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Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen 125 (2024) – Technical Review

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.

Posted:

16.01.2024

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen Svartpilen 125 Review Details Price Spec_12
2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen Svartpilen 125 Review Details Price Spec_13
2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen Svartpilen 125 Review Details Price Spec_11

 

Price: £4899 | Power: 15bhp | Weight: 147.5kg (Vitpilen 125), 151kg (Svartpilen 125) | Overall BikeSocial Rating: TBA

 

It’s been nearly a decade since we first got a look at Husqvarna’s Vitpilen and Svartpilen style – initially as concept bikes – and the since then the range has expanded into a whole array of models in a variety of sizes. But the recipe has always been consistent: take a KTM Duke and give it a makeover with a stand-out style that’s instantly recognisable.

It’s impressive that even after all these years, the look that’s shared by the Vitpilen and Svartpilen is still arrestingly attractive and stands out from the crowd, but with the development of a completely new range of single-cylinder KTM Dukes for 2024, it was inevitable that brand new Vitpilens and Svartpilens would be hot on their heels.

The 125cc version you see here will be vying for attention in the ever-competitive learner-legal class and offer a substantial upgrade over their predecessors.

 

pros
  • Few L-plate-legal bikes look cooler

  • Same chassis and style as the Svartpilen and Vitpilen 401 models

  • Impressive tech includes cornering ABS, phone connectivity and quickshifter

cons
  • Pricey for a learner bike – the much faster 401 versions don’t cost much more

  • Some will mourn the Vitpilen’s repositioning from café racer to roadster

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Price

There’s no getting away from the fact that – because they’re technically closely related to the vastly more powerful, 399cc ‘401’ models – the Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 are far from cheap.

Both models come in at £4,899, which is £100 more than the old versions and exactly the same price that KTM asks for the mechanically-identical 125 Duke in 2024. For comparison’s sake, the Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401, each offering three times as much power as the 125cc models as well as better suspension and equipment levels, are £700 more expensive.

Even so, the two Husqvarnas undercut competitors like Yamaha’s MT-125 (£5102), so they’re not out of step with the market for name-brand, high-quality 125s.

Of the two, the Svartpilen looks like a keener bargain; it adds a flyscreen, a luggage rack on top of the tank, and a pillion grab rail that are all missing from the Vitpilen, but there’s no extra cost.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Engine & Performance

The mechanical changes to the Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 mirror those that were made to the 2024 KTM 125 Duke – which comes as no surprise since under the skin the Husqvarnas are heavily based on the KTM.

That means they get the 125cc version of KTM’s new LC4c single-cylinder engine, a successor to the LC4 used in the previous model, with the extra ‘c’ standing for ‘compact’.

Although based on the same design as the larger, 399cc single in the 390 Duke and ‘401’ Husqvarna models, the 2024 125cc engine has a completely different bore and stroke – 58mm and 47.3mm – to achieve its smaller capacity, plus a unique single-cam cylinder head instead of the 399cc engine’s twin-cam head.

The new 2024 engine also features plasma-coated cylinders instead of Nicasil coating, plus new fuel injection with a new injector design and position, working alongside a redesigned airbox and exhaust to meet the latest Euro5+ emissions limits, an evolution of the previous Euro5 standard that adds new tests for longevity.

The engine drives through a modified version of the previous six-speed transmission, with revisions to the lever travel and shift drum. The ‘Easy Shift’ quick-shifter is standard, but unlike the larger engine the 125cc version doesn’t get multiple riding modes or traction control.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

The main frame is identical to that of the larger-engined Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401, and in turn the same as the one used on KTM’s latest 390 and 125 Duke models. In some markets both KTM and Husqvarna also offer 250cc variants based that split the difference between those capacity classes, but those machines aren’t coming to the UK.

Like the larger 401 models, and in a departure from the design used on the KTM Dukes, the Svartpilen and Vitpilen 125 get a bolt-on, tubular steel subframe, replacing the cast aluminium design that KTM uses.

Below it sits the same new swingarm that features on the bikes’ larger variants and their KTM-branded cousins, a cast alloy design with a banana shape to the right hard side to clear the under-belly exhaust silencer that gives a much neater look than the side-mounted pipe of the previous generation. The design also allows for the new side-mounted, direct-acting rear monoshock, from WP, which is adjustable for preload but not damping.

Up front, the forks are also WP units, 43mm APEX open cartridge units with 150mm of travel. They look much the same as those on the bigger ‘401’ models but lack their adjustable rebound and compression damping.

The brakes are also inherited from the larger-engined versions, with a ByBre four-pot radial caliper at the front gripping a 310mm disc, and a two-pot caliper and 240mm rotor at the back. Unusually for learner-legal 125s, the bikes both get lean-sensitive cornering ABS, something that was introduced to the learner-legal market on the 2024 125 Duke.

