January 17, 2020 at 2:22 pm #26783
Hi all, I’m a 40-something, long time Harley Sportster owner with 27 years of riding experience, who recently learned of the existence of the Vitpilen 701…
and can’t get it out of my head.
I’m 90% of the way there, in my decision to sell my Sporty and leave Harley for Husqvarna.
That may seem odd, but I’ve always gone for the more Cafe-style sporties (my current one is even rocking bar end mirrors)
BUT, I have a couple nagging things that I’m just not sure I can deal with.
1. there is essentially zero community (this is the best I’ve found) in comparison to sportsters (i belong to like 10 forums or facebook groups that each have several new posts an hour)… This makes me nervous because if I ever have a question about my bike or an aftermarket part, I’m accustomed to being able to get the answer in minutes.
2. I LOVE the blue/white of the 2020, but HATE the idea of spoke wheels… I’m a realist and know I wont clean them enough… as such, I would greatly prefer mags. I can also get a far better price on a 2019… so may go that route… just don’t know
Anyone willing to trade mags for spokes, should I decide to get the 2020?
3. I keep watching video reviews and reading reviews… the notion that the bike is uncomfortable for longer rides, or bad for city riding because it’s leaned forward seems common… But I currently ride a sportster, with drag bars… which is not terribly comfortable. I also don’t do touring or anything, max ride would be a tank of gas each way. and that would be the exception, usually it would be 20-40 miles at a time.
Is it THAT uncomfortable?
Anyone here happen to have ridden a sportster with drags that can offer a comparison?
4. I’m used to doing my own maintenance, and i know how do so on harleys… but the Vitpilen is an entirely different animal, does anyone here do their own basic maintenance, oil changes and such? How difficult is it?
Basically I’m looking for you guys to give me that extra 10% push I need to make the leap… cause honestly I’m bored of the harley thing… I’m sick of how heavy the bikes are and how expensive it is to get them where i want them in both performance and appearance… especially now that I’ve learned there is a bike that appears to be damn near perfect from the factory, for my tastes.
So sell me!
Why should I own something other than a Harley for the first time in over 2 decades?
and why should that be a Vitpilen?
and while we’re at it… why would that be a terrible idea? 😉January 17, 2020 at 3:38 pm #26791stroemParticipant
Keep in mind that this bike is a reworked KTM 690 Duke, so as far as needing technical information to troubleshoot, or finding a shop that can work on the bike, there is a bigger group than Husqvarna specific.January 17, 2020 at 3:59 pm #26792VanessaParticipant
I have a Svartpilen 401 and am considering getting a Harley Sportster this year.
But it would be in addition to my Svartpilen, as the two bikes are very different in my opinion, so I could see myself owning both and riding them for different reasons and journeys. The Svartpilen for my work commute and the Harley for some gentle weekend cruising.
So that’s my suggestion, have both, at least for a while until you are sure you want to drop the Harley for the Husky.January 17, 2020 at 6:34 pm #26801
That’s a great point. I’ve already hit up a local shop that has done some work on my bikes in the past, just to make sure I have someone I trust if I need them. They do a lot of KTMs and alrady have done work on a couple Vitpilens, so I’m good there.
January 17, 2020 at 6:38 pm #26800
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Todrick.
Cool thing about the sportster is it can be anything you want it to be(within reason)… for instance mine is a cafe-ish bobber… but they can be set up for just about any style… he’ll I’ve even seen full on motorcross builds
So, you can build it very different on purpose.
Issue I ran into is what I really like, the sportster can do, it just can’t do well.
Wish I could have both, but it wouldn’t make much sense, and I don’t have the space.January 17, 2020 at 10:26 pm #26814VanessaParticipant
Fair enough. I fancy a Sportster because I like the look of cruisers, so wouldn’t be changing it from that aesthetic. Being based in the UK, the choice of bikes if you want a small cruiser is very limited, and I haven’t ridden one yet so I might not like it. My main worry is the weight of the thing, to put it in perspective, if I sat on my SP401 and an identical me also sat on it as pillion, the combined weight of the bike plus two of me would equal that of a Sportster with no rider at all!
Hope you are happy with your eventual choice 🙂
January 17, 2020 at 10:48 pm #26816
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Vanessa.
I’m very aware of that… It’s the main reason I’m looking to make the switch.
Vitpilen 701 + me, still weighs less than my sportster, which is lighter than stock.
