2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801 Review – First Ride

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

The Svart has Twins

Photos by: Marco Campelli and Sebas Romero

When attempting to check my bag at LAX, the attendant told me that my flight to France was canceled. I asked if he was sure since the app was still showing the flight was on time. Rather than ducking back behind the computer, he grabbed what had to have been a 12-foot long ream of paper full of flight schedules all plastered with the word Canceled. Turns out France was in the midst of a massive air traffic controller strike which had halted almost all air travel through France (go figure). As it would happen, my flight was indeed still scheduled. Shocked, the attendant reluctantly hoisted my bag onto the carousel and we watched as it began its journey with hopes that I would see it again on the other side of the world. Au revoir!

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 801

The 2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen is now drinking for two with a 799cc Parallel Twin plucked out of its orange sibling and nestled under the Svart’s stylish duds. Does a Parallel Twin change the vibe of the ‘Pilen’s original Thumper? Undoubtedly.


  • A familiar, fun power plant
  • Stable chassis
  • Comfortable ergos


  • Heavy low-speed steering
  • You’ll have to pay extra for the full electronics package
  • Small-ish tank limits range

Video by: Luca Piffaretti and Alessio Contadini

The once ridiculed Fontaine du Soleil in Nice has a tumultuous past… and it has nothing to do with Mars manhandling horses. Photo by Ryan Adams.

After a quick romp to see the monarch and grab some pub grub in London, we were rerouted to a different port city in southern France, but happy to be heading to the same general area. Eventually, we found ourselves jetlagged, sipping coffee while having a stroll through Jean-Médecin and Vieux Nice before making our way southwest toward the sleepy commune of Nans-le-Pins, just north of the Sainte-Baume ridge to kick off this foray with the next-gen Svartpilen.

The short-lived Svartpilen 701 was discontinued in 2020 after only being available for two model years. We were sad to see it go, but hardly even remember it being around. For 2024, the Svartpilen 801 provides a largely different experience compared to the Single-powered 701. Previously, both the Svart and Vit 701s were lightweight motorcycles powered by punchy Singles and there wasn’t much in the market like them. A high price tag (despite it being lowered year-to-year) and what we assume were less-than-projected sales, put an end to the model’s short run.

The latest Black Arrow is now powered by KTM’s LC8c 799cc Parallel Twin engine. A mill first seen in the 790 Adventure and Duke models that was replaced by 890s and now 990s and then brought right back to the models mentioned in the beginning of this sentence – and now, the Svartpilen. Why? Because, Pierer Mobility. The frame was also brought over from the orange side and uses WP Apex suspension to round out the chassis. A substantial electronics suite is available with even more tech at your fingertips should you opt for the cruise control ($290) and Dynamic package ($420) that offers up and extra ride mode with heaps of adjustability, not new to PM.

The Svartpilen’s stylish touches can be found throughout the machine.

Since we’ve already covered the Svartpilen 801 in our First Look and because it’s technically very similar to machines we’ve covered throughout this site in various ways, let’s jump right into the riding impressions to see what makes the Husqvarna Svartpilen 801 truly standout from the crowd.

Go Ahead and Nock It

The first touch points upon swinging a leg over the Svart reveal a slightly more relaxed riding position compared to KTM’s Scalpel. The handlebar is higher and further back, bringing the rider closer to an upright riding position. The footpegs also don’t cause excessive bend at the knee and after our day’s ride, I found the 32.3-inch seat to be a comfortable place to be perched.

A surprisingly comfortable place to rest your rump.

Slow speed maneuvers feel somewhat sluggish with the front end feeling heavy despite geometry very similar to the Scalpel. Once moving though, the Svartpilen 801 feels completely stable while cornering and the wide handlebar gives you the leverage needed to twist the bike from side to side between apexes. Regardless of the flat track appearance, the Pirelli MT60s wrapped around the five-spoke aluminum wheels do a surprisingly good imitation of sportier road-going rubber although, if you’re looking to extract the ultimate performance from the Svart’s Twin, you’d be better off with stickier buns.

You can just barely make out the silhouette of the non-adjustable WP steering damper attached to the lower triple.

As we’ve experienced before, the four-pot, radially-mounted J.Juan binders do a commendable job of slowing down the Svart’s roll. Bosch provides lean sensitive ABS (which can be switched to Supermoto mode to reduce front wheel ABS and disable it at the rear). WP and PM have decided to make the Apex suspension units on the new units simpler for folks to adjust. Rather than offering 18 clicks of damping, the fork now has five clicks of rebound and compression while the shock also offers five clicks of rebound in addition to preload adjustment to help folks make more impactful adjustments that are easier to keep track of. With our press units set at the middle-of-the-road third position, the ride was surprisingly sporty, but well-damped enough to handle the odd broken up road when we found them which, combined with the baked in stability found elsewhere in the chassis, made pushing the limits of the Svartpilen all the more satisfying.

The Husqvarna Svartpilen 801’s edgy tank holds 3.7-gallons of petrol.

Love it or hate it, Husqvarna continues with the PM theme of offering extra functionality for extra coin. Adding cruise control for $290 swaps out the left control module (and adds another customizable “favorite” button), while the Dynamic Pack adds the Dynamic riding mode that offers adjustability to throttle response and 10 levels of traction control (and also “0” to completely disable it) in addition to adjustable wheelie control and motor slip regulation (MSR). What we’re very happy to report is all of this is accessible via a five-inch optically-bonded TFT display. Yes, gone is the hard to read LCD from the previous ’Pilens. Bluetooth connectivity is also available via the app and a USB-C outlet is nestled into the side of the display.

“Easy Shift” is fitted as standard for clutchless shifts in either direction.

Like the 790 Duke before it, the Svartpilen 801 is an excellent naked bike offering exciting performance for a middleweight naked bike. Sure, it lost the uniqueness of being a lightweight 683cc Single-powered naked, but with the extra 80 pounds comes additional performance and tech – and all at a lower price point of $10,899. With the KTM 790 Duke’s popularity, it’s safe to say the Svartpilen 801 will be a worthy contender in the market that brings its own unique style alongside proven performance. I wonder if we’ll see a Vit prefixed somewhere down the line.




















Editors Score: 88.5%

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Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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2 of 9 comments
  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Jul 05, 2024

    Another KTM article with no mention of the unreliability of the brand. I believe this has an engine that will be made in China by CFMoto. These engines are notorious for destroying cams yet you still rate the Engine 18.5/20 and Value 9.0/10. What an absolute joke.

  • Mister Win Mister Win on Jul 09, 2024

    Imagine paying for a house with a backyard , but you have to pay extra for the gate key... That's Pierer Mobility products in a nutshell, charging extra for what's included in the bike so they can advertise a "value"