We came in late at night to shoot the 2 different bikes before they were whisked off to the EICMA motorshow in Milan, and with the press launch having just happened we are excited to now be able to show you the photos.
“With the Svart we wanted to pay homage to the rich off-road heritage of Husqvarna. It’s still very much a road bike, but certain accessories are designed to make your life a little easier, should the pavement end.
First and perhaps must obviously is the upright riding position, The tall wide bars and grippy pegs give you a little more leverage should you need to pitch sideways on a fireroad. The intergrated skidplate keeps mothernature from coming one with your crankcase.
The most aggressive street legal knobbies are mounted, suggesting the bike should spend most of its time off the asphalt.
A higher muffler is also mounted, giving a little more clearence for rocks and debris…
The headlamp has an integrated cage that fully encloses the bowl, offereing a lot of protection. The old headlamp grill has been reintepreted in a completely modern way.
And finally the bike runs a solo seat, with a more aggressive texture for better grip. The seat also makes room for a small utility rack in the rear which is matching theintegrated tank rank. These allow the rider, somwhere convient to store his tool kit or his tent.” -Bjorn Shuster
A little background on the bikes:
In 1955 Husqvarna introduced a revolutionary motorycle. While other manufacturers insisted on going larger and heavier, Husqvarna went lighter, smaller and..faster. The SilverPilen or “Silver Arrow” was a special motorcycle. It was a combination of a compact high output motor in a state of the art featherweight chassis that provided the base for an icon.
Husqvarna then utilized the talents of Sixten Saxon, a legendary Swedish industrial designer, to pen the beautiful shape of the Silver Pilen. Both the chassis and the appearance went on to directly inspire the furious red and chrome bombers that later dominated the off-road racing scene.
Almost sixty years later, Husqvarna is reinventing the concept of a small lightweight premium motorcycle. Once again, a high performance engine is housed in a lightweight compact chassis. The Avant garde aesthetics are the result of a partnership with another legendary designer, Gerald Kiska. The 401 Vit Pilen “White arrow in Swedish,” and the 401 Svart pilen “ black arrow” are today’s Husqvarnas. They are not recollections of the past, but rather future interpretations of what defines a modern motorcycle.
“It wasn’t our goal to do a “retrograde” design. When we looked at the 55’ Pilen, it wasn’t so much a source of visual inspiration as it was philosophical. I wanted to “cook” so to speak, using some of the same ingredients, but I wasn’t interested in copying the recipe. Purity, simplicity of form, economy of line, all the fundamentals of Husqvarna design language, doesn’t matter if it was 60 years ago, or now…the same mentality remains,” says senior designer, Björn Shuster.
Sporting upside down WP forks, lightweight trellis frames, powerful brakes,17 in wheels with modern rubber, and a powerful 400cc engine, the 401s are anything but antiquated. The pure forms and clean design enable a degree of versatility that is not often found on contemporary motorcycles. The Contrast between the Svart Pilen and the Vit Pilen showcases not only the visual variation, but also the functional intent that can be achieved on these bikes.
“A lot of modern machinery has become so hyper focused that it is difficult for the customer to inject a little of his/her own style into the bike, we wanted to create a platform that offers you a little more freedom. You want to run tall bars and run a high pipe for some fire road fun? Or perhaps you want a little more weight over the front end at your next trackday with the clip-ons? Maybe you just prefer one stance to another, it’s up to you!” says Björn.
“I’ve always been a fan of seventies bikes, in fact my very first road bike 21 years ago was a little cb400f. And who doesn’t love the unified bodywork of classic Spanish off-road bikes like an early Cota, and there’s always gonna be something really juicy about Vetter’s Hurricane..But I’m also a big fan of today’s brakes, the levels of grip, and the amount of punch coming out of today’s engines. And of course it’s nice when bikes start ;-). I had a little 305 Superhawk that I swear was flexing by more than a couple inches every time you put it in a corner, and the rim brakes on my mountain bike were far superior…but I still loved it.
I think there are an increasing number of folks like myself, who really want to ride contemporary machinery…but at the same time we don’t want to look like extras on a Michael Bay set ;-) At the moment there are not so many affordable options, but this could be about to change with these bikes”
“The concept for the color, trim and GFX on the Husqvarna 401 is a story of fraternal twins, they share a lot of similarities, but each has their own distinct character. The goal was to underline the features of the bikes using clean, minimal GFX. The darker colors of the SVARTPILEN emphasize it’s aggressive nature and rugged character while the rims, engine support and triple clamps are sandblasted aluminium helping to provide a light natural contrast.” – Elvin Helias.