2018 is here. And these top dogs are heading our way
Aspirin taken, ate some food, drank that much-needed water and took a hot shower. Hangover time is over and getting my head around the fact that I have to wake up early to work depressed me at first. But luckily the excitement brought with the launch of these new machines means we and I get to see them on our roads pretty soon, and I cannot wait to unveil the secrets they behold.
Unveiled at the back end of 2017, these hot machines give new life goals and expectations, not just for riders, but also to other manufacturers giving them no option but to up their game as well. Thanks to this, competition keeps getting hotter by the day, and we are ultimately rewarded with machines that beam innovation and technology.
Here are the top picks that are touted to take the market by storm in 2018:
If 2016-17 were the years of the Cafe-Racers, 2018-19 are for the Street Trackers
Looking at what customers were making out of their products in the last couple of years, manufacturers forayed into satisfying the current wave of enthusiasts wanting custom and classic motorbikes. Café-Racers, Bobbers and the lot.
Visually powerful, intellectually elegant and above all, timeless. They became a cornucopia of sorts for people wanting a machine that could take them back in time and re-live the classic age.
With the winters settled, and the holiday season excitingly close, the motorcycle industry has already set the pace for the next couple of years by showcasing bonkers designs and products that will take on our roads pretty soon.
Luckily, there is one more breed of the ‘Classics’ amidst those. The makers have already shown appreciation to them and will head to production pretty soon. It’s what they as the Street Trackers.
Husqvarna has a darker nemesis called the Svartipilen 701
Gallery: 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 - in the details
Formed in 1689, the Swedish Husqvarna were into firearms manufacturing and other metal items like sewing machines. Then in 1903, the company built its first motorcycle using imported engines and by 1919 they were making their own ones.
They have introduced their new ’Street Models’ that will hit the roads in the summer of ’18 and the first one will be the Svartipilen 701. Designed to strike, this machine has pure and progressive styling cues from the future. It gets sleek and aggressive bodywork forming clean lines and carries a unique single element body panel.
The internal organs and the bone structure of this bike remain similar to the KTM Duke 690 including the engine, trellis frame, complete with the alloy swing arm and WP inverted telescopic front forks and Brembo braking systems.
The 693cc single puts out 74 horses and 53 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the 370 lbs wet bike to the stratosphere. Throttle by wire, switchable two-channel ABS and slipper clutch gets borrowed from the brand’s famous enduro models.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 finally enters production
Since the time Husqvarna showcased its ‘Real Street’ Vitpilen 401 and the Swartipilen 401 concepts at the 2014 EICMA, the industry is abuzz to see some bonkers design unlike anything seen before on the streets. The following year saw the Vitpilen 701 concept showcased at EICMA and it wasn’t until this year that we get to see the production models for 2018.
This Vitplilen 701 will be the first of the Husqvarna’s ‘Real Street’ motorcycle lineup that is headed to bring in the Swedish company’s name into the world stage followed by the Vitpilen 401, Swartipilen 401 and Swartipilen 701.
Husqvarna Reveals The Pilen 701 Pair At EICMA
A while back, Husqvarna teased us with a couple of concept bikes that moves the Swedish manufacturer onto decidedly-firmer ground; the blacktop. Well, at this year’s Milan show, Husky revealed the final, production-ready version of its Vitpilen 701 streetbike and brought its concept for a 701 Svartpilen. In the Pilen 701 pair, the Vit is a bit of a cafe’ and the Svart looks like a cool little flat tracker or scrambler-esque fun bike, a big brother to the existing 401.
Continue reading for more on the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 and Svartpilen 701 at Milan.
The fate of the new Husqvarna street models has been etched.
Since the time Husqvarna showcased its ‘Real Street’ Vitpilen 401 and the Swartipilen 401 concepts at the 2016 EICMA, the industry is abuzz to see some bonkers design unlike anything seen before on the streets. Ready to bring in the Swedish company’s name on the world stage, there were still speculations of where they will be made since Husqvarna is owned by KTM - a company that has the Indian Bajaj Auto making the small Dukes and RC bikes for them.
Clearing the air, both Bajaj and KTM have released a joint press release and have confirmed that they intend to make the 401 models right here in India sometime in 2018 and sell them worldwide. Until then, however, the bikes will begin life back home in Austria.
KTM Delivers One-Two Punch At Pikes Peak International Hillclimb
KTM and Kawasaki were represented in the top four finishes in the Heavyweight Motorcycle division at the 95th running of the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Spring, Colorado, but it was KTM’s [1290 Super Duke R->mot5233 that delivered the one-two punch by taking first and second place, as well as fourth place. Chris Fillmore, an in-house racer for KTM, made a record-setting climb of 9.49.265 to beat the previous record held by Carlin Dunne set in 2013. All-in-all, it was an excellent day of racing for KTM and the 2017 Super Duke R.
Continue reading for more on the race.
No, he wasn’t doing bad things; he was doing good things. Husqvarna just announced its brand-new brand ambassador, and it’s none other than AMA Hall of Famer, Jeff Emig. Mr. Emig will be familiar to anyone who watched motocross racing through the ’90s, and he is widely regarded as a fierce competitor who is fearless entering the first turn, but whose career was cut short by back-to-back injuries in late ’99 and early 2000.
