The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is a real head-turner, no doubt. When we were given the keys to this beast, we couldn’t wait to tear up some tarmac.
Starting the day in Melbournes bustling CBD, we set our GPS to the Yarra Valley wine region and Healesville’s stunning Black Spur – giving the bike a chance to perform on a range of tight, winding and open roads.
And oh boy did it impress. Not only did it drive and handle extremely well, but we couldn’t stop the horde of enthusiasts, eager to find out more about this bike and when it was available.
Styling & Design
The name translates to ”White Arrow”, in Husqvarna’s native Swedish language. Which, when we saw the bike for the first time in person, though was aptly fitting. It’s aggressive, sharp and terribly sexy.
The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 combines traditional cafe-racer elements with a modern and edgy design – a smart design, especially given the current climate around the trend for cafe racers.
The 12-litre tank is a modern, brutalist piece of art. The protruding 701 visuals only amplify its look. We also loved the eye-catching fluoro yellow line that separates the tank from the seat too.
Driving & Performance
The Vitpilen 701 is essentially a restyled KTM 690 Duke. They’ve borrowed the DOHC engine with some slightly revised parts, such as the gearbox and two-way quick shifter. The chassis style is also taken from the Duke.
The major difference from the two is the Vitpilen’s sportier riding position, thanks to their low handlebars. Inevitably, this puts pressure on the wrist at low speeds, which we noticed, however, it makes the bike easy to maneuver at low speeds. The seat is a little hard, so longer runs call for longer breaks.
Brakes and rider assistance
The Vitpilen is fitted with Brembo brakes, doing a great job on this light bike with good power and feel. The ABS system is the latest from Bosch – which you’re able to disable, alongside the traction control; meaning you can have ABS on, and traction off, or vice verse.
The digital display is large and comprehensive, featuring all the usual functions. It looks modern, bright and relatively easy to read.
The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is a beast. We can see this bought by seasoned riders wanting something to zip through the city streets, as well as taking on short extended weekend runs.
It should be arriving in Australian dealerships between May-June, with an official-ish pricing of roughly $17,500 ride away.
2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 Full Tech Specs
Warranty: Two years, unlimited kilometres
Colours: Back/white and black
Claimed power: 55kW[73hp]@8000rpm
Claimed torque: 74Nm[54.5ft-lbs]@6500rpm
Dry weight: 157kg
Fuel capacity: 12L
Engine: Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke, 102 x 84.5mm bore x stroke, 690cc, 12.7:1 compression, six-speed gearbox, Keihin EFI and EMS with RbW, double ignition
Clutch: APTC slipper clutch, hydraulic
Chassis: Chromium-Molybdenum steel trellis frame,
Seat height: 865mm, Wheelbase: 1466mm
Suspension: 43mm WP USD telescopic with compression and rebound damping adjustment (R) WP mono-shock with preload and rebound damping adjustment
Instruments: Digital multifunction display
Brakes: Single 320mm disc, four-piston Brembo caliper (R) Single 240mm disc, single-piston Brembo caliper
Wheels & Tyres: Cast-aluminium, 3.50 x 17in, 5.00 x 17in, 120/70 – 17, 160/60 – 17, Bridgestone S21 tyres