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Vitpilen Street Bikes on The Way from Husqvarna

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Nordic design is interesting, and different, and Husqvarna draws on it heavily with the Vitpilen models. In Milan earlier this week, Husqvarna announced the Vitpilen 401 machines (pictured below) are in production and will “hit the showrooms soon.” Husky also introduced the larger displacement Vitpilen 701 Concept bike, likely also headed for production.

A smaller displacement Vitpilen 125 is also headed for showrooms, although not likely in the U.S. Together, the Vitpilen family shows Husky is committed to the street market.  Here is the press release:

HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLES SOLIDIFIES ITS RETURN TO THE STREET SEGMENT WITH THE PRODUCTION OF TWO NEW MOTORCYCLES FROM THE VITPILEN FAMILY AND THE LAUNCH OF THE VITPILEN 701 CONCEPT BIKE.

Celebrating 112 years of heritage in both the off-road and street motorcycle divisions, Husqvarna Motorcycles has further strengthened their involvement in the street bike motorcycle market with an extended and exciting VITPILEN model range.

With the 701 ENDURO and 701 SUPERMOTO models already launched and warmly received, Husqvarna Motorcycles remains committed to fulfilling its promise for an expanded street model range.

Recognized and globally awarded for its unique design, the Husqvarna VITPILEN 401 is set to hit the showrooms soon. The VITPILEN draws on the iconic Husqvarna Silverpilen street bike of the early ‘50s, combining it with modern technology and premium quality hardware which will be available for sale in the spring of 2017.

An exciting new addition to the VITPILEN family, which will be produced to hit the dealer floors simultaneously with the 401, is the brand new VITPILEN 125. Minimalistic in layout the VITPILEN 125 is also powered by a single-cylinder engine, staying true to all the unique design characteristics of its bigger brother.

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Continuing the brand’s heritage in creating honest and innovative motorcycles that provide highly-enjoyable and inspiring riding experiences Husqvarna Motorcycles is also proud to present the VITPILEN 701 concept model.

Officially unveiled at the 73rd EICMA Worldwide Motorcycle Exhibition the VITPILEN 701 is a real street bike that takes the next step in Husqvarna’s progressive vision of street motorcycling. Without following any industry rules or traditions, it is a bold step into new territory. Each and every part of this new bike concept was deeply questioned and carefully considered.

Inspired by the same unique design approach that runs through the VITPILEN family the Husqvarna VITPILEN 701 is an all-new and all modern large displacement single-cylinder motorcycle. It is a bike created to provide a raw, exhilarating and authentic riding experience.

With the expanded VITPILEN model range reinforcing the brand’s positioning in the street bike segment, Husqvarna Motorcycles will remain faithful to its own vision for building honest, state-of-the-art motorcycles.

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Vitpilen 401 models

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70 Comments

  1. Curly says:

    These designs remind me of what we were told “Bikes of the Future” would look like back in the 60’s. Google the image of an American Eagle Renegade and you’ll see what I mean. Reworked Garelli KL150 based on a Laverda 125 that didn’t sell.

  2. RD350 says:

    I dont love the looks, but I dont hate them either. I love this for what it is … a cafe racer built around the wonderful KTM 690 Single. That is always a good thing. The possibilities for customization of this bike are endless. Or, it could be a great track day fun bike (for short tracks)

  3. Gillmartin says:

    Ok, I realize it’s probably the least important aspect of the bike, but how does one pronounce “Vitpilen”, exactly? VIT-pill-en, vit-PILL-en, vit-PILE-en, or something more Swedish, perhaps?
    Inquiring minds, etc…

  4. Norm G. says:

    wonky…

  5. Gary says:

    Sorry, don’t see the appeal of any of these, and would be suprised if they actually sell in any numbers. Could be wrong, but we will see… maybe.

  6. Don says:

    Except for that bit of yellow “highlighter”, I like the 701 a lot. I already liked both incarnations of the 401. I look forward to seeing the production models.

  7. Andrew1500 says:

    Looks like Craig Vetter designed these in 1973.

  8. waitman says:

    With all due respect and at the risk of invoking an inquisition, please allow me to explain something. I drew some ire in the discussions of the Victory “Ignition” concept. Some was deserved, (imho) some was not. I (eventually) acknowledged my self-generated false expectations. Now, please allow me to explain my position.

    I simply want manufacturers to build what they “conceptualize.” Take this 701 Husky Vitpilen for example. I dare Husqvarna to add the bare minimum systems to make this bike legal as a production model that I can buy and ride and enjoy, and sell it to me! Please don’t show me this really cool (I allow that’s a matter of opinion) motorcycle and get me all lathered-up and then make the production version a cake-eater that only barely resembles the concept.

