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.
For the past 17 runnings of the Dakar Rally, one name has stood above all the others in the motorcycle class: KTM.
Now with another victory in the most grueling motorcycle race on earth, the Austrian brand can add race win #18 to the tally, thanks to factory rider Toby Price.
Crossing the finish line Lima, Peru today, Price was clear of his nearest rival (last year’s winner, Matthias Walkner) by a comfortable margin of 9 minutes 13 seconds.
With three KTM bikes in the Top 3, and the Top 5 consisting of only KTM and Husqvarna brand machines, the Austrian conglomerate can rest easy in 2019 after securing another year of its legacy, but don’t mistake this year’s edition of the race as a blowout.
The future of Ducati seems to be always up in the air, especially with Volkswagen AG’s constant back-and-forth when it comes to selling the motorcycle brand.
The German’s latest attempt to sell Ducati may have faltered in the boardroom, but there is new reason to believe that acquisition talks could be started for Ducati, as KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has expressed interest in owning the Italian motorcycle company.
Talking to German-language publication Speedweek, Pierer expressed his interest in adding Ducati to his stable of motorcycle marques, and floated some ideas on how Ducati could fit into KTM’s overall two-wheeled strategy.
His thoughts are…interesting, to say the least.
Do you have an interest in shaping the future of the motorcycle industry, and playing an integral part in deciding what new motorcycles come to market? Well, here is your chance.
Our friends at KISKA sent over this job position opening, in the hopes that there is an Asphalt & Rubber reader out there that wants to be part of the future for the KTM and Husqvarna brands.
Another established manufacturer is signaling its electrification, this time with the OEM being Husqvarna Motorcycles. The Swedish brand is tied in ownership to KTM, which has its own EV program, so perhaps the news isn’t that shocking, but nevertheless, here we are.
As such, you can expect the first electric Husqvarna dirt bike to come during the 2020 model year, as the Husqvarna EE 5 was put on display at this year’s EICMA show.
The motorcycle is a bold step forward, though not a big one, as the 2020 Husqvarna EE 5 is designed with young riders in mind.
Every year at EICMA, Husqvarna teases us with a concept model that could become a future motorcycle. This is how the Vitpilen and Svartpilen models got their start, and now we see the second “Aero” model from the Swedish brand.
Last year we saw the Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 Aero concept, and now this year we see the 701 variant of the design. As such, the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 Aero concept continues some of the design trends that we have seen before, with of course a bigger motor in its belly.
I had to go back and lookup when we first saw the Svartpilen 701 from Husqvarna, because even though it was only a year ago…that time seems like an eternity.
Maybe it is because of Husqvarna’s measured pace with its street bikes, maybe it is the design overlap between the 401 and 701 models, or maybe it is because we have wanted to see what this retro-modern flat tracker was going to look like after the lawyers had their way with it.
The answer is probably all of the above, but it doesn’t really matter. The 2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 is ready for your two-wheeled consumption.
It’s that time of the year again, where Christmas comes early to the motorcycle industry, and we get to see all the new motorcycles that will be coming for the next model year, and beyond.
For the 2019 model year, we expect to see new models debuting at the INTERMOT, AIMExpo, and EICMA trade shows, which are in Cologne, Las Vegas, and Milan.
With things kicking off in Germany next week, we thought we would put together a guide for all the new motorcycles that we expect to see in the coming weeks. There are a bevy of new models that we know will be released at these three trade shows, and there are more than a few rumors of new bikes as well, which may surprise us.
Without wasting anymore time, let’s get down to it. We have broken down the new models and rumors by each manufacturer. Enjoy!