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Husqvarna Svartpilen

Husqvarna have had a circuitous route to their current place in the motorcycle world. Cagiva owned them, then BMW, the Germans selling the historic former Swedish brand to KTM in 2013. Since then the Husqvarna brand has been kept ticking over, well maybe a bit more than that, by building white, yellow and blue versions of KTMs off-roaders, plus Huskie's own 701 Supermotard road bike (that people seem to love, but I think is too heavy, visually, around the hindquarters).

There have been concepts too, most interestingly the Vitpilen single cylinder. I pause before using the description everyone reaches for, calling it a cafe racer. It's a naked with bars that are level with the top yoke. Does it have to be stuffed in the cafe racer pigeonhole?

The Vitpilen is nearing production, due in early-2018, and Husqvarna, under the design control of Kiska, have just presented it's sibling: Svartpilen, a street scrambler version of the Vitpilen. Vitpilen is white arrow, Svartpilen is, you guessed it, Black Arrow (now that's a good name for a motorbike...).

Both are powered by the 375cc engine from the Indian-built KTM Duke 390. Both have WP upside forks and monoshocks (KTM also own WP). The design is, thank God, unashamedly modern, reminding me a little of Marc Newsom's Ford 021C concept car. I'm not anti-retro, but I love modernity too. And these bikes show it done well, even if the press/online media are pigeonholing them in the same old categories. It's impressive that a brand with a history as strong as Husqvarna are avoiding lazy, crowd-pleasing recalls to their past and ploughing a new furrow. Bravo, Huskie!

And there's a 901 Svartplien coming, too. More details soon

Photos: Husqvarna

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