Here’s a closer look at Husqvarna Motorcycles’ Indian lineup

With the new Husqvarna motorcycles, Bajaj will be aiming to take on Royal Enfield, a brand it previously tried to beat, with the Dominar 400.
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Swedish motorcycle manufacturer Husqvarna has finally made its debut in India at the India Bike Week 2019. While enthusiasts and critics were expecting the KTM-owned brand to unveil two motorcycles (Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401), Husqvarna has managed to surprise everyone.

The company showcased two affordable quarter-litre motorcycles and has revealed a 200cc on and off-road motorcycle.

Using a strategy similar to its parent company, Husqvarna continues to build the corresponding KTM Duke platform. While the Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 are based on the Duke 390, the newly unveiled Vitpilen 250 and Svartpilen 250 borrow the chassis and powerplant from the Duke 250.

These Husqvarna motorcycles will be manufactured at KTM-Bajaj’s Chakan-based facility in Pune (Maharashtra). The localisation of motorcycles will help the company price the products competitively.

KTM Bajaj also plans to export Husqvarna-badged motorcycles to European, American, and other Asian markets. Besides that, the unveiling of the more affordable 250cc and 200cc Husqvarna explains why test units in India have been spotted with MRF tyres.

Deliveries of Husqvarna motorcycles in India will begin early next year, possibly in February 2020. The Austrian manufacturer’s relationship with Bajaj has been very fruitful. KTM in India has marked its presence in 365 cities with 460 outlets. Husqvarna will utilise the existing resources, selling its products via KTM dealerships initially.

Here’s all you need to know about Husqvarna’s Indian lineup.

Husqvarna Svartpilen 200

Based on the KTM Duke 200, the most affordable Husqvarna product will be the Svartpilen 200. The motorcycle is powered by a 199.5cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled mill. Incidentally, the first KTM-Bajaj product in India also utilised the same powertrain in 2012. This engine, in the Duke 200, produces 25.8 PS of power and 19.5 Nm of torque. These numbers make the Svartpilen 200 an ideal starting platform.

Styled exactly on the lines of the Svartpilen 401, the new Husqvarna Svartpilen 200 differs with the presence of an underbelly exhaust and alloy wheels instead of spokes. The tyres are MRF Revz, which will help keep prices under check. Besides that, the motorcycle gets the same LED headlamp and circular LCD instrumentation. The suspension system comprises WP Apex upside down fork in the front and a monoshock in the rear.

Anchoring duties in the Svartpilen 200 are taken care of by discs at both ends. While details have not been revealed by Husqvarna yet, we expect the new motorcycle to be shod with the same 300 mm disc in the front and 230 mm unit in the rear.

ABS is expected to be a dual-channel unit to justify the premium positioning of the motorcycle. Also, the Svartpilen 200 will have a lower ground clearance (possibly around 145 mm) than the Duke 200, which stands at 170 mm. Husqvarna will also utilise the same chromium molybdenum steel trellis frame.

KTM retails the Duke 200 in India at Rs 1.62 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and the Husqvarna Svartpilen 200 is expected to carry a sticker price between Rs 1.8 lakh and Rs 2 lakh.



Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 and Svartpilen 250

The folks at Husqvarna have taken the KTM Duke 250 and used the same design philosophy seen in the bigger 401 range, albeit the alloy wheels. However, the motorcycle is shod with a side-mounted canister exhaust instead of the underbelly unit in the Svartpilen 200.

The headlamp, retro-styled LCD instrumentation, and paint scheme have also been retained across Husqvarna’s Indian lineup. The customers of the 200cc and 250cc Husqvarna motorcycles will be happy that their bikes look exactly like the premium 401 range.

However, the same cannot be said for prospective customers of the premium bikes.

Powering the Vitpilen 250 and Svartpilen 250 is the same 248.8 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC mill. Coupled to a six-speed gearbox, the engine produces 30 PS of power and 24 Nm of torque, same as the Duke 250. However, there is no confirmation if the quarter-litre Husqvarna motorcycles will get a slipper clutch as the corresponding KTM or not.

In terms of cycle parts, the suspension system, frame, and alloy wheel size are the same as the 200 (17-inch units at both ends). Differentiating the Vitpilen 250 from the Svartpilen 250 are the presence of road-focussed tyres in the former along with a clip-on handlebar.

The on and off-road focussed Svartpilen 250 is shod with knobby tyres and tall set rod-type handlebar. The Svartpilen 250 also features a standard luggage rack on the fuel tank.

The seat height and ground clearance of both the motorcycles stand at 835 mm and 145 mm. However, the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 has a weight of 153 kg while the Svartpilen 250 tips the scales at 154 kg (both without fuel).

KTM Duke 250 is priced in India at Rs 1.97 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and the quarter-litre Husqvarna motorcycles are expected to carry a starting price of around Rs 2.2 lakh.

Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401

Inspired by the Duke 390, the 2020 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 and Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 will be the most premium offering by the Swedish motorcycle manufacturer in India. Both the motorcycles were showcased in their updated avatar at EICMA 2019 in Milan last month.

Unlike the last year’s model, both the motorcycles get a new bolt-on sub-frame, which is the same setup doing duty in the Duke 390. The 40 mm longer sub-frame will allow a more comfortable pillion seat.

The 373cc engine produces 43 PS of power and 37 Nm of torque. Also, the powertrain gets a ride by wire and a slipper clutch. However, there is no confirmation if Husqvarna will be offering the Rekluse Radius X Centrifugal Force Clutch kit in India or not.

This kit is offered in international markets with the Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 as an automatic clutch, allowing the rider to take off and stop in gear without using the clutch lever.

Both the Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 are expected to be priced around the Rs 3 lakh mark.

The premium motorcycle segment in India has seen a compounded annual growth rate of 20 percent in the last five years. KTM-Bajaj hopes that the minimalistic design philosophy seen in Husqvarna motorcycles will help position the new motorcycles as a lifestyle brand, a strategy that Royal Enfield has previously used and reaped huge benefits from.

But will the Indian consumers appreciate the evolved style that Husqvarna Motorcycles bring to the table? Only time will reveal the answer to this question.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)