Our bikes: Husky Supermoto 701
4208 MILES An experimental year on the Husky has left Liam with a clearly defined conclusion and a slightly sore rear end
HUSQVARNA 701 SUPERMOTO
The Husqvarna 701 Supermoto was a bit of an experiment and I’m not sure it worked! I was a spotty teenager when the supermoto scene exploded in the UK 10 years ago and I wanted one, badly. The explosion was short-lived, but when Husqvarna launched the 701 I knew I had to go for it to keep my inner child happy. Well, it turns out there’s a reason the supermoto scene was so short-lived...
The Husqvarna is not a bad bike – far from it. The single-cylinder 690cc engine is a peach and never failed to bring a smile to my face no matter where I was riding. The Brembo brakes are equally capable, bringing the 145kg Husky to a stop without breaking a sweat. The handling was pinpoint accurate, as I expected from such a light bike. To the extent that there was always a period of recalibration after riding other, heavier, bikes.
While the individual parts of the Husqvarna are all bloody good it didn’t take me long to figure out the reason supermotos never caught on; their complete single-mindedness. Want to go for a blast down your favourite back roads? Great, the Husky will lap it up. Want to spend more than 30 minutes in the saddle without walking like John Wayne? Forget it.
This resulted in a bit of a rollercoaster year for the Husky and me. The highlight was undoubtedly the afternoon we spent at an empty Rockingham. The Husqvarna excelled on track right from the first laps and my confidence only grew throughout the day. It would be easy to say the lowlight was a 500-mile weekend that took in Yorkshire and Swansea, but the Husqvarna wasn’t as bad as I expected. The wind protection at speeds above 75mph is completely non-existent, so for the majority of Wales I stuck to back roads.
My arse was on fire less than an hour after I left home on Saturday morning, and although I was back home late Monday night, it was still on fire for a couple of days. But it’s a supermoto, nowhere in the brochure is the word comfort mentioned.
So in the absence of sadness, what did I feel about parting with the Husky? Relief would be too strong a word, but I was slightly pleased I wouldn’t be riding a motorcycle with zero wind protection through the darkest depths of winter. The Husky is brilliant at short, sharp blasts or taking on a tight and twisty track. Beyond that, it’s compromised.
The Supermoto 701 experiment may not have turned out quite how I had hoped, but it has helped me reach a conclusion – supermotos definitely aren’t for me.
‘The engine is a peach and never failed to bring a smile to my face ’
Liam lists what he loves about the Husky. It didn’t take that long
All-weather commuter; happy on any type of bike HEIGHT 6ft 1in WEIGHT 75kg