The Husqvarna 401 Concepts: What We’ve Been Waiting For!
Since these amazing concepts at EICMA last year, the motorcycling world has been excited. There has been a lot of talk about whether or not these things would ever make it to the production line and by the sounds of things, it looks like it’s going to happen.
We’re looking at the 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen, otherwise known as ‘white arrow’ and ‘black arrow’, two beautiful 43 hp, single cylindered, 401 cc four stroke engine machines outfitted and designed for the 21st century.
For most concept models, there’s little chance of them ever going into production but the outpouring of positive comments from the world’s motorcyclists twinned with the deep pockets of Husqvarna’s owners (KTM), these modern scramblers-cum-café racers may very well be released by 2017.
It’s more than likely that they won’t resemble these images though; a concept doesn’t have to play by the rules but a full production bike does, so I’m betting that these bikes will lose their gorgeous details and will probably end up looking like the same old commuter bike that we see rehashed time and time again.
It’s a real shame because the 401 Vitpilen looks like the motorcycle of the future; it has a small, compact design with elegantly muted features, complete with a Tron style headlight. The 401 Svartpilen maintains the sleek finish but it also has a touch of aggression, like any modern scrambler should. Husqvarna have got this design nailed down: they’ve designed modern a pair of motorcycles that give a nod to their classic predecessors without falling into the ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’ and (dare I say) ‘hipster’ hole.
Aside from the possibly changed looks, it’s likely that the engine will also need a rethink. 43hp from a 400cc single could be a tall order in terms of longevity; we may see the engine size increase if production ever happens but personally, I wouldn’t care.
I think motorcycle designers and manufacturers are beginning to wake up and see that a change is coming. Not everyone wants the fastest bike in the shed; in fact, the vast majority seem to be crying out for a mid-sized, reliable and versatile machine and for the first time in a very long time, I’m impressed with what I’m looking at.
2017 might be a long way away but if we save our pennies now, we might all be able to afford both of them.