As on the larger Svartpilen and Vitpilen, the wheels and tyres are the main distinguishing elements on the 125cc versions. The road-biased Vitpilen 125 has 17-inch cast alloy wheels, with six fat spokes, clad in Michelin Power 6 tyres. The Svartpilen, meanwhile, has wire wheels – still 17-inches – with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STRs.

Husqvarna says the Vitpilen 125 weighs in at a svelte 147.5kg and the Svartpilen is barely any heavier at 151kg.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Comfort & Economy

Like the larger-engine versions, the Vitpilen 125 is the recipient of the biggest revamp of its comfort and usability for 2024. The café racer stance of the original is out, and in comes a more conventional roadster with broader, taller bars and a more useable real-world riding position.

The low-mounted, clip-on-style bars of the old Vitpilen might have given it a clean look as a 21st-century interpretation of the café racer but they worked against the bike when it came to actually securing sales. We never got the 125cc version in the UK before, but the Vitpilen 401’s sales have never been strong, with the scrambler-style Svartpilen outselling it several times-to-one.

Of the Svartpilens, in contrast, the 125cc version has proved a success for Husqvarna in the UK, often being the company’s best-selling model. So repositioning the Vitpilen to be a more useable roadster, with broader, taller bars for a riding position much closer to that of the Vitpilen makes sense from a commercial point of view.

It does from a comfort perspective, too. While the rider triangle – the relationship between the seat, pegs and bars – of the Svartpilen 125 is only slightly tweaked for 2024, with a lower seat and longer wheelbase, that of the Vitpilen 125 is heavily altered. The bars are much taller and wider, taking weight off the rider’s wrists and making the bike easier to handle at the same time.

Both models share the same 820mm seat height, although the actual seat is different, with the Svartpilen getting a two-piece design while the Vitpilen has a one-piece version. The Svartpilen’s small screen and tank-top luggage carrier make it the more practical proposition of the two.

Husqvarna hasn’t released fuel consumption figures, but as 125cc singles the two bikes aren’t going to be gulping the dino-juice at a prodigious rate. With the same 13-litre fuel tank that’s used on the bigger 401 versions, you’re probably going to be ready for a fuel stop before they are.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Equipment

Normally, buying a 125cc single-cylinder bike means you’re going to be compromising on equipment levels but the latest-generation Svartpilen and Vitpilen, like the 125 Duke they’re based on, have a surprisingly high level of kit as standard.

The stand-out spec is the inclusion of cornering ABS, something that’s all but unknown on such small-capacity machines. It’s a really useful addition, too, as new riders are surely going to be among the people who are most likely to benefit from it.

Other toys include the new 5-inch TFT colour dash, which includes phone connectivity for media, calls and turn-by-turn navigation when you use Husqvarna’s app. New left-hand bar controls operate these functions. There are also LED lights including self-cancelling indicators that turn off after a set time or distance.

The bikes also get a speed limiter function on the dash, letting you preselect a maximum that then won’t be exceeded.

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Rivals

While there are plenty of cheaper learner-legal 125s with the same 15hp maximum, the fact that the Svartpilen and Vitpilen share the bulk of their parts with the larger 401 models means they’re full-size machines and promises a higher level of quality than you’d get from something lower in the market. They also look great and have some unexpectedly high-end electronics, making a tempting proposition.

 

KTM 125 Duke | Price: £4899

Power/Torque: 15bhp/8.5lb-ft | Weight: 154kg

 

Yamaha XSR125 | Price: £4802

Power/Torque: 15bhp/8.5lb-ft | Weight: 140kg

 

Lexmoto RSS 125 | Price: £2899

Power/Torque: 14.1bhp/8.1lb-ft | Weight: 163kg

 

 

2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Verdict

We’ll give a verdict once we’ve ridden the bikes.

 

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2024 Husqvarna Vitpilen 125 and Svartpilen 125 Technical Specification

New price

From £4899

Capacity

125cc

Bore x Stroke

58 x 47.5mm

Engine layout

Single-cylinder

Engine details

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

Power

15bhp (11KW) @ 10,000rpm

Torque

8.5lb-ft (11.5Nm) @ 7,750rpm

Transmission

6 speed, chain final drive, quickshifter, slipper clutch

Average fuel consumption

TBA

Tank size

13 litres

Max range to empty

TBA

Rider aids

Quickshifter, cornering ABS, Supermoto ABS

Frame

Steel trellis

Front suspension

WP Apex upside-down forks, 43mm

Front suspension adjustment

None

Rear suspension

WP Apex monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Preload only

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

147.5kg (Vitpilen 125), 151kg (Svartpilen 125)

Warranty

2 years

Servicing

6000 miles

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated

Website

www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

 

Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance

 

 

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.