America’s bike business is within the midst of a disaster. The businesses that when thrived on the gross sales of $30,000 cruisers are now not capable of survive by taking bites out of each other’s market share. Attracting new blood to the game is important if the business goes to outlive and Husqvarna — finest identified for producing wonderful, race-winning dirtbikes — thinks it has an concept on how to usher in new and returning riders. And all of it begins with design.
Again in 2014, Husqvarna debuted a few idea bikes on the EICMA bike present in Italy. The bikes had been primarily based on Husqvarna’s dad or mum firm KTM’s entry-level road machines, the RC390 and 390 Duke. The ideas had been referred to as Vitpilen and Svartpilen which, in Husqy’s native Swedish, translate to “white arrow” and “black arrow,” respectively. The idea bikes exuded a simplicity and minimalism that resonated with a lot of the bike business.
The manufacturing bikes are nearly indistinguishable from these ideas. The one actual exceptions are that the engine circumstances look extra bronze than copper, and the Svartpilen has a decrease exhaust place. These bikes are like nothing I’ve ever seen, and Husqvarna hopes this far-out design will appeal to a brand new style-focused, fashion-conscious rider to the game.
One of many very first thing you discover is simply how small the bikes are. The intimidation issue is important for brand spanking new riders, so these bikes being light-weight and having low seat heights is a large win when it comes to normal approachability. I am 6 foot four inches tall, and whereas I really feel slightly cramped by the Vitpilen’s aggressive using place, the Svartpilen is straight away snug and pure.
The Vitpilen 401 and the Svartpilen 401 use the identical 375cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine. It is a unbelievable little unit that produces 44 horsepower and 27 pound-feet of torque, which admittedly does not sound like lots, however is greater than sufficient to zing you as much as just-over-average California freeway speeds with out hassle. This engine sounds superior, particularly on the higher finish of its rev vary. You may want you had an additional 1,500 rpm on the prime finish simply to lengthen the magic. The bikes use a six-speed transmission, and whereas it is nothing to write down dwelling about, it is completely serviceable. The clutch is gentle and extremely simple to modulate, which is ideal for these new to bikes or guide transmissions normally.
KTM is understood for its extremely light-weight bikes, and Husqy is aware of higher than to mess with that. To that finish, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen weigh in at simply 326 and 331 kilos, respectively. Which means that they’re flickable and enjoyable, tremendous simple to maneuver round and never tough choose up in the event that they fall over. Once more, good for a brand new rider.
The brand new entry-level road bikes from Husqvarna emphasize enjoyable reasonably than outright efficiency.
The Vitpilen’s using place is canted far ahead, and the clip-on handlebars are positioned low, relative to the peak of the seat. The foot controls sit excessive and additional again on the bike. The Vitpilen is about as much as enable the rider to work it into corners, leaning over a lot additional than you’d count on for an entry-level bike and carrying tons of velocity by means of every bend. It is a riot at largely authorized speeds and evokes tons of confidence.
The Svartpilen, with its way more upright and relaxed using place, is my private favourite of the 2 bikes. The broader, upright handlebars permit you to actually push the bike round with ease and makes corner-to-corner transitions an absolute pleasure.
For on a regular basis using or commuting, the Svartpilen is the one to have. And do not let its knobby Pirelli tires idiot you into considering it is a dirtbike. The Svartpilen could be tremendous enjoyable on a dusty fire-road or a little bit of gravel monitor, however you’d shortly run out of suspension journey on something tougher.
The upright Svartpilen 401 has a cushty, upright using place and rugged appears to be like.
Talking of which, each bikes use a suspension by WP, a model well-known for each its work with KTM in addition to the variety of race wins it has below its belt. The bikes’ entrance fork is a 43-millimeter, nonadjustable upside-down unit. It is slightly on the comfortable facet, but it surely soaks up bumps moderately properly and appears the enterprise. The rear of the bike contains a monoshock suspension with preload adjustment. The entrance setup offers 5.6 inches of journey, and the rear affords 5.9 inches.
Each bikes have similar Bybre (Brembo’s value-oriented sub-brand) brakes with customary ABS. Up entrance there is a 320mm single rotor squeezed by a four-piston caliper, and the rear will get a 230mm rotor and single-piston caliper. In use, they’re greater than ample, and I by no means discover myself needing extra stopping energy. Would they maintain as much as repeated laps on a race monitor? In all probability not. However on the road, these stoppers are wonderful. The brake really feel on the lever is helped immensely by stainless-steel braided strains, a premium function for an entry-level bike.
Moving into California freeway site visitors, I can take a look at a function that is tremendous necessary to riders on this area: lane splitting. California permits bikes to cross between slow-moving or stopped vehicles, and it is presently the one state within the US the place that is authorized. It is a godsend for biking by means of congested cities like Los Angeles, and right here, each Husqvarna bikes are champs. The small, single-cylinder engine structure and the comparatively slim handlebars means you squeeze by means of any hole as vast because the rider’s shoulders. A good way to draw new riders to motorcycling (in California anyway) is to emphasise the diploma to which using a motorbike can save time in your commute, and on this regard, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen are very best.
The Svartpilen and Vitpilen are extremely easy machines with the one rider support being antilock brakes.
Sometimes, Husqvarna bikes command a little bit of a premium over the KTM fashions on which they’re primarily based, and the Pilen twins aren’t any exception. With a beginning worth of $6,299, they’re nearly $1,000 greater than an equal KTM 390 Duke. And given the similar working gear between the KTM and Husqy fashions, you are actually simply paying for the additional cool issue of those rad-looking bikes.
Each the Vitpilen 401 and the Svartpilen 401 needs to be hitting sellers within the subsequent 4 to 6 weeks. In the event you’re contemplating making the bounce to two-wheeled motoring, they’re undoubtedly price a glance.
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