Cross a KTM Duke 125 with a Husky Svartpilen 401 and this is what you get

Husqvarna expanded its burgeoning Svartpilen lineup downward with the addition of the entry-level “125” model, the smallest in the family. A 125 cc thumper drives a rugged machine that has clear urban DNA with a dual-sport bent. The lightweight and narrow-waisted 125 both enables and encourages the use of body English so you can practice and get accustomed to shifting around on a bike. For our friends in areas with tiered learner’s permits, the 125 comes “A1” compliant right off the showroom floor to make it even more accessible for younger riders.

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 Design

  • Rugged styling
  • LED lighting and daytime running lights
  • Premium fit-and-finish
  • Blackout treatment
2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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While some of the larger Svartpilen models qualify as neo-café racers of sorts, the 125 is more akin to a little neo-scrambler instead. The runt of the litter as it were, the Svartpilen 125 rolls on laced rims that set the stage for the dual-surface nature of the rest of the build.

A bobbed front fender leads the way in keeping with long-standing, classic custom-racing practice. It pairs quite nicely with the dual coverage out back in the swingarm-mount forward hugger and single-side rear hugger that contribute to the racebike-like look. The headlight is all business as well with an LED projector and DRL ring that ensure that you can see and be seen, night and day. Blackout treatment starts in the rims and extends to all points North in the chassis with the exception of the machine-finished tripleclamp and passenger footpeg mounts to give this “Black Arrow” a bona fide dark streak.

The 2.5-gallon fuel tank makes for a subtle bump in the flyline, and like the rest of the Svartpilen lineup, it comes with the stubby winglets that set it well apart from the rest of the field. A tiny little stock luggage rack tops the tank to give you a bit of built-in cargo capacity.

Down below, a stock bash plate protects the exhaust-header downtube where it makes the turn to run aft to the upswept silencer that holds itself up and well clear of the terrain. The rear end is bobbed in keeping with the prevalent design, so short that it leaves room for only the bravest of passengers. An LED taillight joins the back blinkers and taglight to finish off the rearward lighting.

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 Chassis

  • Robot-welded Trellis frame
  • Eager in the corners
  • Nimble handling
  • Bosch ABS
2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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Tubular-steel members make up the robot-welded Trellis frame on the Svartpilen 125 that strikes an aggressive tone right out of the gate. With a 25-degree rake angle and light, 336-pound approximate wet weight, it’s eager to dive into the curves and quick to flick back the other way.

WP supplies the suspension with 43 mm, open-cartridge forks up front and an APEX Monoshock out back, all on 5.6 inches of travel that will allow the 125 to perform on the roughest of roads and in light terrain. Laced wheels round out the rolling chassis with blackout treatment all over its 17-inch rims, spokes, and hubs to tie in nicely with the the monochromatic treatment visited on the rest of the machine. As a result of the suspension travel and 5.7 inches of ground clearance, the seat rides at a somewhat lofty 32.9 inches off the deck which is gonna’ be tiptoe country for a lot of us, for sure.

The calipers are all from ByBre – a Brembo subsidiary that specializes in low-displacement motorcycles and scooters (literally “By Brembo”) – with a four-pot, opposed-piston anchor up front and a single-piston caliper out back. Braking leverage is provided by the 320 mm front disc and 230 mm rear, and you can count on the safety and peace of mind provided by the twin-channel Bosch 10.1 MG ABS feature that comes with the stock equipment package. I can’t even ding Husqvarna for the single front brake as that’s plenty of brakeage for the weight it has to control.

Frame: Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Front suspension/ Travel: WP Apex 43/ 5.6 inches
Rear suspension/ Travel: WP Apex – monoshock/ 5.6 inches
Steering head angle: 65 °
Front brake: 320 mm disc, Bybre, opposed four-piston caliper
Rear brake: 230 mm disc, Bybre, single-piston, floating caliper
ABS: two channel Bosch 10.1MB

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled 125 cc single-cylinder engine
  • 14.7 horsepower
  • Nice power-to-weight ratio
  • Bosch EMS
2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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A liquid-cooled thumper takes care of business with 14.7 horsepower on tap for a top speed right around 75 mph. Technically that’s enough for interstate work, though I’d feel better with another 10 mph for roll-on at speed, personally me. The 58 mm bore and 47.2 mm stroke puts the displacement at 125 cc . Engine control falls to the Bosch EMS, and that’s about the closest the 125 comes to higher electronics. At this displacement and price point, it’s unsurprising that it rolls with the essentials and little else. I’d argue that makes it even more suitable as an entry-level machine.

