Husqvarna, the red-headed step child of the motorcycling world. Over the last decade Husqvarna has been bought and sold from the likes of MV Agusta, BMW Group, and now has landed under the umbrella of KTM. When KTM purchased Husqvarna from BMW it was met with apprehension by some. Would KTM eventually kill off the brand or would the Husqvarna’s we know and love become KTM’s in a different color. So far KTM has kept the Husqvarna name alive and well, expanding the brands in different directions along the way. While they are sharing platforms and engines, they are doing a great job of expanding the Husqvarna name. Nothing is more proof of this expansion than the introduction of the Vitpilen, the cafe racer of the future.
The Vitpilen was one of the most radical concepts of recent years, revealing that futuristic looks can still carry the cafe racer namesake. But now the Vitpilen has officially been announced for production, making for an exciting new addition to Husqvarna’s lineup. The best part about all of this is the fact that they have unveiled their production worthy bikes. Production bikes that are even more stunning than their concept counterparts.
The Vitpilen will eventually come in a small variety of different engine sizes, but the starting model will be the 401. This means the Vitpilen will utilize the current KTM Duke 390 chassis and engine. This means the little Husky will be fueled by a 375cc single cylinder engine that produces a whopping 44hp. The chassis is comprised of a steel trellis frame equipped with 43mm WP Inverted forks and a WP monoshock at the rear. The Vitpilen will also feature a crisp 320mm four-piston brake up front, as well as a 230mm single-piston out back. This combination has already given the Duke 390 the title of “best lightweight streetbike” from the likes of Cycle World. Not at all a bad platform to start with.
And while it may share the heart of the Duke 390 it definitely has a new soul, one that brings out much more style. When it comes to styling, the Vitpilen channels its inner cafe racer, featuring all the classic styling cues we have become accustomed too. Things like a short stubby tail section, low clip-on style handlebars, and single headlamp are all present. Yet they are all so different from every cafe racer we have seen to date, a feat we should all be excited for.
The Vitpilen’s style is jaw-droppingly good, with every angle complimenting the next. The iconic tail section is squared instead of round, featuring a beautifully integrated tail light. Instead of true clip-ons, the handlebars are a one piece construction, built directly into the top triple tree. And the headlight. Oh, the sweet headlight. This is one area where it seems every builder tries, and fails, to make a unique styling shift from what everyone is accustomed too. Husqvarna hasn’t done that, instead they took what works and ran away with it. The iconic round housing is still there, but this time in a shallower package lined with LED lighting. Where a halogen bulb would rest is now a reversed block of LED lights, giving the Vitpilen the same iconic look with a futuristic upgrade. Function finally meets style.
With the announcement of the production Vitpilen 401 and its scrambler counterpart, the 401 Svartpilen, we have an exciting new bike to look forward to throwing a leg over. Unfortunately we have little to no info on when these Huskies will hit the market, or even how many will be sold. The rumor mill has them circulating anywhere from 2017-2019. hopefully, sooner than later. What we do know is that the Vitpilen is setup to be a smashing success. Not only is it a fabulous bike to ride, but also a gorgeous entry into the future of motorcycling. It’s not a retro throwback, or a tribute to something that has long past. The Vitpilen is the cafe racer of the future, a future that is looking absolutely stunning.