March 04, 2021 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2021 Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen

Svelte & Sassy

The Husqvarna motorcycle brand is finally officially in the Philippines! For seasoned riders the Swedish brand with origins dating way back to 1903, when they produced bicycles, is instantly recognized mostly for its historied off-road motocross and enduro successes (though they did compete in GP too). That perspective will change swiftly with the new line of road bikes with mechanical sharing with its new Austrian parent company KTM that has owned it since 2013. So, it only makes perfect sense that AC Motors’ KTM Philippines would double-down on their brilliant manufacturing and export setup so that Philippine buyers will be able to enjoy the affordability, reliability and support as direct results of that symbiotic business arrangement. For those who may not know, a little trivia, the Husqvarna brand logo represents a gunsight surrounding the “H” which is clever since the brand began life as a musket manufacturer.

I absolutely love the all-new Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen!! Yes, it is practically mechanically identical with a KTM 390 Duke but the personalities are different. The youthful KTM 390 Duke is an aggressively designed street fighter with a more practical pillion for more frequent two-up riding. The more seductive Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen with its more café racer styling is in a separate review. Husqvarna bikes will appeal more to seasoned riders because of its more retrospective design. Ultimately, choosing between a Husqvarna and a KTM will be a matter of style and riding preference.

The 401 Svartpilen (“Black Arrow”) uses a powder coated steel trellis frame that is the urban scrambler version with very subtle design nuances compared to the Vitpilen, with taller handlebars and appropriate knobby tires (Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 110/70 ZR17 front & 150/60 ZR17 rear). The 401 Svartpilen is slightly lighter than a 390 Duke by about 2 kilos principally because of the aesthetics and the resulting smaller fuel tank of 9.5-liters compared to 13.5-liters.

The 401 Svartpilen is a beginner’s dream realized that is so compelling that veteran riders will love it even more! The 401 Svartpilen may be positioned as an entry-level commuter/explorer but it is so much more than that. I did feel a little more buzz compared to a 390 Duke but it is inconsequential above walking pace. On paper, it is hard not to compare it to a 390 Duke which shares almost everything underneath the skin, headlight and speedometer. But I assure you that the Husky performs differently. The suspension tuning is slightly more complaint to handle a more diverse variety of road surfaces which is practical.

The cyclops full-LED headlight with ring-type DRL is brilliant though I would have preferred more analog instrumentation. All the lighting are LED which is great! On top of the lovely tank is a usable factory mounted cargo rack which looks cool and purposeful even when not actually used as intended. The overall visual effect of the design that includes the neat hugger that eliminates the subframe-mount mudguard is just so tasteful and wonderful. The steering head comes set with 25 degrees of rake for 3.74 inches of trail so maneuvering about is instinctive and effortless. The front upside-down 43 mm WP open-cartridge forks have 142 mm of wheel travel while the coil-over monoshock has 150 mm of travel at the rear. Speed management is handled by a single ByBre 4-piston radial fixed caliper squeezing a 320 mm drilled front disc up front while the rear uses a single piston floating ByBre caliper on a drilled 230 mm disc, both controlled by a Bosch 9.1 MB Two Channel ABS system.

The PASC™ slipper clutch provides anti-hop protection and eases the clutch-lever pull on both shifting up and down. If you get the timing right, the transmission performs smoothly and flawlessly which makes riding the Husky scrambler even more of a delight. The spoke wheel option looks even better than the standard alloys however they require tubes which would be very impractical for our Philippine roads unfortunately.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Single-cylinder, Liquid cooled with thermo fan
Displacement 373 cc
Cylinder Head 4 valves, DOHC
Fuel Injector EFI
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 44 bhp @ 9000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 27 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed MT with PASC™ anti-hopping clutch

Performance

Top Speed 173 km/h (108 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 4.4 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 3.8L/100km overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 295,000.00
What's Great Beautiful details, enormously rewarding to ride, value for money, bursting with character.
What's Not So Wish it didn’t have the rear “spoiler” passenger grab handle, had handlebar-end mirrors and spoke wheels.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
© C! 2003-2021. All Rights Reserved. Designed by