My modified sportster is also pumping out 74HP, so that weight difference between the 2, is all the difference in the world.
Sportster’s are great bikes, I HIGHLY suggest going with the 883, if you decide you want more power later, a 1250 or 1275 kit is still less expensive than the difference between a stock 883 and 1200January 17, 2020 at 11:06 pm #26817QwandreeModerator
The 701 is very easy to wrench on, and like stroem mentioned it’s just a tricked out duke 690 and there are tons of youtube videos etc out there as well as ktm forums with infos about all sorts of stuff on the 690. The 701 is packed very tight however, so anything electrical is a pain to deal with. But oil changes are as easy as on any bike.
It’s also, at least compared to a sportster, very plastic-y. So keep that in mind if you care about that. The upside is it weighs less than 400lb and if you start ripping stuff off it (cat, lead battery, etc) you can be edging closer to 350. And what that means is that the alright very light, very nimble bike just gets better. Like you can throw this bike around with one finger, it’s sick. It is definitely not the fastest or a torque monster tho.
I’m 6’2″ / 195lb and I don’t find it uncomfortable at all (and I have back issues from a crash a few years back). I have several other bikes I can ride if I want to do something longer, but to me this bike is a dream around the city and in traffic (I would say these days it’s the one I ride in town the most).
You just need to go test ride one and see if you like it. Will be very different from your sportster regardless.January 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm #26818andyParticipant
bike position is a little uncomfortable, manageable however.
Oil service is easy, just youtube ktm 690 oil service and follow the steps, took about 30 minutes my first time. easy!
good thing about the clip on is they can be modded with aftermarket parts to make it more comfortable, I went ahead and bought a gilles 35mm riser, big difference and much more comfortable now while still keeping that same styling.
i’d say go for it, buy your dream bike and if anything let me know about them spoked wheels, i’d be willing to trade you my used set of mags for spoked.January 18, 2020 at 2:06 am #26825FTR223Participant
pour avoir eu les 2 , vends ton « camion » de Harley et achète vite un 701 ( de préférence Svralpilen pour la position plus confortable ) .
tu vas redécouvrir les fondamentaux de la moto : légèreté, agilité et punch 😉✊January 18, 2020 at 6:14 am #26831DuctTapeParticipant
Hey Todrick! It appears to me you already made the decision, and now you’re just trying to rationalize it. I was also obsessed but with the Svartpilen 701 for several months, putting videos on YouTube, listening to raw audio clips of the engine, pretty sick. After some hesitation I’ve found a good deal on a 2019 model, 100 miles from home, and I went for it (what else could I do? If I fell in love with the bike).
Is it a perfect bike? No. The stock fueling sucks, it’s geared too tall, the dashboard buttons are impossible to operate, and the mirrors are only useful to check your hair. Some of these are easy, cheap fixes (common in modern bikes) and some you’ll have to learn to live with.
Do I like it? The bike is a freaking treat, every time I ride it it feels like my birthday.
Life is too short, ride while you can, as many bikes you can afford.
Good luck!January 18, 2020 at 2:43 pm #26839ECJJCEParticipant
Todrick- I too was strangely obsessed with the Vit 701 and followed it compulsively from prototype into production. What makes that somewhat strange for me, is that previously I was really only interested in vintage bikes, with my newest ride being from 1979! I could not get this bike out of my head, and was prepared to buy it, but then at the last minute changed my selection to the Svartpilen 401, and purchased a new one off the lot with zero miles last year, and I love it. The reason for the change in model, is that I realized I was wanting the Vit 701 to do things it wasn’t really designed for, namely hitting some dirt, and being more of a ‘utility’ bike with a more comfortable upright riding position. I live in the mountains of upstate New York, and because of where I live, every ride starts with at least 5 miles of dirt road, and many end with, or also have some in between. But, this bike also absolutely excels at the twisty 2 lane blacktop (such a spirited engine!) that the bulk of my rides encompass, and then handles the dirt just fine. My point is (and I raised this in another post on this site) is that a lot of people seem to try and make these new Husky street bikes something they are not. They complain about not enough fuel capacity, and don’t like the riding position of the Vit 701 for long rides (is it meant for long rides??), and the inability to attach luggage for touring (?!?), etc., etc. If you want a bike that is quick, light, fun and an absolute joy to ride, then pick one up!
