Husqvarna’s US media guy, Andy Jefferson, is a little worried about Husqvarna’s name recognition in the States, though worried is probably not the right word. More like “interested in” or “amused by.” Husqvarna’s been selling bikes in the US for decades (Andy raced them in the early ’80s), but it still seems like the few Americans who do recognize the name Husqvarna associate it with chainsaws and sewing machines. Dirtbike people have no excuse since Husky’s won a couple of US championships lately. But you do have to give streetbike people a break. I mean, Husky’s only been back in the streetbike market in the US, since, uh, 2018.
When Husqvarna introduced the production models of the Svartpilen 401 street-scrambler and Vitpilen 401 café racer last November, which are based on KTM’s 390 powertrain, we figured it was only a matter of time before we saw larger versions using Husky’s 701 engine. Husqvarna had already presented a Vitpilen 701 in concept form a year earlier, so we were not entirely shocked when we received spy photos of a near-production version (above right) alongside its sibling, a Svartpilen 701.
Husqvarna’s new Vitpilen 401 is focused on “providing a pure riding experience.” Using a 373cc Single borrowed from KTM’s 390 Duke housed in a stripped-down layout with clip-on bars, Husky says it will appeal to “an entirely new generation of riders looking for an honest and highly accessible machine.”
Two years ago, Husqvarna presented two concept at EICMA, the scrambler-styled Svartpilen 401 and the Vitpilen 401 cafe racer, both based off of the KTM 390 Duke platform. Last year in Milan, Husqvarna presented a larger Vitpilen 701 concept based off the 690 Duke. It’s no surprise then that Husqvarna would choose EICMA once again to present the final production model.
At last year’s 2014 EICMA, Husqvarna displayed two concept models, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen. At that time both were referred to as 401s, leaving us to speculate that the models will be powered by KTM’s 390 Single found in the RC390 and 390 Duke. Joining the 401 models this year are a Vitpilen 125 and a Vitpilen 701 Concept. Outside of these minimalist announcements Husky is very hushed about its concept models other than to confirm that the company is committed to fulfilling its promise for an expanded street model range.
Alongside the new 701 Supermoto production model comes a pair of scrambler concepts from Husqvarna. Dubbed the 401 Svartpilen (Swedish for “Black Arrow”) and 401 Vitpilen (“White Arrow”), the two concepts draw upon the company’s past while still offering a futuristic styling.