The little bike that could! Svartpilen 401!

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      <li style=”text-align: left;”>Hey everyone! Just a short report on how I am feeling about the purchase  of my new Husky 401 Svartpilen, and some thoughts and opinions regarding my intended use of this motorcycle…

    Firstly, I must point out that there is no such thing as a “do it all” motorcycle, having said that, with some compromises it is possible to ride a bike that comes pretty damn close!

    The Svartpilen 401 is a motorcycle that ticked a lot of boxes on my “wish list” of things that I required it to have or do, so many boxes in fact that on paper there actually isn’t many competitors at all…

    I unfortunately can only own one bike at a time, and I love to road ride almost as much as I love to ride off-road or adventure bike I suppose… I needed a bike that could achieve the following things;

    my wife also rides (but only on the road and has zero interest in any form of adventure/off-road riding) , so whatever bike I chose had to complement her bike and riding style also, it’s no fun me rocking up on a missile while she is pootling around on a Ninja 400 (which by the way is also a fine bike if that is what you like!). My bike also needed pillion pegs as we take our two school age sons with us when we go on day trips here and there. That requirement alone scratches almost all enduro bikes off my list immediately… limiting my choices of what I can ride!

    my next requirement is a seat height that is not stratospheric – I am a short arse at the end of the day with an even shorter inseam, any bike over 920 mm seat height on the street gives me trouble at the traffic lights… a bike that is reasonably lightweight is also relevant to the choice of bike for many, many reasons but my biggest three would be that firstly it affects the performance and handling off road (and on road too I suppose), stopping on the street on a tall and heavier bike is dangerous when you are both short and carrying a pillion and thirdly, picking a bike up on the trail sucks when that bike weighs more that 180kg! It can get old really quick…

    Another tick for the little Husky is the fuel range it can achieve straight out of the store – a 10litre fuel tank is by no means massive but it’s fuel efficiency is hard to beat, with a range of 250km easily obtainable, possibly more if you remain vigilant of your riding technique (but where is the fun in THAT?!😈). On adventure trips I plan to at this stage carry a fuel canister as a reserve in my tank bag – just in case – but I shouldn’t need it – most people work in “pit stops” on adventure rides for leg stretches and fuel stops more frequently than this anyway…

    Service intervals are also generous for a bike of this (or any) type at 7500km for each major scheduled service (with the environment I ride my bike in however I will change the oil and filters more frequently).

    The final thing my little Husky achieved is a fantastic price for what you get – the value for money cannot be ignored! For $7700 AUD “ride away” (including two up rego for six months) you get a lot of bike for the money!

    An awesome looking machine to start with, reason enough in itself to own one of these fantastic motorcycles, but you also get;

    A tried and tested 374cc DOHC motor with fuel injection and six speed gearbox! 44 hp is not a monstrous output but for a small scrambler type bike it is comparable to a LOT of similar capacity enduro bikes with their eye watering service intervals…

    Fantastic brakes with switchable ABS, as well as braided brake lines and adjustable brake and clutch levers.

    Sweet tubeless 17 inch spoked wheels with even sweeter Pirelli Scorpion tyres.

    Downsides? Well, after being off-road on the little bike a couple of times, I am afraid to admit that the little Svart’s suspension is it’s most compromising feature. It does have adequate suspension for fireroads and graded gravel etc. it loves soft sand (even if you don’t!) it will just tractor away at it all day so long as you are able to maintain adequate speed, and it’s got the torque to do it! It is not a jump bike though but that should surprise no one!

    after my research of competitors of the Svartpilen 401 there were only a handful of bikes that stacked up. Please feel free to mention more machines which fulfil my criteria, who knows, I may have missed a beauty!

    Worthy contenders are;

    Suzuki DR-Z 400SM, fitted with adventure bike tyres would make a super dual sport with pillion pegs and better suspension than the S or E models, but at $10K AUD ride away I don’t think I could justify it’s engine/gearbox specs and performance (admittedly bombproof reliability though).

    SWM SM500R $11K AUD is also a mouthwatering option but was ultimately rejected by me for it’s short service intervals. Other things that are forgivable or fixable with the SWM are it’s fairly lofty seat height (even for a Supermoto) and it’s piddly little fuel tank and heavier fuel consumption gives it a short range. A Safari long range tank would fix this otherwise minor issue though.

    Only one bike is superior but it’s price at this stage has me scratching it from my list (for now) is the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto – what a machine! But unfortunately at twice the price of the little Svart’ 401 I’ll have to wait until a used one comes along for under $10K AUD…😓 Plus I’m not too sure about that rear fuel tank still either… time will tell!

    So that’s my report so far, hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed riding my new Svart’ so as I could talk about it! Please comment and/or argue opinions with me as I’m just a regular hack wanting to ride and have fun!

    Hopefully I’ll see you out there in the dirt somewhere sometime!






    Hey man, nice write up ! Agree with you on most points, though having ridden the 701 Vitpilen I found it a littel too “wild”, which I’m guessing the 701 Supermoto would also be, at least for me, at this time in my -irrelevant- life… It is kinda funny though because my previous bike was a Tuono 1000, which I’m sure most know is a TRUE beast BUT I’m having more fun on the small Svartpilen as its power is a lot more approachable and usable!

    I’d love to test ride a 701 Supermoto as it was for me too a serious contender…


    Hey Ben! Thanks for the comments! Those Aprilia bikes sure are built to race – I can’t think of one that wouldn’t want to tear your arms off(!) they are definitely rocket ships!💪 Don’t  turn your back on the 701 Supermoto just yet (by no means wanting to steer you away from your Svart’ of course!) but the Supermoto apparently has a fuel map setting for “soft”, “standard”, to “race” under the seat… that may take some of the “snap” out of the throttle response you may have experienced test riding the 701 Vit’

    I’m going to check that out for myself when I take the Svart’ in to the dealership for its first service next week😈

    ride fun and ride safe!👍


    Tubeless tires? Last I heard both 401s have tubes.


    Hey Stroem,

    yes, you are correct. I just went out and had a look at where the valve comes through the rim, there will be a tube in there… I’m sorry about that I will edit my report shortly. Thanks for picking up on that, I will carry tyre irons, a spare tube and a patch kit now on my trips👍😎


    Stroem has pointed out to me that the 401 wheels are NOT tubeless afterall. Sorry everyone.Valve stem on Svartpilen 401

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