Husqvarna revives high-output Svartpilen with new 801


Aside from dirtbikes and power equipment, Swedish brand Husqvarna became known for its Svartpilen (“black arrow”) and Vitpilen (“white arrow”) naked motorcycles. The Svartpilen was the more upright, scrambler-style version, with a nominal dirt capability, and the Vitpilen was the tightly-tucked and low sports version. For a number of years, they were offered in the U.S. in entry-level 401 and higher-performance 701 variants, both with single-cylinder engines with displacement close to their model numbers. But the 701 disappeared after 2020, with just the 401s to continue on. That changes with the new Svartpilen 801, which offers even more performance, and even an extra cylinder.

The 801 arrives with the latest interpretation of Husqvarna’s distinct styling. It’s very much Swedish modern with crisp, simple edges and just enough curves to keep things interesting. Great care has been taken to get various lines to intersect and connect, particularly the angle-cut exhaust that lines up perfectly with the tail of the bike. It also has the signature shoulders on each side of the plastic tank covers. And being the Svartpilen, it has relatively high handle bars and relatively mid-mounted foot controls.

The bodywork fits over a tube frame with the engine as a stressed member. Wheels measure 17 inches at both ends with dual 11.8-inch front disc brakes and a 9.4-inch single at the rear. It has an inverted front fork with compression and rebound adjustment, as well as a monoshock at the rear with rebound adjustment.

Both the chassis and the engine are borrowed from the KTM Duke 790, as KTM owns Husqvarna. The engine is a 799-cc parallel twin, instead of the 701’s 693-cc single. It’s a 270-degree-crank engine to emulate the characteristics of a V-twin, and it makes a healthy 105 horsepower and 64 pound-feet of torque. At 399 pounds dry (which of course will climb with a full tank, radiator and oil pan), it’s not terribly heavy, either. Power gets to the rear wheel via a six-speed manual transmission with a slip-assist clutch and a quick shifter for clutchless shifting. Cornering traction control, ride modes and ABS are standard, and an optional Dynamic Pack adds cruise control, anti-wheelie control and more finely adjustable traction control. Plus it has a standard 5-inch color instrument screen with Bluetooth connectivity.

The Svartpilen goes on sale in April, and it will cost $10,899 before fees and tax. So far, there’s no sportier Vitpilen announced, but it’s likely just around the corner. Based on past versions, as well as the 401 line, the Vitpilen will likely get slightly tweaked bodywork, plus low clip-on bars and more rearward foot controls. It will probably also get sportier tires than the chunkier ones fitted to the Svartpilen.



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