    All I ask is for bike makers to “grow a pair”. Please, somebody just build a product that is what you show us in concept. If the concept is your best shot then why do you dumb it down for us? Can we not handle the artistic design? Are we incapable of understanding the depth of the designer’s soul?

    I really don’t need to be told that I am unreasonable and/or told to “calm down”. I am not a raging maniac. I am, simply, a 66 year-old motorcycle enthusiast that has tired of seeing the somewhat recent practice of manufacturers telling us great things are coming our way and then giving us a production version that only mimics the original concept.

    I have owned a 1969 Harley XLCH (sorry but it was a start), a 1979 Honda CBX, a 1982 Suzuki GS1000SZ (Hans Muth Katana), a 1986 Suzuki GSXR750, a 1996 Suzuki GSXR750 and a 1998 Yamaha R1. None of these bikes was ever presented as anything but what it became. I knew what was coming and I was either on-board or not. I wish I still had them all in my garage.

    The problem present-day is that the Marketing Folks have taken control of the real experts within every American business and the motorcycle industry is not immune. It’s become a game of mysterious hype to generate interest and then an attitude that nobody will notice that what we promised is not what we delivered.

    But I do notice and I know you do too. It shouldn’t be a guessing game. We are enthusiasts. We will support honest product development and buy what we’ve been promised. And if it’s not what we’ve been promised we should be offended.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I honestly wish everyone agreed with me but I really don’t care if you do or don’t.

    I hope this (if you wish) manifesto inspires some positive interchange between those on this forum and not just sniping and misdirected meanness. If it’s just babble then I apologize and will go back into my cave.

    • sbashir says:

      Which bikes have you owned since 1998?

      • waitman says:

        sbashir: until abt 3 months ago I still owned the ’96 gixxer. I gifted it to the son of a dear friend. I have not purchased anything in the last 2 decades. I am still waiting for the right bike. I do, however, stay informed.

    • mickey says:

      A few years ago Suzuki showed a concept bike at all the shows which somehow recieved glowing reviews and the typical ” build it just like that and we will buy it”. Suzuki did, and I think they sold 1/2 dozen of them nationwide. It was called the BKING.

      Motorcyclists are a fickle lot, and even though we say we want something just like a concept, but when it comes down to pulling money out of pockets or bank accts or loans with interest, we are not so quick to react. Then there the always ” never buy a first year model, let the bugs get worked out theory” and the ” never buy new, wait a year and buy a low miles used model and let someone else take the depreciation hit” theory, all of which work against bringing out actual concept models, because the first year a bike is in production, the sales numbers don’t meet post show expectations.

      • waitman says:

        mickey: I totally understand and (mostly) agree with you. I would not have chosen the B-King as my example though. Yes, cosmetically (general appearance-wise) the production version was damn near a clone. However, mechanically it was quite different. We could get into a debate about numbers but suffice it to say, 240hp supercharged is a bit different than 165hp normally aspirated.

        I guess my problem is not that the production bike may turn out to be a neutered version (certainly 165hp is not puny). But maybe that the concept is so outlandish that it sparks overzealous response and delusions of grandeur from those susceptible (me) in the motorcycling public. The solution is for me to either accept reality or ask bike makers to stop teasing us with bikes they know they are not going to make.

        Obvious conclusion: I must accept reality.

        I have beaten this dead horse long enough. I’m done. (sigh of relief, eh?)

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I love the design of all three of these bikes, but I also realize the design of each is probably very polarizing. That said, I hope all three of the bikes are introduced as close to concept as possible.

      My hopes might be for naught, though, as I’ve seen spy shots of the Vitpilen undergoing testing. And while a test mule doesn’t always look like the final product either, this test mules looks a like a warmed over 390 Duke with only a few elements taken from the Vitpilen concept. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for something truer to concept, but it doesn’t look good.

    • azi says:

      You’re being unreasonable and need to calm down 😉

      But in all seriousness I like your taste in bikes. I’ve also had a 1982 Katana, and currently ride a 1998 GSXR750 SRAD.

      As additional examples: Yamaha lucked out with their GTS1000, and the response to the CB1100 is probably more tepid than what Honda had hoped, so I don’t blame the manufacturers for being timid during a fragile time of world economic recovery. “Concept designs” may also just be a material exploration of a designer conceit, conducted independent of real-world production considerations. Displaying them in a show can be considered a two-way “interactive social engagement”, rather than being framed as a more aggressive one-way marketing “hype”.

    • Ninja9r says:

      True. I was waiting on the Suzuki Boost King but corporate refused to grow a pair and gave us the watered down version.