I also do extensive work on all my other bikes (including full rebuilds), and had concerns (and still do), about working on this one. Standard things like oil changes, and chain maintenance are dead simple, but as another post mentions, things are packed tight on these bikes, and working on anything electrical is next to impossible for the average bike owner, but that is generally true for most any modern bike these days, so I put those concerns away, and just bought one.
For the price, style, and performance this range of bikes offer, I really don’t think you could go wrong. They embody the spirit of fun 21st century riding. I say get one. You can always get another Sportster if it somehow disappoints.
Keep us posted with your choice.
Good luck and have fun!
ECJJanuary 18, 2020 at 4:39 pm #26842SpeedHolesParticipant
I currently own a couple Harley’s, an 02 Softail Deuce, and a 57 Sportster (first year the XL was ever sold as a Sportster in fact!)
Have a handful of other bikes as well, and the wife has a Ducati Scrambler.
Now I also have this Svartpilen 701, and the stoke is high on this one!
I remember when these Pilens first hit the shows as a prototype, it definitely caught my eye, looked like some fresh design, and even though it rubbed many people the wrong way, I really liked the design direction. Then got to sit in a production version Vitpilen 701 at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show a couple of years ago and it jumped up a couple levels further on my radar. Was really nice, good ergos.
But, honestly never actually considered buying one myself. Even though at one time years ago I was looking for cheap early KTM Duke to buy. Never found a solid one in my area for a price I liked.
Then fast forward another year, and I was very fortunate to be able to rent a motorcycle for a work trip to Vegas/Death Valley for a couple weeks. I actually tried to get some Enduro bikes. All booked up. I then went down the list of ADV bikes. All booked up. Mostly all that was available were the Harley full dressers. Nope, not fun in my book. Then I called, and explained I want a bike more agile. He said they just got a smaller bike in that they didn’t list on the website yet, couldn’t even pronounce the name but a Husqy 701. And I immediately knew exactly what he was looking at! I actually expected the Vitpilen. But then was able to secure and reserve the Svartpilen! Like I said, I was originally looking for an ADV bike to be able to cruise Vegas as well as get out in the desert. So I thought heck, I can throw around that Svartpilen with the flat tracker bars!
And man, sure enough I could! That was the end of it. I immediately wanted one of these bikes. It excelled at everything I wanted it to, but then also shredded off-road! I took that thing everywhere I would have gone on an ADV bike and it just took it, even at speed! w t went everywhere! I think it helped it has longer suspension and larger front wheel than the Vit. Even had to do a bunch of Latenight emergency riding through off-road areas I didn’t know, to help recover a co-worker who’s BMW gs broke down out there (broken kickstand switch). And this bike even had my other co-worker jealous who has a new Truimph Scrambler XE (which did better off-road though, but is way heavier way more expensive, and these bikes are equally as quick on road, despite the displacement difference!).
I will say, I too work on my own bikes (I also race XC/ Hare Scrambles /Sprint Enduro/ etc. on a YZ250FX, so I have to do a lot of regular work for prep and a lot of maintenance) but these Husqvarna street bikes seem rather strict on getting their service intervals done at an actual dealership so they can hook up their computer. Otherwise they’ll void your warranty. I was also promised a free first service by my dealership to cover for some delays I dealt with. So I’ll atleast bring my bike in for the first two services probably. And at that point see if my warranty is simply voided by my aftermarket mods. If it’s voided already then I’ll just take on the maintenance work myself.
Good luck on your decision. But just ride one!January 19, 2020 at 1:29 pm #26856ECJJCEParticipant
By the way, I pushed both my dealer and Husky on the warranty/service question…..I’ve never taken a bike to a dealer for an oil change (!), and wasn’t about to start now, especially since the nearest dealer is hours away. I got both Husky and dealership to admit that if you purchase ‘certified’ components (oil, filter, etc.), document those (photos, receipts), and document your own work (photos, maintenance log, etc.) that you will not void the warranty with service work like an oil change. But don’t take my word for it, get your dealer to admit the same!
ECJJanuary 19, 2020 at 6:27 pm #26860
great info everyone, especially speedholes. It’s nice to hear the perspective of another sportster owner(Absolutely envy your ownership of a ’57).
So, I think I’m decided… now the real work begins… “selling” the idea to the wife based on how this one is “more fuel efficient” and “a bit smaller” in the garage. LOL
Will definitely come back and let ya all know how it goes.
I do wish one of you all would have said “sure I’ll trade my mag wheels for spokes, just let me know”… but I’ll probably pick up a 2019 anyway, so no worries.
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