Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 (2024) – Technical Review

 

Price: £5599 | Power: 45bhp | Weight: 159kg (Svartpilen), 154.5kg (Vitpilen) | Overall BikeSocial Rating: TBA

 

When KTM whipped the covers off its completely new 2024-spec 390 Duke late last year the writing was on the wall for the closely-related Husqvarna Svartpilen and Vitpilen 401 models that share the Duke’s engine and chassis. Now the inevitable has happened and Husky has revealed its next-gen 401 models sharing the same technical improvements seen on the latest Duke.

But despite the shared components, the Husqvarnas manage to be quite distinct from the Duke in both style and stance, even if the distinction between the Svartpilen and Vitpilen is diminished for 2024, with the Vitpilen exchanging its café-racer riding position for a more upright, conventional posture like that of the scrambler-inspired Svartpilen version.

 

Pros and Cons

  • Only £100 more than the old models, and £100 cheaper than the latest 390 Duke
  • New suspension including adjustable forks
  • Lower seat height to broaden appeal
  • Distinction between Svartpilen and Vitpilen is reduced
  • Visually indistinguishable from cheaper, slower 125cc versions
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Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy
Equipment
Rivals
Verdict
Specification

 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Price

Whether you opt for the street-biased Vitpilen 401, which swaps its wire wheels for cast alloys in 2024, or the scrambler-style Svartpilen 401 with wires, knobblier tyres, on-tank luggage rack and a small screen, the bill is the same: £5599.

That’s a pretty tempting deal, not least because it’s only £100 more than the previous-generation machines and £100 less than the KTM 390 Duke that shares its main mechanical bits with the new bikes. What’s more, compared to their predecessors, the Svartpilen and Vitpilen gain tech upgrades including a new TFT colour dash with phone connectivity for media, calls and navigation, as well as cornering ABS and traction control. Bargain. Dealers expect the bikes to start reaching them in February 2024.

 

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2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Engine & Performance

The KTM LC4c engine is the same unit used in the latest-generation, 2024 KTM 390 Duke, and despite its similarity to the previous 373cc LC4 single it’s actually a completely revamped design. The capacity rises to 399cc for 2024 thanks a 64mm stroke, 4mm more than before, coupled to the same 89mm bore used in the old model. But that understates the level of redesign needed to achieve the 26cc capacity hike. The LC4c is essentially a completely new engine compared to the LC4 that preceded it – the ‘c’ stands for ‘compact’ – and forms the basis of the latest KTM and Husqvarna street models from 125cc to 399cc.

The cases, covers, cylinder and head are new, as is the crankshaft, and the cylinder is lined with a plasma coating instead of Nicasil – a change that’s claimed to be cleaner and more sustainable, with fewer chemicals involved.

The new, four-valve, DOHC cylinder head is smaller, reducing weight and shifting the centre of gravity downwards, and inside it there are new camshafts to improve gas-flow. The fuel injection is new, too, with revised injectors inside a Dell ‘Orto throttle body for a finer mist, re-angled to fire onto the backs of the intake valves and reduce carbon build-up. The result meets the latest Euro5+ emissions limits.

Outside the engine, there’s a new airbox and a completely redesigned exhaust, while the six-speed transmission has been mildly revised. An ‘Easy Shift’ quick-shifter is standard, allowing clutchless changes once on the move.

The changes mean power rises a fraction, from a claimed 44hp in 2023 to 45hp in 2024, although it’s worth noting that number is partly chosen to make sure the new bikes meet the 0.2kW per kg power-to-weight ration demanded by the A2 licence class.

For 2024 the engine is tamed via a cornering traction control system, using an on-board lean angle sensor, although it can be switched off. There are also two riding modes – Street and Rain – to tailor the throttle response for different conditions.

 

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2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

Like the engine, the central section of the chassis used on both the Svartpilen and Vitpilen 401 is directly from the 2024 KTM 390 Duke, including the suspension components, but the Husqvarna models feature their own distinct tubular steel subframe instead of the KTM’s cast aluminium design.

The frame itself is still a steel trellis design, like its predecessor, but with a different layout and thickness of the tubing, which is hydroformed and robot-welded to ensure strength and consistency.

At the back, the rear shock has been offset to the right to make space for the new airbox and allow a lower seat height, and both the Vitpilen and Svartpilen share a longer wheelbase than before at 1357mm. The steering head angle has been steepened from 25 degrees to 24 degrees, for quicker response, and the overall torsional rigidity of the chassis is improved. At the back there’s a redesigned cast alloy swingarm, curved to clear the under-belly exhaust and to provide a mounting spot for the offset shock.

The suspension comes, as usual, from WP, with 43mm upside-down forks, but for 2024 they’re adjustable for compression and rebound damping via an adjuster on the top of each fork leg. An open cartridge design helps reduce weight and makes for easier maintenance than closed cartridge forks. The rear shock is adjustable for rebound damping and preload.

