The Husqvarna 701 Supermoto is leading the way as one of the very best bikes in 2017, and that’s going against a lot of new motorcycles. The platform was a smashing success in 2016 and now with one single change, it is back and better than ever.
The 701 Supermoto has captivated riders all over the world with its willingness to do everything and anything you throw at it. Going for a ride on the freeway? Don’t worry, the 701’s got you. Want to pretend you are the best stunter in the world in a barren parking lot? 701 to the rescue. Want to canyon carve and make your buddy feel bad about his skills on his 600 Supersport? The 701 will lead the charge to your friend’s humility.
It really is the perfect one quiver bike. And now it’s even better. Last year’s 701 had an engine that was designed for the 2012 KTM Duke. Even with a slightly dated engine the 701 still wowed anyone willing to jump on it. Now the 2017 701 features a new 693cc power plant that is here to knock your socks off. The all new engine is still shared with the KTM Duke 690 but that isn’t a bad thing. The new plant boasts both more horsepower and torque, all while producing fewer vibrations.
With a new redline of 9,500rpm you would think that would make the big single hand numbing at speed. But with the addition of a second balancer shaft that is no longer a problem. And the fuel injection is spot on dialed now as well. This helps reduce jerkiness when you are dragging knees in a canyon, and it also helps throttle controlling wheelies. If that doesn’t have you convinced maybe the fact that the 701 is putting out 72 peak horsepower and 54ft-lbs of torque will. While the entire package is impressive, the new engine absolutely shines the light onto the 701.
The chassis has gone unchanged from last year. The frame is a steel trellis unit, similar to the kind you would find on a Ducati. The cool part is the actual frame is very lightweight at only 18.5lbs. With that there is a 3.4-gallon tank inside the subframe and an air box mounted neatly under the seat. This offers a seat height of just 35 inches, which isn’t bad for a bike in this class. And the entire package weighs just 320lbs dry.
The suspension was designed by WP and allows for 8.5inches of travel up front and just shy of 10-inches in the back. Both the forks and the shock are fully adjustable and the entire package offers over 10-inches of ground clearance. For a bike with street tires on it that isn’t bad at all. Finishing off the package is a pair of 17inch spoke laced rims shod in Continental ContiAttack Supermoto tires. Having ridden ContiAttacks before I can tell you they offer a good amount of grip for the money and the best part is, they warm up super fast. There is no need to wait real long before you start hooning around on these rubbers!
The 701 should absolutely be at the top of the short list of bikes to buy if you are a city rider. The upright geometry allows the rider to be very comfortable and in control. With the wide bars and lightweight chassis the 701 becomes an urban ninja, carving through cityscapes as fast as your skills will take you. For those that are fortunate enough to live where lane splitting is legal(which should be everywhere, but I digress), the 701 is the bike you have been looking for. At filtering speeds its agility is unparalleled by any modern 600cc bike. On top of that no city obstacle is too big for the 701 to handle. It quite honestly will take all curbs, bumps, potholes, and evasive maneuvers and keep you smiling while doing it.
And once you finally escape the concrete jungle and find yourself in canyon territory the 701 doesn’t fall on its face. Instead it charges ahead accepting its newest challenge. The chassis seems sorted regardless of what you are putting it through, at least to a reasonable degree. The 320mm disc, 4-pot Brembo combo up front really help slow down the 701 from its 130mph top speed, although it sounds like it could benefit from a set of stainless steel brake lines for better feel. The 240mm rear brake is damn near perfect to help promote supermoto slides as well as bail you out of those ridiculous 12 O’clock wheelies you can’t stop doing.
The verdict is simple. Unless you are only riding long distance, the 701 could possibly be the perfect bike for you. It can do everything from commuting to the canyon and back. The worst parts of owning a 701? Besides losing your license from too many wheelie tickets, it would have to be the fact that you no longer have the excuse to buy a second bike. Check out last years promo video and see for yourself.