Torque of the town

Husqvarna’s range of pure road bikes expands with the flat-track styled Svartpilen 701, based on KTM’s 690 Duke engine and chassis. Is the 701 different enough to forge its own identity? MSL finds out from the launch in Portugal.

In the space of 10 minutes we’ve gone from bossing downtown Lisbon traffic like a super-commuter late for his mochafrappuchino, carving along racetrack-polished coastal roads at sportsbike pace, pottering through sun-bleached, white-washed Portuguese villages like a meandering sightseer, to performing what amounts to an impromptu semi off-road hill-climb through a forest over uprooted, crumbling Tarmac.

And right now Husqvarna’s Svartpilen 701 is comfortably drumming along a classic combination of smooth, twisty hillside asphalt like a sports tourer, albeit one that weighs a flyweight 175kg dripping wet, has no fairing and not a great deal of capacity for luggage much beyond a tankbag. All this on a single, solitary, single. Who says one-dingers aren’t versatile?

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But it’s a big one, literally. The engine at the core of Husqvarna’s Svartpilen 701 (Svartpilen means ‘black arrow’; the sibling Vitpilen 701 is ‘white arrow’) is a 692.7cc, 75bhp four-stroke single lifted lock, stock and especially barrel from KTM’s 690 Duke, and housed in a chassis similarly originating from Husqvarna’s parent company in Mattighofen, Austria.

To read the rest of this article, check out the August issue of Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, available in the shops NOW!

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