Since the time Husqvarna showcased its ‘Real Street’ Vitpilen 401 and the Swartipilen 401 concepts at the 2016 EICMA, the industry is abuzz to see some bonkers design unlike anything seen before on the streets. Ready to bring in the Swedish company’s name on the world stage, there were still speculations of where they will be made since Husqvarna is owned by KTM – a company that has Bajaj Auto as a shareholder.
Clearing the air, both Bajaj and KTM have released a joint press release and have confirmed that they intend to make the 401 models right here in India sometime in 2018 and sell them worldwide. Until then, however, the bikes will be made back home in Austria. But the Duke’s 390 engines that will run on these Huskies will be built right here in India by Bajaj.
This year, Bajaj and KTM are celebrating their 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership. We all know how well KTM has entered our markets with Bajaj handling most of the brand’s operation now including manufacturing all the KTM bikes at its Chakan facility in Pune and selling them all over the globe.
Along with this, Bajaj-KTM has also now secured a similar takeout with the Husqvarna brand because of KTM’s acquisition of the Husky in 2013. But all this will happen only towards the end of 2018 until where these 401 siblings and the 701 will be made at the KTM Mattighofen, Austria facility to give them a premium feel and use European components on them. But the engines that will run on these Huskies will be built right here in India by Bajaj since the beginning.
Then in 2018, the production of the 401 siblings will be shifted to Chakan where they will be made for the world market by Bajaj, similar to the KTMs’. The 701 might follow next year. They will also share floorspace with the KTM bikes once they hit the showrooms in India. Pricing and positioning are still matters to be discussed, and we will know those details as time progresses. Nonetheless, we are a happy lot.
As deciphered, the first models that will enter India are the Vitpilen 401 and the Swartipilen 401 which are based on the KTM Duke 390. Designed to strike, this machines has pure and progressive style cues from the future. Placed in a unique ‘retro’ segment in India’s sub-500cc space, it gets sleek bodywork forming clean lines and carries a unique single element body panel. The internal organs and the bone structure of this bike remain similar to the KTM Duke 390 including the engine, steel trellis frame, complete with the alloy swing arm and WP inverted telescopic front forks and braking systems.
This Husky will run on the similar large bore, single-cylinder, 375 cc engine performing on the KTM 390 and is housed within a bare, but advanced chassis. Exact power figures have not been revealed, but we believe it is similar to the Duke 390s’ 43.5 BHP and 35 Nm of torque.
Transmission duties are carried out by a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch while both the bikes will come with ride-by-wire throttle system, Bybre disc brakes at front and rear along with ABS as standard. USD Telescopic WP front forks and a rear gas charged mono shock would handle suspension for this motorcycle. They will feature a steel-aluminium exhaust that is expected to carry a unique exhaust note.
All these bikes are pitted as premium lifestyle products that come with ‘Modern Classis’ whose goal is to give you the oomph factor whenever you are seen riding on one of them. They are continuing the brand’s heritage in creating honest and innovative motorcycles that provide highly-enjoyable and inspiring riding experiences. And I think the Husqvarna is set to become the favourites, snatching it from the Duke itself.