29 July 2016
Visordown spots Vitpilen 401 in the wild
The latest news about Husqvarna’s push to become the stylish “upmarket” version of KTM is this spy shot of next year’s Vitpilen 401. It’s based on KTM’s popular Bajaj-built 390 Duke, with the same single cylinder motor and basic chassis design, but with neo-retro, Swedish-style bodywork.
When we rode KTM’s 390, this is what we had to say:
When going up and down through the gears, the 390 is a riot. At 6500 rpm, the all-new engine gets a second wind and the bike tries to jump out of your hands—and the rush continues to the 10.5k redline. It’s easy to clutch the bike up in first and ride satisfying wheelies, and then use the powerful ByBre front caliper to bite the 300 mm front rotor and back the bike in to the the next corner (at least if you disable the ABS… see below). Ride the bike normally, and it will take you down the road without drama… but provoke it and it will happily play along. It wheelies, stoppies, and slides naturally.
It’s terrific fun, but it feels serious too. The firm ride from the WP suspension, the powerful brakes, and the aggressive seating position does an excellent job of encouraging aggressive riding behavior. In fact, we hopped aboard a KTM 690 Duke right after the 390, and it felt heavy and soft, even if it was technically faster.
The 390 is a great size for the city, too. It’s fairly small, and with a weight of only 306 lbs it’s easy to move around even if you get slightly off balance. Happily, it’s got a lot of steering lock, and can easily be threaded between stopped cars—a task made easier by the fact that the mirrors don’t protrude past the ends of the handlebars.
We reckon the 401 should be corker, and more suited to our style. Just find some way to put the concept headlight into production and hang the plate under the seat.
Top shot from Visordown