Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen Spied, Still Far from the Final Shape

Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen testing 1 photo
Photo: MCN
Husqvarna has begun the road tests for the two 401 bikes previewed in the shape of the 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen we saw at EICMA last year. Largely based on the KTM 390 Duke, the two all-new machines are said to be the one that announce a new era in Husqvarna's already tumultuous history.
Even though initially Stefan Pierer said that Husky will become an off-road company, we sort of expected that road-going bikes would eventually make it to the official line-up. As far as the spied 401 machine is concerned, there's rather little than can be said about this build in the current state.

The Husqvarna 401 appears to be equipped with a lot of 390 Duke parts, including the wheels and suspensions, with the only things that suggest we're dealing with another machine being the flatter tank and the handlebars, and possibly, the seat.

One engine, multiple bikes to meet every need

Apparently, Husqvarna is testing ergonomics at this time, as we can see a fancy, multi-position plate to which the rider pegs are attached. Together with the adjustable bars, the footpegs will help engineers choose the optimal layout for the machine, even though we'd be all the happier if more manufacturers adopted the solution Kawasaki implemented for the Vulcan S.

Offering easy-to-use three-way adjustability for the footrests ensures that the bike can become more comfortable for a greater number of customers, and this represents a very strong selling point for Husky. And because the 401 machines are addressed to a rather wide public, making them as compliant as possible might become one of the strongest incentives.

The engine will be the 373cc mill that currently motivates the 390 Duke, possibly with some small tweaks, but the peak power is expected to maintain the bikes in the A2-license compliance class. This means we can expect the bikes to deliver under 47 horsepower, possibly around the 44 hp figure of the Duke.

A new frame and new suspensions are expected, given the different purpose and architecture of the Husqvarna 401 machines. Still, rumors are that Husky will only deliver the 401 duo late in 2016, as 2017 model years, a bit late, if you ask us.

However, it's way better to see that Husqvarna finally has a long-term development plan, and things seem to straighten out. Pierer has ambitious plans with Husky and dreams of making it one of the top five European manufacturers. Whether and how this is possible remains to be seen in the coming years.
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