New SWM has a lot to offer
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.