2020 401 differences from 2018/2019

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    So….I bought a 2019 Vit 401 and a 2020 Svart 401 to develop parts for them and am running into some surprising differences between them. The 2019 I have is an Austrian built bike, the 2020 built in India.

    1. Entire exhuast configuration (obviously). Even the muffler uses a different flange. 2020 can be converted to 2019 if you replace everything from the cylinder head back. Actual muffler hanger point is the same between both, so passenger peg delete works fine on both.

    2. All body, including tank cover sides and center has a different spacing. You can not mount a earlier body on a 2020. Not even the tank luggage rack. This was quite surprising, and begged the question..Why? Do not buy the alternate body panels or blank body panels if you want to put them on the 2020. They will not fit.

    3. 2020 has a metal gas tank, 2019 plastic

    4. foot pegs use a very nice and precise splined pin on the 2019, 2020 is a pretty slop drop in pin with just a washer and cotter pin.

    5. rear luggage rack from 2019 svart will not fit a 2020 (because of the longer subframe).

    6. All hardware on the 2019 is torx, all 2020 is allen head and not as nice hardware

    7. swingarm and cylinder head on 2019 is nicely finished, 2020 is pretty thickly painted or powdercoated black, and not nearly as nice.

    8. Thing like the airbox cover say KTM on the 2019…not so on the 2020.

    9. Handlebars on the 2020 have a glued in threaded plug in the end, making mirror choices a little more limited. 2019 is hollow, with very nicely machined inserts.

    10. Many of the screw threads in the 2020 are pretty tight/rough, not threaded well. Rubber nutserts used on the gauge cluster were totally overtorqed and destroyed, side panel rear fixing grommet was very sloppy on one side. Nearly every bolt on the 2020 has a witness paint mark on it showing it was “torqued” correctly (kinda feels like someone was having their homework graded). Many pieces of the mounting hardware under the seat are very nicely machined on the 2019, 2020 has just basic bolts and washers. Hardware holding the muffler on is nicer on the 2019 than the 2020.

    11. Little things like the triangle plastic cover over the blinker relay under the headstalk are different on the 2020 and the plastic has very sharp edges on the 2020. It will cut you, if you don’t pay attention.

    Overall the fit and finish of the 2019 is more similar to a fine Swiss watch. A truly thoughtfully assembled piece of machinery with no expense spared on bits and pieces and incredible attention to detail. The 2020 is just a “standard” bike and what you would expect, nothing more, nothing less. If you didn’t spend a lot of time with your hands working with both the early and late bikes, you would never know the difference.

    There are very nice features on the 2020 that nearly or entirely make up for the other differences. The 2020 adjustable dampers alone are incredible and the fit and finish on the WP parts is flawless. The black 2020 spoked wheels and black muffler details on the 2020 are very nicely  done.

    The purist or collector side of me loves the 2019. If I were to just sit and look at the bike instead of ride it, the 2019 is it, hands down. The realist in me says that anyone intending to actually ride the bike a lot will find great advantage in the 2020. From 1 foot away, the fit and finish of both bikes is equal on both bikes. I have found no real flaws on either bike, and am completely satisfied with the build quality on both. Only until you get things under a microscope will you notice the exceptional quality of the 2019. In a parking lot or going down the road, both bikes will gather a ton of attention.

    Just my opinion, but the 2020 graphics and paint finish are a bit more high end looking than the earlier bikes. More grown up and refined, but also a bit more subdued. The finish seems to be a bit tougher as well.


    Great summary and thanks for taking the time to painstakingly detail the differences!  I would guess the “cheaper” parts and construction in some areas explains the ability for the 2020 to have the price dropped to $5000 for 2020 from $6200 for the earlier years.


    oh man–2020 had some quality cuts huh? the bolts on the my tank were off center–I thought it was the plastic being misaligned. I was half right–the holes punched out for the plastic tabs on the side plastics that line up with the holes of the top plastic weren’t punched correctly…and the person who assembled that part just forced the bolts in since the holes didn’t line up. The bolts went in at a slight angle and cross threaded.


    I’m curious, what is the VIN prefix on the 2020 model? Is it still VBK? I keep seeing conflicting information about where the bikes are manufactured, is there a clear way to tell where each bike is manufactured?

    The VIN is supposed to denote country of manufacture, but from my days working at an Aprilia dealer I remember it doesn’t always work this way. Some of the Aprilia scooters would have ‘ZD4’ or ‘ZAP’ vin prefixes which denote Italian manufacture, but the bikes came straight out of the Zhongshen plant in China….

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