Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen 250 Test Ride Review
We do a detailed road test of the 250 twins, the Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen 250.
Bikes tested: Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen 250; Road Test No. 1202; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 2,18,575/-
The Vitpilen & Svartpilen 250 are the first set of offerings from a new brand in India, Husqvarna Motorcycles.
After numerous offerings under the KTM brand name, the company has now decided to introduce its sub-brand, Husqvarna, in India. To kick-off, Husqvarna has launched two models, the Vitpilen 250 & the Svartpilen 250. Both motorcycles host neo-classic designs and as expected, both are manufactured at Bajaj’s Chakan plant. With the 250cc naked motorcycle segment booming with options from almost all brands, this is an attempt by Husqvarna to create an urban classic category of motorcycles in India. The Husqvarnas bring a lot to the table like spectacular styling with very difficult names to get the correct pronunciation. So, how do the Husqvarna twins fare? We tell you everything about them in today’s review.
MotorQuest: Husqvarna is a Swedish company which started off as a metal company and later stepped into the world of off-road motorcycles in 1903. Its name comes from the town it was started in, Huskvarna. Husqvarna now comes under the KTM brand and specialises in the production of super-moto and neo-classic naked motorcycles. Husqvarna has entered India via the Bajaj-KTM joint venture.
Styling: Husqvarna is famous for its minimalistic neo-classical designs and the Svartpilen & the Vitpilen are no different. At first glance, both motorcycles look pretty similar, but there are some key differences. Talking about the common bits first, both motorcycles really round up well and stand true to the “neo-classic” tag. The round headlamp looks classic but gets an integrated circular LED DRL, which makes it look pretty modern. As you move along, you notice the tank. The shape of the tank is somewhat odd but in a good way. It is a single-piece design with a protruding shape, and the metal finish with the embossed badging is like a cherry on the top.
Further, you’ll notice that the frame, swingarm and both suspensions are the same as the KTM Duke 250. Towards the rear, the Husqvarna stands out even more. It gets a swanky LED tail light and a first-in-class tail-tidy as standard from the company itself, while the number plate is actually positioned on the swingarm-mounted mudguard. The overall dimensions are also pretty small as the body finishes within the length of the wheelbase. Husqvarna has not missed a single place for showing off. There are branding logos and names all over which includes the seat, rim stickers and even the handlebar grips.
The Husqvarna’s are the perfect example of Swedish motorcycle designs
Coming to the differences, the Vitpilen gets a white paint job along with aggressive cafe-racer styling, clip-on handlebars and 5-spoke alloys while the Svartpilen hosts a dark grey paint job along with scrambler-type styling, tall single-piece handlebar and 8-spoke alloy wheels. But the major difference between the two is the tank. The Svartpilen gets a tank rack for easy attachment of luggage while the Vitpilen misses out on it. Further, the Vitpilen also misses out on the exhaust shield from the Svartpilen. While looks are subjective and some of you may not like the Husqvarnas’ design, we sure like it. After all, it stands out in the class and definitely turns the most heads in a crowd.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear: The instrument cluster is the same for both the Svartpilen & the Vitpilen 250. It is an LCD display in a circular pattern which is a never-seen-before design in any motorcycle offering in India. The information on offer is the same as the KTM Duke 250, though. You get the same set of information which includes the tachometer, odometer, twin trip meters, side stand indicator etc. While there are two buttons on the cluster with which you can toggle through the information while you can also switch between the normal ABS mode to Supermoto ABS mode from the same.
While the instrument cluster features a never-seen-before design, we really like how the classic design has been integrated
While the layout of the speedometer is clean and easy to read, the plastic cover makes it difficult in bright daylight. Coming to the switchgear on the Husqvarnas, it is exactly the same as the KTM Duke 250. The switches are backlit, easy to use, and just like its cousin, the quality is decent here as well. Nothing too premium, nothing bad. Just decent. Overall, we think the circular speedometer serves as one of the standout features of the bike among the competition and gives the motorcycle an extra oomph factor.
Ergonomics: The key difference between the two Husqvarnas lies here. Let’s talk about the Vitpilen first. The Vitpilen is a sporty cafe-racer, and it gets low clip-on handlebars for the very purpose. The riding triangle, the rear-set footpegs, and the seating posture, all result in a front-end biased motorcycle making it not suitable for long riding durations. Coming to the Svartpilen, it gets a tall single-piece handlebar and centre-set footpegs which result in a comfortable riding triangle for commuting duties and brief off-road stints as well. In layman terms, the Svartpilen feels like a KTM Duke 250 ergonomically, while the Vitpilen feels exactly like a stripped-down RC. But there’s a catch- the seat height. The seat height of both motorcycles is 842 mm, which is quite high for a 250cc naked motorcycle.
Both motorcycles offer different riding postures and will suit different types of riders
This makes the Husqvarnas unsuitable for short riders as even with the thin seats, short riders will find themselves tiptoeing with the motorcycles. Talking about the seats, they are narrow and the bikes are not pillion friendly even though they claim that they have increased the overall seat length of the bikes specifically for the 250s. However, there is sufficient cushioning, which is a good thing, but the seat is still not suitable for touring duties. There is a minute difference between the seats on both bikes as the Svartpilen gets a flatter 2-piece seat while the Vitpilen gets a slightly contoured single-piece seat. Lastly, both motorcycles share the same round rearview mirrors. While the mirrors offer a good view of the back on the Svartpilen, the view is insufficient on the Vitpilen because of the low sporty stance.
