Svartpilen 401: Almost Perfect...
A bit of fun that turned out to be much, much more.
Like a lot of people that will read this, I started riding motorcycles at a young age, I think i was about 6 years old when i got my first bike and since then i've been hooked. I passed my motorcycle test at 17 years old, back then it was higher on my list of priorities than getting a car and keeping warm and dry so for a time (around 5 years) I was what some people would call "a proper biker" and rode all year round, rain or shine.
I'm now 32 and that novelty has well and truly worn off, I still ride in the winter but only because I can't go more than a few weeks without throwing my leg over a bike. Its an addiction and I find myself struggling to deal with the strains of adult life when i haven't had my fix.
That being said, being an "Adult" isn't all bad, it means that you can buy yourself way better versions of the things you loved as a kid and for me, that is bikes! When i bought the Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen, it was only supposed to be a temporary thing just to get me by until i decided what my next big capacity bike would be. I liked the look of it and I already knew how much fun single cylinder engines were so i snapped it up second hand for 3K and it had only done 600 miles - bargain!
I had ridden the 401 at MCN's Festival Of Motorcycling at the Peterborough Showground, so i had a good idea of what the bike was capable of and how it would fair on my 30 mile commute but the more i rode it, the more i fell in love with it and i've now decided that if/when i buy another large capacity bike, it will not be replacing the Husky - this bike is staying!
The 401 feels similar to riding a pit bike on the road, lots of low down torque for a small capacity machine and still heaps of fun but you have a higher top speed, better build quality, better brakes, better suspension, better everything! The bike will get to 70mph pretty easily and sit there all day long with no issues - if you're willing to ring it's neck it will do 100mph, but the great thing about this bike is that its fun at lower speeds.
With a lot of the bike sharing the same parts as the KTM 390 (frame, swing arm, suspension, engine) Husqvarna had a great base to build on and for me the styling of this bike is on point.
I've been using this bike for weekend blasts as well as my daily commute and it does both very well - it handles the corners like a little supermoto and i've found myself riding this bike to work in the rain just because of how much fun it is!
The seat hight is pretty low at 32.9 inches but the seat itself is quite wide, so the shorter person may still not be able to flat foot this bike. It does look like a small bike but i'm about 6ft and dont feel cramped on it at all - You might think it looks too small for me but i'll be busy having so much fun that i won't care. :-)
These bikes were around 6K when they first came out but the prices of them have been slashed during the last year or so, you can pick up a brand new one for around 4K now and i think you get a lot of bike for your money.
If you're in the market for a new bike and don't plan on doing much motorway riding then i'd suggest you keep this on the list of bikes to try out - it really is a fantastic little machine and has reignited my love for 2 wheels.
For more info on my 401 check out my Youtube channel.