A six-speed transmission helps you keep the engine in its usable power band, and the final drive is a tough o-ring chain-and-sprocket setup. Yeah, you can probably guess that it likes to be wound up tighter than Dick’s hatband, but that’s the way it is with thumpers. At least it comes with a balance shaft that takes a lot of sting out of the zing. This engine meets or exceeds EU-5 emissions standards.

Engine: Liquid-cooled single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 125 cc
Bore x Stroke: 58 mm x 47.2 mm
Power: 14.7 hp (11 kw)
Starter: electric starter
EMS: Bosch EMS
Lubrication: forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Chain: X-ring 5/8 x 1/4"

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 Price

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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Looks like the Svartpilen 125 will debut in the German market this year for €5,150 ($5,873 U.S.). This is one of those models that could be destined ne’er to darken the door of a U.S. dealership, but time will tell, and Husqvarna might just surprise us.

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 Competitors

2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
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2017 - 2019 Suzuki VanVan 200
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2017 - 2020 Honda Grom
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2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen125
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There are no shortage of 125 cc models from which to choose. The Kawasaki Z 125 PRO, Honda Grom, and even the Suzuki VanVan 200 all fall more or less under the same umbrella, none of which match the panache that Husqvarna brings to the table. That said, I choose the Kawi for its sportbike-left-in-the-dryer-too-long looks and newbie-accessibility to carry the torch for the genre.

Kawasaki Z 125PRO

2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Z125 PRO
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Inverted forks, cyclops headlight, and bikini flyscreen lead the way ahead of abbreviated cheek fairings and small chin fairing that leave little to the imagination and lets the engine peeks out everywhere. Kawi passes on the dramatic winglets that decorate the Svartpilen’s tank, opting instead for the more-common flange ahead and above a deep knee recess.

One thing you can count on with both models, your passenger is going to be very aware of how trimmed-down the subframe really is and how close their butt is to disaster. Oh well, what ya gonna do, right?

Kawi’s air-cooled thumper is a bit simpler without the water jacket, pump, radiator, and all, and is rated for 7.1 pound-feet of torque. That last is a problem for Kawi against the 8.8 pounds o’ grunt from the Husqvarna, though the $3,299 sticker might buy it some goodwill from the entry-level market.

Read our full review of the Kawasaki Z 125 PRO.

He Said

“Gotta say, Husqvarna has a unique look going on around its “Arrow” models, so much so that a visual competitor wasn’t really possible, but that’s a good thing to be sure. I probably wouldn’t be a good fit for this littlest Svartpilen, but I do appreciate the looks of the thing. Now as for riding one of its bigger brothers, I wouldn’t be opposed. Wink-nudge.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This is Husqvarna’s version of the KTM Duke 125. It’s the Duke frame and the same 125 cc engine just wrapped in Svartpilen 401 clothing. With the 125 cc engine, you’ll get plenty of practice shifting, as there’s very little power so you move through the gears to stay in the useful powerband. That’s not a dig, that’s just the way it is. Though if you’re talking small displacement, KTM succeeds in getting better performance out of a 125 than those in the past. If you tried a 125 cc bike years ago and snubbed your nose, you might want to give a modern version a try. It’s a very solid bike. Handling is sharp and precise, so you’re in for a fun ride. I’ve always maintained that it’s so much more fun riding a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow.”

2021 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine
Displacement: 125 cc
Bore x Stroke: 58 mm x 47.2 mm
Power: 14.7 hp (11 kw)
Starter: electric starter
EMS: Bosch EMS
Lubrication: forced oil lubrication with 2 oil pumps
Transmission: 6-speed
Chain: X-ring 5/8 x 1/4"
Chassis:
Frame: Steel trellis frame, powder coated
Front suspension/ Travel: WP Apex 43/ 5.6 inches
Rear suspension/ Travel: WP Apex – monoshock/ 5.6 inches
Steering head angle: 65 °
Front brake: 320 mm disc, Bybre, opposed four-piston caliper
Rear brake: 230 mm disc, Bybre, single-piston, floating caliper
ABS: two channel Bosch 10.1MB
Dimensions & Capacities:
Seat height: 32.9 inches (835 mm)
Ground clearance: 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Weight (without fuel): 321.9 lbs (146 kg)
Tank capacity (approx.): 2.5 glas (9.5 l)

Further Reading

Husqvarna

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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: husqvarna-motorcycles.com, kawasaki.com

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