Performance: As we stated earlier, the Husqvarnas usually share their engines with their KTM counterparts, and the case remains the same here. The Husqvarna 250s get the same 248.8cc motor from the KTM Duke 250. The bore, stroke, etc. everything remains untouched. The motor makes a respectable 29.6 PS of power at 9000 RPM and 24 Nm of torque at 7500 RPM, again exactly the same as the Duke 250. Even the throttle response is similar to the Duke. Moving on, the engine has a decent amount of low-end, a strong mid-range, and once you’re past the 7000 RPM mark, the bike feels frantic and lively till the 10,000 RPM redline.
The Husqvarnas get the same engine and gearbox as the Duke 250 and the bikes feel quite punchy and rapid due to the decrement in weight
Both motorcycles get exactly the same engine characteristics with no tuning. Just like the Duke, the Husqvarna twins also have buzziness throughout the rev range. While the vibrations are not intolerant overall, they creep in quite a lot from the seat, handlebars and pegs, once you cross the 7000 RPM mark. The gearbox on the Husqvarna is also same as the Duke 250. The 6-speed gearbox comes with a slipper clutch and is slick-shifting and offers good feedback on the go. The clutch is also on the lighter side offering an easy ride in the city. Further, the gear ratios are nicely set and the motorcycle can easily cruise at speeds of about 100 km/hr while the top-speed is about 140 km/hr (speedo indicated).
Both the Husqvarnas managed to be under 10 seconds to reach 100 km/hr from nought on our VBOX test. We were worried about the famed heating issues of the KTM engine, but to our surprise, they are absent here. The heat dissipation is decent for a naked motorcycle and even though the radiator has a single fan, it does a decent job and the bike doesn’t heat as much. Lastly, the fuel capacity is an unimpressive 9.5-litres and with the bikes returning 27 km/l during the test, we got a range of around 200 kms before the meter displayed low fuel indication.
Riding Dynamics: As the Vitpilen & Svartpilen offer different ergonomics, consequently they also offer different riding dynamics. The common bits between the two are the chassis and the suspension. While the split trellis chassis comes from the KTM Duke 250, it has a shortened rear end only for design purposes. The suspension is also roughly the same as the Duke, but the rear suspension has 7 mm less travel on the Husqvarnas because of the mudguard. It is sprung exactly like the Duke 250, though, which is on the harder side. Also, the officials also claim that the front suspension is internally different as compared to the Duke’s, but we couldn’t find any prime differences. While the suspension is on the harder side, the bike will hit a thud when you go over big speed-breakers because of the low ground clearance.
The Vitpilen urges you to throw it into corners while the Svartpilen is more of a do-it-all kind
Coming to the differentiating factors, as the Vitpilen has similar ergonomics to the KTM RC, the dynamics are super sharp, and the bike offers superb front-end feedback in corners. The Svartpilen, on the other hand, has relaxed ergonomics and centre-set footpegs which offer more off-road and city-friendly riding dynamics. Both Husqvarnas handle better than the Duke 250, though, largely because of the 4 kg weight deficit. The tyres on the Vitpilen are the same ones as the Duke 250 and offer decent grip on the road while the Svartpilen gets new dual-purpose tyres from MRF which are much more suitable for wet and off-road conditions.
Lastly, for braking duties, the motorcycles get a 320 mm disc at the front and a 230 mm disc at the rear (same as the Duke 250), which offers stupendous bite and feedback. Additionally, the Supermoto ABS mode is bliss if you like locking the rear-wheel. This helps a lot if you are going a little bit off-road on the Svartpilen and want the rear to step out at times. To conclude, the riding dynamics on both bikes are suitable for solo riding only as there isn’t sufficient space for the pillion. This gets even worse for the Vitpilen, as you will feel a lot of weight from the pillion onto the clip-on.
Verdict: So, do the Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen make sense in the market? Surprisingly, yes! The Husqvarna twins are lifestyle motorcycles and are much more purposeful, Svartpilen being the scrambler and the Vitpilen being the swanky cafe-racer, than the KTM Duke 250. Further, they look beautiful and offer great equipment for the price, making them the perfect bikes to flaunt. So, if you’re in your 20s and want a stylish-looking motorcycle with modern features, you should go with either of the twins. But if you want more practicality, comfort, and if you plan to go on trips, we suggest you extend your budget and get the Duke 250 instead. However, if you want to go outright touring, then Bajaj has another 250 offering, the Dominar.
* Both motorcycles look pretty nice and are definite head-turners
* Decent engine performance with a frantic top-end
* Brakes have really good feedback and switchable ABS adds a bit more fun
What’s Not So Cool
* Tall seat height is not suitable for average Indian riders
* Vibrations creep in a lot when the bikes are near the redline
* Seats are narrow and there isn’t sufficient room for a pillion
Alternatives – Suzuki Gixxer 250, KTM Duke 250, Bajaj Dominar 250, Yamaha FZS25
* Engine: 248.8cc, Liquid-Cooled, 4-Stroke, Single-Cylinder
* Power: 30 PS @ 9000 RPM
* Torque: 24 Nm @ 7500 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed with Slipper Clutch
* 0-100 km/hr: 9.5 Seconds (VBOX Tested)
* Top Speed: 140 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 26-30 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Tubular Split Trellis
* Suspension: 43 mm WP APEX USD Forks (Front), WP APEX Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70/17 (Front), 150/60/17 (Rear); MRF
* Brakes: 320 mm Disc (Front), 230 mm Disc (Rear); Switchable ABS
* Length x Width x Height: 2010 mm x 782 mm x 1031 mm (Vitpilen)
* Length x Width x Height: 2010 mm x 821 mm x 1083 mm (Svartpilen)
* Wheelbase: 1357 mm
* Seat Height: 842 mm
* Ground Clearance: 149 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 9.5-litres
* Kerb weight: 166 kg