    • Half Baked says:

      Unfortunately neither the motorcycle industry nor any other industry is concerned about what your product requirements are. You are simply to far removed from the demographic target these companies aim for. So you’ve got a long wait and you might try decaf.

      • Waitman says:

        Thanks for dumbing it down for me and putting me in my place Half Baked. Oh, the decaf idea is ok but my present drug of choice is Prozac. If you would, please note that I “quit beating this dead horse” 2 days ago. This was meant to be an acknowledgement that I recognized I had ranted too long. Your “calming down” advice is appreciated but I thought I had made it clear that I had decided to cease comment. Maybe I should have dumbed it down so you’d have understood(?). Peace my Friend.

        • Half Baked says:

          Although my comment was decidedly terse and to some extent cynical it was not in any way dumbed down and I’m not sure how you could interpret it that way. As to your frank assessment of my intelligence your intentions were clear.

          • Waitman says:

            Actually Half Baked, your comment was totally cynical and, unlike you, I will directly address your comments. I am weary of snipers that sit back and wait for others to express honest opinions about the topics presented by Dirck and then fire off rounds aimed at trying to humiliate and make the opinion-contributor feel stupid. Tell us all what you think about the presented topical material. Please don’t tell us what you think about the previous person’s comments (unless they were unfairly or without provocation directed at YOU). My comments were not directed at YOU. My comments NOW ARE directed at YOU because that’s the way you seem to think this sh*t’s supposed to go down. I tried (2 days ago) to rid myself and all of the participants in this forum of my admitted onerous and over-discussed handling of the original topic. YOU seem not to have been satisfied with my admission of over-discussion by informing me that I, as a consumer, am irrelevant and that I should drink decaf. Don’t insult me to make yourself feel important. Instead, give us all the benefit of your very intelligent comments on the TOPICS. Personal attacks don’t advance the cause. You’re better than that!

    • GKS says:

      I believe that your view of all concepts being shown should be implemented is a bit off the mark.
      Concept vehicles seen at major auto and motorcycle shows are often not pre-production or prototypes, but simply a designers vision of what the future MAY hold. These visions may or may not be technologically feasible, or clear financial or regulatory hurdles. Many of these ideas may be dead ends, but some do make to production thanks to engineering efforts developing a designers vision.
      I think that there may have been a book published which was a compilation of many of the wild concept cars of the 50s and 60s. It would be interesting to go through that to see what made it into production.

      • Waitman says:

        Thank you also for setting me straight GKS.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        In fairness, all three bikes pictured above, with the exception of bodywork, are units currently in production. It isn’t a picture of what the future may hold. It is a picture of what the present can hold right now. This is no longer a vision, but a solution. What Husky/KTM is doing now is determining how many people asked the question and how much of their answer fits within that context of what their target market really wants the bike to do and look like. That is what will ultimately determine how close the finished product will resemble these concepts.

    • Random says:

      I feel your pain. I have been waiting for something like the Suzuki Nuda since 1985.

      Be it marketing, bean-counter or engineering folks someone thought the translation of the concepts into existing road bikes would not be profitable or possible.

      Sometimes I can even understand them. I previously thought Honda’s CB 1100 R (the faired one) concept would sell like hotcakes, until I saw CB 1100’s sales.

      • mickey says:

        Just out of curiosity (since I can’t find the info anywhere), exactly how many CB 1100’s did Honda sell? And how many did they project selling?

    • Half Baked says:

      I don’t read your comments they’re too wordy so I don’t have any idea what you said except that you were complaining wildly about something.

  9. John says:

    I like the 401 concept much better. The 701 looks like a bad home made product.

    But it’s the Svartpilen that is really most appetizing.

  10. Ryan says:

    Awesome! Finally, big thumpers!!! want one of each..so sick of Japanese anything lately

  11. Frank says:

    Nice, clean, fresh and unique. Distinctive, functional, urban industrial chic. That’s it, I’m out of adjectives.

  12. Ron H. says:

    What… no beak or downward front end?

  13. Provologna says:

    I love every one of them, especially the 701. The styling is unique but still works, very well indeed.

  14. todd says:

    I’d take either the 401 or the 701, especially the 401 if it’s less expensive. They’d work great for me for commuting and fun.

  15. Stuki Moi says:

    Suzuki’s reintroduction of the SV650, at likely half the price of the 701, will almost inevitably render the Husky a bit of a connoisseurs bike. But if rumors about KTM ditching further LC4 development in favor of yet another boring midweight twin turns out to be true, the last, and best, of the proud lineage may turn out to be a real classic. Both the new Duke and this Husky looks to be great rides.

