Bike-scooters/ First-drive/ Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 | Swedish-Statement-Significance! | First Ride Review

Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 | Swedish-Statement-Significance! | First Ride Review

The Svartpilen 401 boldly declares its dominance in the realm of daily commuting while also offering the flexibility to indulge in weekend adventures.


Stance, Performance




India has been in a dramatic transition to democratize the motorcycling experience. Last year, we had a plethora of prominent launches, most of them being around 400cc. The market appreciates the different motorcycling genres and rewards itself with unique lifestyle experiences. The Swedish brand Husqvarna, under the operations of Bajaj India, did not establish itself well in India. Say, because of wrong timing or the wrong propositions. But now,times have changed .So does the new gen-2 Svartpilen 401 have enough in its stride to mark its presence in the premium motorcycle segment? 

Earlier, people complained that the Husqvarna did not look imposing or expressive on the road. But the same can not be said now- The scrambler-ish stance does make it look different and lovely. The fit and finish of the bike are reasonable; however, in my test unit - the nut that holds the horn came out. The colour scheme and paint quality, to me, looked decently well. 

Svartpilen 401 gets a 5-inch bonded glass TFT with optional Bluetooth connectivity. Even on a bright sunny day, I faced no issues with the reflections, and the information was easy to read. The quality of the switch gears is also likeable. 

Well, this is the department which I loved the most about the bike. The 399cc, single-cylinder engine is genuinely so entertaining to rev. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox, which also benefits from a bi-directional quick shifter. The shifts are decent, the throttle response is smooth, and you will definitely have a fun riding experience. I rode it for around 200km, and the engine's character enriched the experience. However,vibrations in the handlebar and footpegs are felt from around 6000-7000rpm.

Svartpilen 401 gets WP apex USD forks that could be easily adjustable for compression and rebound damping. The rear mono-shock is also adjustable and has been placed a bit offset to the right, allowing a lower seat height. During my ride, I did not adjust the suspension, and it felt a bit stiff in its stock setting. However, it could be easily fixed with some adjustability. That said, even in its stock setting, I encountered no back pain, wrist pain, or fatigue after 200km of riding. The ergonomics also make it decently comfortable. Also, with a seat height of 820mm, it is pretty accessible for average Indians. The seats are also decently padded and thick enough.  

When you become familiar with riding the Svartpilen 401, you start to appreciate its turning ability. The braking setup includes a 320mm front and a 240mm rear disc with dual-channel ABS. These are mounted on 17-inch spoke wheels wrapped in 110/70 front and 150/60 rear. The feedback from the brakes is decent. However, ABS kicks in earlier than I like. The bike gets Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, which have enough grip on hard braking. But when you lean hard, due to its block pattern setup, you would resist pushing the bike hard in corners. 

Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is for someone who wants something other than the jazziness and fanciness of the KTM Duke 390 but appreciates that 399cc motor and likes to make everyday urban commuting a fun lifestyle experience. Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 is around 20 thousand cheaper than its KTM sibling, making it a rather decent buying proposition. However, if you want something more involving riding experience that could be taken to track to have fun, the Duke 390 is certainly your cup of tea. The Svartpilen 401 boldly declares its dominance in the realm of daily commuting while also offering the flexibility to indulge in weekend adventures. 

TopGear Magazine July 2024