Words: Ganesh Murthy
I bet many of you don’t know much about the Swedish motorcycle manufacturer Husqvarna’s humble beginnings. So, let’s delve into a little bit of history of this motorcycle brand, since its coming to India next year with a couple of motorcycles. Husqvarna has a long history, of not only making motorcycles, but starting as a weapons manufacturer way back in 1689 on the Swedish King’s command, then moving on to make sewing machines and kitchen appliances in 1872, making way to bicycles manufacturing in 1896 and finally to making its first motorised bicycle in 1903. The Swedish motorcycle maker has won numerous accolades in racing too and the brand was acquired by MV Agusta in 1987 and then by BMW in 2007. In 2013, it was acquired by Pierer Industries AG, reunited with the original Husqvarna brand of the 60’s and 70’s. Later that year it was acquired by KTM, the Austrian bike maker. Fast-forward to 2017, in Milan, Husqvarna has showcased some interesting motorcycles at the EICMA and here are the details:
The Vitpilen 701 was first displayed as a concept in 2015. However, a production ready bike was displayed at EICMA 2017 with sharp, retro-themed design, a café racer inspired seating posture with round LED headlamp and round mirrors but displays an air of premiumness with all the technology under its skin. At its heart is a single cylinder 693cc engine producing 75bhp mounted on a chromium-molybdenum steel trellis frame. It gets WP suspensions, Brembo brakes and slipper clutch in the technical front and ride by wire throttle, switchable ABS and traction control as rider aids. It will be available internationally from early-2018 onwards.
Unveiled as a concept alongside the Vitpilen 701, the Svartpilen 701 takes the design style of the Vitpilen and strips it down to the absolute essentials. It features the same engine and chassis as the Vitpilen 701 and will be an additional motorcycle in the range when it does go in to production.
Vitpilen and Svartpilen 401
The best is saved for the last. Both these 401’s were showcased in EICMA 2016 and they will make their way to India through Bajaj Auto. The Vitpilen 401 shares its underpinnings and other mechanicals with the KTM Duke 390, it features the same 373.2cc engine that makes 43bhp. However, it takes a very different approach when it comes to styling of the motorcycle, compared to the KTM’s approach. The seating posture, the round LED headlamp, round mirrors present a fresh outlook to combination of the retro-café styling with all the gadgeteries that come along with the motorcycle in this segment. The Svartpilen will share the platform with the 401, but it will have an upright seating position. The rugged tyres give a hint of possible off-roading intentions of the bike as well. Other details of the mechanicals and features are not known yet. Both these motorcycles will be manufactured in Bajaj’s manufacturing facility in Chakan, Pune. Expect it to be a premium offering compared to KTM’s range of motorcycles in India.