£7k Superdual

New SWM has a lot to of­fer

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - MICHAEL NEEVES CHIEF ROAD TESTER michael.neeves@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

SWM’S new Superdual might not be big on power, cylinders or elec­tron­ics, but it’s a proper lit­tle do-any­thing, go-any­where ma­chine. Big ad­ven­ture bikes are now caught up in the same power and tech­nol­ogy race as sportsbikes, but who re­ally needs a su­per­bike on stilts and knob­blies, or can af­ford their five fig­ure price tags?

It’s re­fresh­ing to find the Ital­ian-built 600cc, 54bhp sin­gle cylin­der SWM costs just £7599 and for that you get a lot of bike for the money. It’s well equipped, beau­ti­fully built and, af­ter rid­ing it in the Ital­ian hills near SWM’S fac­tory (the old Husq­varna HQ) near Varese, just over the lake from MV Agusta, it im­presses with its com­fort, re­fine­ment and char­ac­ter.

Along with its tubu­lar steel chas­sis and chunky alu­minium swingarm, the Superdual’s thump­ing mo­tor is based on the old Husq­varna TE610 en­duro. SWM have de­vel­oped it fur­ther, re­plac­ing the carb with fuel in­jec­tion, adding an elec­tric start, a new Euro4-friendly ex­haust, new valves, clutch, oil pump and up­dated elec­tron­ics.

These re­fine­ments all add up to a sin­gle-cylin­der en­gine with a snatch­free throt­tle pick-up and lots of easy to man­age, play­ful power through the revs. While 54bhp might not sound a lot, it’s enough for smart ac­cel­er­a­tion, B-road fun and it has the abil­ity to keep with mad Mi­lanese mo­tor­way traf­fic and to even tease out the odd wheelie.

A light hy­draulic clutch, six-speed gear­box and twist­grip make life on the SWM stress-fee, the neat rasp from the ex­haust is music to the ears and it’s a tes­ta­ment to the sin­gle’s smooth­ness that the mir­rors re­main un-blurred at all speeds. With so few vibes spilling out from the en­gine and such a flat spread of power on the non-ride-by-wire tap, you’d swear you were on a twin.

But it’s hard to change out of sec­ond or third gear in traf­fic when the bike is hot. SWM couldn’t ex­plain why, other than a pos­si­ble drag­ging clutch on this pre-pro­duc­tion model. On the move the gears snick nicely home again.

Although ABS is al­ways a no-brainer on a road bike, elec­tronic aids are both a lux­ury and. more than ever, are there to con­trol spi­ralling power out­puts.

‘54bhp might not sound a lot, but it’s enough for smart ac­cel­er­a­tion’

But here on the Superdual it’s none the worse for not hav­ing trac­tion con­trol, fussy rider modes, a quick­shifter, an­ti­wheelie or semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion.

On long, cold jour­neys you might pine for heated grips, or even cruise con­trol, but you’ll stay warm and smug in the knowl­edge of how lit­tle you paid for this perky lit­tle mile-muncher.

With its en­duro bike genes run­ning deep it’s no sur­prise the Superdual has plenty of space. Leg room is gen­er­ous, the seat won’t pain your der­rière af­ter you’ve drained the 18-litre fuel tank; the non-ad­justable screen of­fers de­cent wind pro­tec­tion and the wide bars are set to per­fec­tion.

It’s a short and small bike, though, which is fine for solo rid­ing, but go­ing two-up will be a squeeze, es­pe­cially if you’re plan­ning a big trip.

Soft, but well-damped and con­trolled sus­pen­sion of­fers a plush ride and helps you find grip on and of­froad. It sinks down nicely when you hop on, so shorter rid­ers won’t have a big prob­lem get­ting their feet down, de­spite the 890mm seat height.

With its con­ser­va­tive chas­sis set-up, the Superdual won’t dart from corner to corner us­ing telepa­thy, or drag its pegs like a ma­niac. It’s not what you’d call sporty in the han­dling de­part­ment, but it’s sure-footed, de­pend­able, sta­ble and steers with lit­tle fuss. Spoked wheels are shod with Met­zeler Tourance dual pur­pose tyres (140/80 x 17in rear, 110/80 x 19in front) and give plenty of grip in the wet, dry and mud.

Made in a for­mer state-of-the-art fac­tory Bmw-built Husq­varna fac­tory, the SWM is screwed to­gether with a mix Ger­manic qual­ity and Ital­ian flair. You get a lot of top-notch equip­ment for your seven-and-a-bit grand: Brembo calipers, wavy discs, steel braided brake lines, Sachs shock, Fast Ace forks, hand­guards, en­gine bars, LED fog lights and de­cent-sized Givi pan­niers.

It’s an SWM… a what? See right to find out about the Ital­ian brand

Proof you don’t need mas­sive power and a big wal­let for ad­ven­ture ac­tion

Wide bars, sweet throt­tle ac­tion and pleas­ingly vibe-free mir­rors for the SWM It’s not an alien eye, it’s an LED fog light

Qual­ity parts for an af­ford­able price. We like it

Givi pan­niers add use­ful prac­ti­cal­ity

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