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City weapon loses single-cylinder motor and gains more flexible – and powerful – twin
The old 701 Svartpilen was a decent motorcycle hindered by a preposterously high price – £9349 for a 693cc single?! – and the existence of a cooler, more aggressive and cheaper café racer style option in the Vitpilen
701. With this new twin-cylinder version, Husqvarna evidently want to broaden out their Svartpilen’s appeal. The engine is the 894cc parallel twin from the 890 Duke R (tested on page 44), which makes 119bhp and 73 lb.ft of torque – a significant step-up on the 701’s 70bhp. More importantly, the 890 is in a different galaxy when it comes to relaxed motorcycling. The 693cc single is an extraordinary device, but it’s as soothing and motorway-friendly as a hedge trimmer.
The chassis and swingarm appear to have come from the 890 Duke too, which means the Svartpilen uses
KTM’S linkage-free Progressive Damping System at the rear. Husqvarna are playing a similar trick with the upcoming Norden (see Bike, January 2020) – it also takes the chassis and engine from the 890 and transforms into an achingly cool adventure motorcycle. But where the Norden has a 21in front and 18in rear wheel, the Svartpilen has a much more road-friendly 19in front and 17in rear.
As ever, suspension is from WP the brakes are by Brembo. The dash looks similar to the latest one on the 1290 Super Duke R, which means the new Svartpilen could come with a similarly extensive suite of electronics.
There’s no word on price, but given Husqvarna’s tendency to take a KTM, add styling pizazz and bump up an already salty RRP, it could easily cost over £12,000 (the 890R comes in at £10,399).
MV Agusta have returned from lockdown by starting production of the 208bhp Rush 1000. Based on the Brutale 1000RR, it’s the latest in a long line of extraordinary-looking bikes from MV’S chief designer, Britain Adrian Morton.
‘There are very few compromises on the Rush,’ he tells Bike. ‘So, for example, the tail piece is ridiculously small – someone would have to be very much in love with you to get on the back. But who gives a shit about that? If you’re riding a 208bhp naked bike, you’re not expecting to be pillion friendly.’
Morton is an engaging character who has defined MV’S look for the last 16 years, from the striking 2005 F4 Brutale to the new, and very beautiful, Super Veloce (which sold out in just over 24 hours). ‘MV are cool to work for because there aren’t many filters,’ he says. ‘So when we want to do something visually over the top such as the Rush, there aren’t many people to say ‘no’. In other companies you’d have a lot of marketing specialists and arse kissers to get through.’
Part of the challenge with the Rush was that Morton was starting with the Brutale, which is hardly setting sail with a clean slate. ‘Yeah, the Brutale is already an extreme bike, so to take it further was a challenge. We had to give the Rush a more fabricated, show bike look, like something a one-off special builder might make, but with the same level of design effort and finish that we put into our production bikes.
‘The carbon fibre rear wheel cover, the SC exhaust system and the attention to detail is over the top really, but
MV is all about being individual. Obviously it won’t appeal to everyone, but that’s not the intention.’
Ironically, because the Rush running gear is all Brutale, it’s one of the easiest modern MVS to ride according to Morton.
‘Even though it’s got a lot of horsepower, you don’t have to ride it fast to get a good connection with it. It’s easy to ride, and is actually fairly comfortable for a normal-sized human like me.’