The Virginian's Svartpilen 401

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    ***This is a copy and paste from other forums that I haunt and thought I would share my thoughts here as well. Much of this info here you already know as it was intended to push this unusual bike into the light for others.***


    So what’s the deal with Husqvarna? Here’s a brief history of this fabled company.

    Husqvarna was founded near the town of Huskvarna in Sweden in 1689. The company started out as a maker of muskets, and the Husqvarna logo still depicts a gun sight viewed from the end of the barrel.

    Pioneering since 1903 is their company motto and has been continuously been producing motorcycles since 1903. The speedo proudly depicts this when you first turn the bike on and the gauge spools up.

    Husqvarna’s new street range references the classic Silverpilen (Silver Arrow), but that’s more about ideology than looks.

    Rather than create a ‘modern retro,’ the now-Austrian marque has made a conscious effort to build a different type of contemporary motorcycle. These two bikes are Husqvarna’s attempt to reintroduce a street based bike into the market which they haven’t done in over 50 years.

    Folks either love them or hate them from the minute you see one and I suspect most of you reading this have already made your mind up on this front. I am of Swedish heritage and Husqvarna’s have been a part of my life since the 70s.

    The bikes feel significantly different to ride. I was surprised that the Vitpilen’s (White Arrow) café racer riding position didn’t put my body into knots; it did put a little strain on my wrists and back, but it was far less strenuous than I thought it would be.

    So here’s my latest bad decision… The Svartpilen (Black Arrow) hands down is my favorite by a country mile. Its upright, street tracker riding position is not only more comfortable than the Vitpilen, but it makes the bike easier to manhandle too. It could be that I just prefer that style of riding, but to me the Svartpilen 401 feels like a BMX with a motor, kind of a pint sized motard!

    The Pirelli Scorpion Rally STRs do a good job of sticking to both slab and gravel, but I won’t be spending too much time on the latter. I’ll take Svartpilen on short jaunts on well-graded fire roads, but the overall package is still far too street biased for serious off-roading.

    Both 401s are pure hooliganism in two-wheeled form. I slip through twisties and congested inner city traffic, took shortcuts, hopped curbs and just generally misbehaved all day long. Grab a handful of clutch and throttle and you’ll loft the front wheel in a hurry even with my 200 lbs. on board.

    I have a few ideas of what I’ll do to my Svartpilen 401 in my garage, but most of it’s centered around performance upgrades. I will document my journey, build, success and failures in this thread. My only wish is to maybe open your eyes to a very small company that’s been making bikes for 116 years.

    I have been feverishly churning out CL scoots and bike in disrepair to to foot the bill for this one, 6 to be exact. I was able to convert the fruits of my labor into this. Let the games begin!

    The specs:


    Type: Single cylinder
    Displacement: 373cc
    Bore x stroke: 89 x 60mm
    Maximum power: 43 horsepower @ 9000 rpm
    Maximum torque: 27.3 ft/lbs @ 7000 rpm
    Compression ratio: 12.6:1
    Valve train: DOCH, 4 valves
    Fueling: Bosch EFI w/ 46mm throttle body
    Cooling: Liquid
    Transmission: 6 gears
    Clutch: Multi-disc slipper clutch
    Final drive: X-Ring chain


    Frame: Chromoly trellis
    Handlebar: Aluminum forged
    Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable inverted 43mm WP fork; 5.6 inches
    Rear suspension; travel: Non-adjustable WP shock; 5.9 inches
    Wheels: Wire-spoked w/ aluminum rims
    Front wheel: 3.00 x 17
    Rear wheel: 4.00 x 17
    Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR
    Front tire: 110/70 x 17
    Rear tire: 150/60 x 17
    Front brake: 300mm disc w/ 4-piston Bybre caliper
    Rear brake: 230mm disc w/ single-piston floating Bybre caliper
    ABS: Bosch 9.1MB Two Channel


    Wheelbase: 53.4 inches
    Rake: 25 degrees
    Triple clamp offset: 1.3 inches
    Trail: 3.7 inches
    Steering head angle: 25°
    Trail: 95 mm
    Seat height: 32.9 inches
    Tank capacity: 2.5 gallons
    Curb weight: 330 pounds (dry)


    This will be an ongoing thread that I cover my experiences with this great motorcycle. Thanks for reading.


    • This topic was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by VirginianVirginian. Reason: Photos
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