    • Artem says:

      I suppose that Suzuki was first firm to show that V-engine is not that much.
      In terms of calculating stress forces it is nearly the same. Add degrees (45,60,90 or so).
      I do not know about technology. Didn’t see it. Inline engine watercool technology is rather complicated.
      Several horizontal cuts in test block. Something like this.

  16. My2cents says:

    Double fugly

  17. notarollingroadblock says:

    Hmmm. That cherry red Benelli Leoncino isn’t looking so good now…

  18. nickst4 says:

    Just a question to Management: Why do we always have that pic of a sunset tropical beach stuck in the prose? It ain’t active, and I can’t spot the relevance!

  19. nickst4 says:

    Time was when a big single was a handsome engine! Think Gold Star and Manx Norton. These days, from the Yamaha 660 onwards, they are really ugly. No shape at all, and festooned with leads and pipes due to water-cooling and various electronics.

    I might have kept my MZ 660 Skorpion if the grotty-looking Yam motor in the Tour had been covered like the Traveller version. Same goes for the Husky and the KTM. Lets have less power and more fins! OK, so it wouldn’t be Euro-compliant…

    • Stuki Moi says:

      I like the looks of the LC4 in real life. It’s stark, and obviously a tool for making power. I find KTM’s LC8 twins look really good, in the same vein, as well. They’re not visual works of art the way air cooled Harley and CB1100 engines are, but they still have a certain something, that compliments the rest of the bikes’ traits.

  20. Skybullet says:

    Wow! Finally a contemporary style that looks clean and functional. KTM/HUSQVARNA is on the right track for my money. Now if they just offer a 800cc to 1290cc twin I will trade in my SMT. SMT style ergos would be preferable too.

  21. mickey says:

    There is a Vitpilin family of street Husky’s? How have I been into motorcycling for 50 years and are just now hearing of them? (scratching head)

    Btw the reply, report and edit are on top of each other on my ipad. I just reported my own post while trying to correct puncuation lol

  22. GP says:

    In the US, if a street bike does not have at least 2 cylinders, it is dead on the showroom floor.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      Traditionally, you really needed 2+ to comfortably do the kind of freeway droning most bikes in the US end up having to do, regardless of what they were theoretically bought for. You also needed 750cc+. With the increased power density of current engines, both in terms of cylinders and ccs, new possibilities are opening up.

      • GP says:

        I understand that engine power density is increasing, albeit very slowly, but I still believe that singles will remain a tough sell in the US. I believe that lightweight, twin cylinder enduro bikes would be a more active market – like the Aprilia RXV 450/550’s. The idea just needs more refinement (to get away from Aprilia’s ridiculous maintenance schedules and grenade-like motors).

  23. Grover says:

    The 701 looks interesting. 125 would be a total flop in the USA, especially at HUSKY prices.

    • Provologna says:

      If the 125 came to the USA, it “would be a total flop,” but it won’t (per the article), so it won’t be.

  24. jimmihaffa says:

    Kidding aside, the Enduro version looks interesting. Not sure if a 125cc 4-stroke motor is adequate in this sort of machine.

  25. Tom R says:

    Will that air filter suckle on my thigh as I ride?

    Kinda hope so.

  26. Jeremy in TX says:

    “Nordic design is interesting, and different…”

    It is indeed, and I am definitely drawn too it. The more I look at these bikes, the more I like them. I am surprised (but delighted as a Husky fan) that KTM is putting some effort into Husqvarna and also apparently giving them quite a bit of latitude to define what the Husqvarna brand should mean.

    My assumption had always been that Husky was acquired to slowly but ultimately eliminate a competitor rather than call up a phoenix. It seems I was very wrong. Good luck, Husqvarna.

  27. TimC says:

    So they asked IKEA to name this thing

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      lol!

    • jimmihaffa says:

      Tim, you’re confusing Vitpilen with Vittpilen, the latter being the 4-tier toilet roll holder I believe you’re thinking of.

    • Ran says:

      The positive will be that you will only need the one included Allen wrench to do all maintenance on the bike.*

      *unfortunately, there will be one missing bolt in the box that will prevent full assembly of the bike.

    • peter h says:

      Read Husqvarna history. Still, not bad, and if it comes knocked down in a cardboard box – all the better.

  28. Kevin C says:

    I really like these bikes. I wish KTM would bump the 401 (375cc) to 450 to match the S&T (Hyosung) GD450. a bike with 50 hp and 350lbs gassed (with at least 4 US gallons) would be a blast!

  29. Dicky Moe says:

    “… set to hit the showrooms soon.”

    Translation: not coming out in 2016, but please keep talking about it!