also quite forgiving too. Almost too forgiving for someone looking for that rush and surge from the get go. Some thrill seekers might even call it boring. For them, the Duke 390 is the way.
For a more mature audience however, the Husky will be plenty appealing. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t slow by any measure. The surge of power hits around the 5000rpm mark and when it does, everything comes to life! Now, like the KTM the Svartpilen also feels rough and there are plenty of vibrations that come through the handlebar and the footpegs, which isn’t a nice feeling.
Ride and Handling
The new Husky has a seat height of 820mm and there’s plenty of room around. More room than the Duke 390 and feels a lot more comfortable and relaxed. There’s plenty of room to move around and it doesn’t put you in that aggressive attack position that the Duke 390 does. The suspension is the same that you get on the Duke 390. There’s rebound and damping in the front and preload adjustability at the back. The tyres are different though, you get the Pirelli Scorpions here which are tubed and I think that is where it feels different from the Duke.
When you lean into a corner it isn’t as natural as you’d feel on the 390. It sort of slots into the corner instead of easing into it. In traffic, it pretty much behaves like the street bike it is supposed to be. You can swerve through traffic with ease but if you’re used to a KTM, you’d find yourself twisting the throttle a lot more for that overtake. Oh, and even though it has that scrambler sort of silhouette, it’s a proper street bike.
It’s spacious, it’s comfortable and the riding ergonomics are similar to the Duke 390. It comes across as the more mature option to go for if you are looking for similar performance and don’t want to spend as much either. It’s about 20,000-25,000 rupees cheaper than the Duke but it does come with lesser features. However, when you consider everything, the new Husky comes across as a much better bike to live with long term. The Triumph twins are of course an option too and cheaper than this but the engine on those feel lifeless in comparison. This one’s got the soul and the looks to match it!
The new Husky is a wolf in sheep's clothing! We’d buy it for the looks and practicality