Like the 390 Duke they’re based on, the Svartpilen and Vitpilen each get a ByBre radial front brake caliper on a single 320mm disc, assisted by a 240mm rear one and two-piston caliper. They’re backed up by a Bosch cornering ABS system, which can be set to ‘Supermoto’ mode with the rear ABS disengaged, and both the brake and clutch lever are adjustable.

While the Svartpilen has wire wheels and a scrambler-style look, in contrast to the Vitpilen’s street-biased appearance, the two use essentially the same chassis components and dimensions. The biggest difference is really the wheels and tyres, with wires and Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber on the Svartpilen in contrast to the cast alloys and Michelin Power 6 tyres on the Vitpilen.

Weight-wise, the Vitpilen comes in at a claimed 154.5kg, while the Svartpilen is a fraction heftier at 159kg.

 

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2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Comfort & Economy

A change in ergonomics on the street-biased Vitpilen is the biggest departure for the whole range in 2024 – ditching its predecessor’s low-barred, forward-hunched, café-racer posture for something a bit more useable. The new bike has flat, wide, roadster-style bars mounted on risers above the forged aluminium top yoke, and while they’re lower than the off-road-style bars used on the Svartpilen, the difference is far less exaggerated than on the old model.

Other differences between the two include a one-piece seat on the Vitpilen and two-piece design for the Svartpilen, which also gets a pillion grab handle and a small, tinted flyscreen.

The new bodywork retains the distinctive look of the previous generation but when seen side-by-side with the old model the changes are substantial. There’s a new 13-litre fuel tank flanked by panels that now wrap forwards around the headstock and towards the front of the bike, and the seats manage to appear thicker and more padded than their predecessors while simultaneously dropping in height from 835mm to 820mm. As before, the Svartpilen gets a metal luggage platform on top of the tank, letting you attach magnetic tank bags.

New switch cubes promise improved ergonomics and operate that new, 5-inch TFT display, including phone functions.

There’s no word yet on fuel consumption, but the 13-litre tank with 1.5 litre reserve is substantially bigger than the small, 9.5-litre design used on the old models, so range is sure to be increased.

When it comes to running costs, the bikes are designed to be easy to service and have intervals of 10,000km (6000 miles) between oil and filter changes, after an initial 1000km (600 mile) check.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Equipment

The 5-inch TFT dash is a substantial upgrade on the old instrument panel, giving the bikes phone connectivity with control over media, calls and turn-by-turn navigation using the Ride Husqvarna app, all operated using the new bar control units. A USB-C port is standard to keep that phone charged.

Elsewhere, all the lighting is LED and the indicators have an auto-cancelling function to turn them off if you forget to do it. At the front, the oversized circular headlight includes a ring-shaped LED position light.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Rivals

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to single-cylinder bikes in the 400cc-ish region, with a vast array of models on the market. That’s where the distinctive style of the Husqvarna pair comes to the fore, offering something that stands out in a competitive field, and you’ll also struggle to find many others – apart from the mechanically-similar KTM 390 Duke – with rider aids like cornering traction control and lean-sensitive ABS.

 

Triumph Scrambler 400 X | Price: £5595

Power/Torque: 39.5bhp/26.7lb-ft | Weight: 179kg (including fuel)

 

KTM 390 Duke | Price: £5699

Power/Torque: 45bhp/28.8lb-ft | Weight: 165kg (including fuel)

 

Kawasaki Z500 | Price: £TBC

Power/Torque: 44.8bhp/31.4lb-ft | Weight: 172kg (including fuel)

 

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2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Verdict

We’ll give a verdict once we’ve ridden it.

 

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2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 Technical Specification

New price

From £5599

Capacity

399cc

Bore x Stroke

89 x 64mm

Engine layout

Single-cylinder

Engine details

4-valve, DOHC, fuel injected, liquid-cooled

Power

45bhp (33KW) @ 8500rpm

Torque

28.8lb-ft (39Nm) @ 7000rpm

Transmission

6 speed, slipper clutch, quickshifter

Average fuel consumption

TBA

Tank size

13 litres

Max range to empty

TBA

Rider aids

Cornering ABS, supermoto ABS, cornering traction control, two riding modes

Frame

Tubular steel trellis

Front suspension

43mm WP upside-down forks, open cartridge

Front suspension adjustment

Rebound and compression

Rear suspension

WP monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Preload and rebound

Front brake

320mm disc, four-piston ByBre radial caliper, cornering ABS

Rear brake

240mm disc, two-piston ByBre caliper, cornering ABS/supermoto ABS

Front wheel / tyre

110/70-R17 Michelin Power 6, cast alloy wheel (Vitpilen)

110/70-R17 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, wire wheel (Svartpilen)

Rear wheel / tyre

150/60-R17 Michelin Power 6, cast alloy wheel (Vitpilen)

150/60-R17 Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, wire wheel (Svartpilen)

Dimensions (LxWxH)

TBA

Wheelbase

1368mm (+/- 15.5mm)

Seat height

820mm

Weight

154.5kg (dry) (Vitpilen), 159kg (dry) (Svartpilen)

Warranty

2 years

Servicing

6000 miles

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated

Website

www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

 

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What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.