Help my decide! 401, 701 or 390

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    The local dealership has a 2019 svartpilen 701 for sale at 9000$CAD everything included. ive ridden the vitpilen 701 before and although i like it, it seemed more like a toy bike than an every day bike. My friend has the 401 svartpilen and i loove riding it. its only downsides for me are the cramped leg space and lower top speed (we do alot of long highway stretches at speed). A 2020 svartpilen 401 would cost 6700$ CAD all. Than finally there is a used KTM 390 Duke 2018 with 3000km on it for 4500$.


    The question is which bike wold be good? should i take the deal of the svartpilen 701? i ride mostly city with some highway stretches on the weekend. what do you think?



    I have a 2019 Svartpilen 401 and it’s my ‘go to’ errands bike. I live in the Catskill mountains of NY, and use it for short blasts on curvy roads, with an occasional spot of dirt or gravel thrown in (I live off of a dirt road, so every ride starts with dirt!).

    I had followed these bikes since they were concept bikes, and had originally planned to buy a Vitpilen 701, but when it came time to buy, it became clear that bikes position/riding style, i.e. more forward/aggressive, wasn’t what I was looking for, and so switched my attention to the Svartpilen 401 with it’s slightly more upright position, tank rack, and tires more suited for different conditions. In fact, the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR’s are some of the best tires I’ve ever ridden on. They feel totally hooked up on pavement, wet or dry, and do pretty well on a little dirt or gravel (don’t think I’d try them in the mud…).

    The Svartpilen is light and quick, super responsive and easy and super fun to ride (as you know already!). With its short wheelbase and steep fork rake angle, it’s agile and quick to turn, making it a great city bike, and an excellent ‘short blast’ machine. I love its punchy engine, and don’t ever really find myself needing or wanting more CC’s on this little bike.

    That being said, that same short wheelbase and steep fork rake angle don’t make it great on the highway. Combined with it’s super light weight, it can be a little twitchy at highway speed, and it does not do well in the wind. I get tossed all over the place on blustery days on open roads.

    My biggest issue with the bike personally, is that I wish it was about 5-10% bigger. I’m 6′ 1″ and could use just a little more ‘bike’ at times, but as I say, for quick runs, it’s absolutely amazing. I have another thread on here about switching to the style seat, and that gave me quite a bit more room, and made the bike feel bigger, since I wasn’t locked in by the original seats transition hump and seam.

    For longer highway trips I tend to ride older and somewhat heavier bikes (60’s and 70’s BMW’s typically), as that’s what I’m used to and they feel much more stable for longer rides with their increased weight, longer wheelbase, etc..

    Adding a windscreen to the 401 might help with highway wind blast, and is something I’m going to try adding soon, as I do hit the highway with it from time to time anyway…

    Keep us posted!


    PS as a side note, I think the KTM Duke 390 is one of the ugliest bikes I’ve ever seen! It just doesn’t hold a candle to the Husqvarnas in terms of style.




    The decision between a 401 and 390 would come down to personal taste and price, they are basically the same bike.

    I’m not sure why you felt the 701 seemed like a toy, it is a rather capable sport bike, much more of serious bike than a 401 which I could see people describe as a toy. If you don’t like the clip ons, you could always get riser bars. I would have bought a 701 over my 401 if I had the money.


    I love love love my Svartpilen 401. I live in the city and I commute to work on it. It excels in this task, super light, nimble, nippy and fun. And I feel good and chic while riding it too. I have fitted a bigger rear sprocket though, to give it a bit more pep between traffic lights, and as I’m quite small it also has the official lowering kit, which has made a huge difference. I love how I can hunker over the bars and really get it to turn in sharp. It is so light that I have even been able to catch the bike before it hit the floor on the two occasions that I forgot to put the kickstand down.

    But, it is a small bike, and I could imagine it would feel crampt if I were a big bloke rather than a dainty woman. My hubby rode it once and he did look like a gorilla humping a beachball on it. Also it’s no highway machine, it’s buzzy at 70mph, is twitchy and susceptible to sidewinds too. Especially now I’ve lowered the final drive ratio.

    I have a cruiser (Harley) for when I want to go highway riding in comfort. But nothing compares to the flickable fun and thrills I get slicing through traffic on my 401.


    I forgot to add, I do have the Husqvarna fly screen on my bike, which does help a bit with wind blast when riding at higher speeds, especially if I lean forwards a little and get lower down closer to the tank.

    For extensive city riding in heavy traffic (back in the days when we used to have such a thing) I can heartily recommend a Rekluse clutch too. You can even pull away in 2nd gear with wide open throttle and the Rekluse takes care of it, catapulting you forward and away from all the cars.


    Which dealership? You can find 2020 Svartpilen 701 for under $10,000 and 0% APR for 48 months.


    I commute w/ my 401 on the highway. It involves 30 mi at ~70 mph, each way.


    I scootch way back on the seat and tuck with my left elbow on the tank rack, left hand on the crossbar. The wind buffeting pretty much disappears for me.

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