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Husqvarna Svartpilen 701

Husqvarna launched the new Svartpilen 701, a bike I've been waiting for, at the massive EICMA show in Milan yesterday. It follows the Vitpilen and Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 701.

Need to know

Chassis and engine are essentially KTM 690 SuperDuke. KTM own Husqvarna now.

Vitpilen (White Arrow) has more cafe racer ergonomics with lower bars, the Svartpilen (Black Arrow) has raised bars.

It has a chro-mo steel trellis frame; ride-by-wire throttle; switchable ABS; slipper clutch; up/down quickshifter

Husqvarna's marketing spiel says 'The SVARTPILEN 701 street explorer is a flat-track-inspired machine created for the new generation of freethinking motorcyclists. Devoid of any excess, it appeals to riders less interested in the hype and overstatement of modern day motorcycling – those who prefer a simpler, timeless design.'

Well, it says 'flat track inspired' not 'styled' so I guess you can take inspiration from anywhere and use it how you like, but I'm not getting much flat track out of this bike.

Husqvarna are increasingly visible in US flat track, having sponsored, and won races with, Shayna Texter in the 2018 season. It'll be interesting to see if they grow that involvement. Parent company KTM announced they would enter a factory AFT singles team in 2019, and made no secret of the fact they plan to develop a twin too.

Whether it is FT inspired or not, I do like the look of it. I had the loan of a Vitpilen 701 of a week and loved it (with reservations - the engine is so mechanically noisy I couldn't ignore it). It turned me on to road going singles again though.

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