Do not adjust your computer monitors, you are not seeing things incorrectly. This KTM Moto3 bike is having a bit of an identity crisis, as it is now known as the Husqvarna FR 250 GP. Yes, the Swedish brand is making its re-entry in the grand prix racing next year.
Set to be campaigned by Max Racing, which is the team name of former world champion Max Biaggi, Husqvarna’s push back into the Moto3 series is sure to make waves, and that’s before we tell you that the named riders are Romano Fenati and Alonso Lopez.
As you can imagine then, the news made waves when it was announced at the EICMA show in Milan, though perhaps there is some hope that Biaggi’s veteran status can ease the rough edges found on Fenati.
If there is a complaint to be made about the Husqvarna 701 Enduro, it likely has to do with the bike’s 3.4 gallon (13-liter) fuel tank.
The size of the tank isn’t unreasonable, mind you, especially since the Huqvarna 701 Enduro does pretty well at sipping fuel, despite its big single-cylinder engine, but if you really want to explore where the trail ends, there just isn’t enough go-juice on the bike…until now.
Say hello to the Husqvarna 701 Enduro LR, and as you can probably figure out for yourself, the two-letter designation stands for “long range”.
Every year, for the past five years, Husqvarna has worked like clockwork at the EIMCA show in Milan. This is because the Swedish variant from KTM has been steady in its approach of releasing one new street bike in Milan, and one new concept model for possible future production. For 2019, this trend continues.
Behold the Husqvarna Norden 901 concept, a uniquely styled adventure-tourer, with an 899cc parallel-twin engine, and plenty of styling cues to keep your pouring over the high-resolution photos below.
As the name suggests, the Norden 901 gets the upgraded “890” engine from the KTM 890 Duke R, but fit into a package that is similar to the KTM 790 Adventure platform.
Remember that day when KTM bought a struggling dirt bike brand? No, we’re not talking about Husqvarna again, because today Stefan Pierer and his team acquired 60% of the shares of Spanish dirt bike marque GasGas.
The acquisition is actually an interesting one between KTM and GasGas’s owner, Black Toro Capital, as it sees the Austrian conglomerate “partnering” with its Spanish counterpart, primarily on electric dirt bikes.
Their home Grand Prix is traditionally the place where KTM announce the racing plans, and this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP round is no different.
There is to be a shakeup in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, while the Austrian manufacturer has extended its commitment to MotoGP for five more years beyond 2021.
KTM will stop as a chassis manufacturer in Moto2, but bring back Husqvarna as a separate team and bike in Moto3.
If you are a loyal reader of Asphalt & Rubber, then you know that we love us some supermoto motorcycles. As such, we bring you today the only factory-built race-ready supermoto for the next model year. Say hello to the 2020 Husqvarna FS 450.
Before you put your 2019 model up for sale, we should note that the changes for the 2020 model year aren’t terribly large.
The Husqvarna FS 450 got a pretty good update last year, with more torque and less weight (thanks to the changes made to Husqvarna’s 450cc motocross bike), so the 2020 machine remains at a claimed 63hp and 220 lbs without fuel.
Husqvarna’s first electric motorcycle just went into production, as such say hello to the Husqvarna EE 5 – an electric dirt bike aimed at young riders.
The 50cc equivalent machine will go on sale in July 2019 worldwide, except in the North American market, where “Autumn 2019” is listed as the expected arrival date.
To that vein, European pricing is set at €5,000 and £4,500, and this should mean a US price of around $5,750 by our calculations.
It feels like the longest rumored machine in KTM’s future lineup. We are of course talking about the KTM 390 Adventure.
The missing link in the Austrian brand’s adventure-touring model range, which we have talked, rumored, and speculated about for well…quite a long time.
About a year ago though, Bajaj SVP and KTM India boss Amit Nandi tipped that we would see the KTM 390 Adventure in 2019. Well, that time is now, and rumors are once again heating up about this small-displacement ADV.
Husqvarna is a sales-driven company. I know this because before our press ride, the (Austrian-owned) Swedish brand spent more time selling us on the company’s staggering sales growth rather than talking about the technical specifics on the new Husqvarna Svartpilen 701.
To that end, sales are good. Very good, in fact. For a point of reference, more Husqvarna motorcycles are being sold now than ever before in the brand’s extensive history, and some of that growth comes from the Husqvarna’s new entry into the street bike realm.
Don’t get me wrong, Husqvarna dirt bikes still out sell the brand’s street bikes by roughly 4:1 when we are talking raw numbers, but the revived company is knocking on close to 50,000 motorcycles sold a year now. That is impressive, no matter how you slice it.
The bike that they hope will push the brand over the 50k mark is the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701, which is the only new model from Husqvarna for the 2019 model year. The Svartpilen 701 is the counterpoint to the Vitpilen 701 that debuted last year, and it continues Husqvarna’s trend of releasing the mirror image machines in various sizes.
As such, the 701 series borrows its platform from the KTM 690 Duke, and its new single-cylinder engine that features dual balancing shafts (one at the crank, the other on the cam).
It is a motor we are quite fond of here at Asphalt & Rubber, so we were intrigued when Husqvarna invited us to Lisbon, Portugal to ride the new Svartpilen 701 – as we wanted to see if this motorcycle was just more than a re-skinned KTM.
The answer to that question is certainly a yes, but with an asterisk. Let me explain.
Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal as we come to our final destination on this three-week European press launch adventure. For this installment, we switch countries of origin, and get ready to hop on the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 street bike.
A sort of street-tracker meets roadster type of bike, the Svartpilen 701 is a unique build from Husqvarna, and it pairs well with the company’s “white arrow” – the Vitpilen 701.
The plan is for us to get to know the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 on the roads outside of Lisbon, riding along the coast for some twisties, touring along the highway, and doing some city miles in the urban jungle of Lisboa.
The route should give us a good idea of what to expect from the Swedish brand’s newest street bike, and to see if it is as fun as Husqvarna would like us to believe.
Here is an interesting move from a motorcycle manufacturer, as Husqvarna is adding a Rekluse auto-clutch to the list of options that can be put on its Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 models.
The unit is very similar to the “Smart Clutch System” that MV Agusta debuted on its Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS model, which effectively eliminates the bike’s ability to stall the engine.
On the MV Agusta model, the Rekluse clutch basically means that the clutch lever is only used for starting the machine, as the Italian bike has an up/down quickshifter installed as well.
That won’t be the case for the Husqvarna models, but the addition of the Rekluse could be a very powerful move from the Swedish brand.