Husqvarna 701 Cafe Racer Spied

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Spy photographers have spotted what appears to be a café racer-styled prototype with what looks like the Single-cylinder engine and frame of the KTM 690 Duke. Now, the test rider’s KTM-branded helmet and jacket may foreshadow an orange-clad future for the finished product, but the H-branded gloves and café racer style suggest the new model will instead wear Husqvarna blue, white and yellow once the camouflage is lifted.

While a Duke-based 701 Supermoto isn’t a surprise given Husqvarna’s off-road heritage, a café racer fits into the new direction for the brand, following its acquisition by KTM. In an interview with Australian Motorcycle News, KTM CEO, Stefan Pierer says Husqvarna’s street bikes will differentiate themselves from the Austrian brand by adopting a “New Classic” theme; an old-school style without looking, well, old.

“These will all be distinctly different models badged as Husqvarnas, with a quite different concept than the equivalent KTM,” Pierer tells AMCN. “You will see a real cool-looking power cruiser, you will see modern classics combined with state of the art components which will bring back the kinds of bike you had in the early ’70 into the ’80s, but in a modern context. They won’t be retro like the others – you know, old fashioned, cheap, recycled junk.”

The Husqvarna 701 Café Racer, following the naming convention established by Husky’s 701 Supermoto concept, will be yet another new Husky model using a KTM powerplant. On the Supermoto, the 690cc Single claims 67 hp and we expect about the same here.

We’ve superimposed the side view of the prototype with an image of the 690 Duke below to highlight some of the differences.

Visually, we see styling hints similar to the 401 Svartpilen and Vitpilen concepts based on the 390 Duke platform that are slated to enter production as 2017 models.

Even accounting for the rider’s load, the prototype’s tail is lower and flatter than on the Duke, which means a new subframe. Rear suspension travel appears to be considerably reduced. The engine appears identical, but the muffler lies under the belly instead of rising up towards the tail. The Duke’s handlebar is replaced by clip-ons mounted at the same level as the upper triple clamp for a more aggressive forward reach.

The frame, engine, radiator, swingarm, wheels and front fender appear to be straight off of the Duke, but some of that may change before the 701 Café Racer is ready for production. The bike being tested here is clearly in unfinished prototype form. Check out the overly large footpeg mounts drilled to accommodate various positions as engineers hone in on the best setup.

It’s likely we’ll see this new Husky – at least in prototype form – at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, this fall.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

More by Dennis Chung

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Greybeard1 Greybeard1 on Sep 25, 2015

    "Even accounting for the rider’s load,".
    This is like the third or fourth test rider I've seen who is a "person of substance".
    Maybe if retirement gets boring I could pick up a gig!
    What am I saying.....

  • KLRJUNE . KLRJUNE . on Oct 09, 2015

    I love the looks of a café bike but they really are uncomfortable even for us skinnies.