Continue reading for more about Jeff Emig and Husky.
For 2016, Husqvarna brings back the FE 450 and FE 501 along with its street-legal brother, the FE 501 S, with improvements and enhancements — some of which come from the benefit of sharing the R&D field with KTM. Revised front-end geometry improves handling and lots of weight-reduction changes — while each one not very significant, but they add up to a weight savings in total.
New brakes, an updated DDS clutch, and an engine and suspension tuned for enduro use make the FE 450 and FE 501 a winning pair off-road. With a standard map switch, you can match engine mapping to the terrain, conditions and your riding style.
Continue reading for my review of the 2015 Husqvarna FE 450, FE 501 and FE 501 S.
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto and the KTM-owned brand hasn’t been shy about touting its supermotobike to the public. Over the past few months, we’ve seen Husqvarna launch a dedicated microsite for the 701 and release a promotional video of the bike running roughshod over a makeshift track on the surface of a frozen lake in Sweden. Now, Husky’s taking it one step further with the release of a new promo video of its new supermoto bike stretching its legs in its natural habitat: a race track.
The video shows the 701 completely at home in this element, taking any semblance of stunt riding out of the equation. The bike looks quick, agile, and totally in control of its surroundings and it’s a little rewarding to see it navigate around the track with aplomb, hitting apexes with ease and executing perfect lean angles on corners. It’s the kind of environment that the 701 was built for. Watching and listening to it run around the track is already giving me goosebumps on what it can do when it lines up against other 450cc bikes in actual competition.
I can’t tell at this point how the 701 Supermoto will do against its rivals, but judging from this new video alone, I’d be very confident in its chances, weight issues notwithstanding.
Continue reading to read more about the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto.
Husqvarna approached the 2016 model year like it had something to prove, and maybe it does. The company survived a schism in 1987 when MV Agusta bought the “Husky” name, and the core designers split off to form Husaberg in 1988. After passing through a few hands, the Husqvarna name and the Husaberg designers reunited in 2013 under the Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH banner. Enter the 2016 FC 450. It comes chock full of tweaks and changes that improve upon the 2015 model, which was a successful model in its own right with several podium finishes in 2015. Let’s take a look at what Husky has been up to since the reunion, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Husqvarna FC 450.
Husqvarna is all set to make a comeback at the Dakar Rally, adding more beef to an already stacked lineup of some of the fiercest rally raid competitors in the world. The company made the announcement, saying that it would be fielding a two-rider lineup at the 2016 staging of the event, namely veteran rally rider Ruben Faria and up-and-coming hotshot Pierre-Alexandre Renet.
Faria, in particular, will bring his Dakar Rally experience to Husky, including a second place finish in 2013 with KTM. In a roundabout kind of way, Faria will still be racing under the KTM umbrella, only this time it will be for one of its new sub-brands. On the opposite end of the experience pipe is Renet, who will be making his first appearance at the Dakar Rally after establishing a career that saw him excel in the enduro racing scene. Both Faria and Renet will be using the Husqvarna 450 Rally where it will line up against a whole plate of competitors, including KTM.
None of that matters at this point because what’s important is that Husqvarna’s returning to the Dakar Rally. Some form of credit must also go to KTM, Husky’s new parent firm, which is doubling down on its participation during the race by essentially having two factory teams in it.
There are also talks about Husqvarna bringing a satellite team with it to the 2016 Dakar Rally. There’s still no confirmation on whether that’s going to happen, but with the team already having a name - HT Husqvarna Rally Team - and a manager - Henk Hellegens - it could only be a matter of time before Husqvarna makes a formal announcement pertaining to this satellite racing team.
Continue reading to read more about Husqvarna’s announced comeback at the 2016 Dakar Rally.
Husqvarna is going full steam ahead with its promotion of the 701 Supermoto, the company’s first production motorcycle since being acquired by KTM back in January 2013.
If you recall back in April 2013, the company launched a microsite dedicated to the same bike. Now, Husqvarna’s taking things up a notch by offering a new contest that will take the lucky winner to north Sweden where they’ll take part in an ice riding experience of a lifetime.
Granted, this competition isn’t for everyone, particularly those who have a hereditary disdain for anything associated with frozen tundras. But for those with the spirit of adventure running through their veins, this competition might be right up your alley.
The premise is pretty simple: interested applicants must fill up an application form that includes 10 questions. Answer these 10 questions correctly and you increase your odds of being chosen as the lucky winner. The deadline for applications is on August 31, 2015, at which time Husqvarna will pick a random name in the presence of a notary. Remember, those who scored the highest on the 10-question exam of sorts carries a bigger chance of having their names chosen. Applicants must also be 18 years of age or older and must have a valid motorcycle license, although most of you probably know that already since such things are always requirements for competitions of this nature.
In any case, whoever gets chosen will win a trip for two to Wilhelmina, Sweden where the winner and his/her accompanying partner will also receive free lodging, transport, and, last but not least, the aforementioned ice riding experience, presumably with the Supermoto 701.
It’s an interesting competition that should get its fair share of applicants. Kind of makes me wonder if I’m built for such things, although a trip to central Sweden still sounds like a good prize to me.
Continue reading to read more about Husqvarna’s “Ice Experience Contest.”