2015-11-03 Husqvarna Portugal-2368

Tested by: Bruce Wilson

This is the new 701 Supermoto and Enduro road-going models which mark a new era for Husqvarna, a company which since the KTM take-over is destined to release more road bikes in the future.

Both of these new motorcycles share the same core components, including their 690cc single-cylinder engines which produce a credible 67bhp. The steel-trellis frame is also universal, as are the attractive looking aluminium swingarms, but the head stock angles are unique to the application (44̊ Enduro / 45̊ Supermoto). Other crossover parts include the rear subframes, which are made from a super tough polyamide plastic and facilitate the 701’s 13 litre fuel tanks.

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The Supermoto gets 17” spoked wheels and tubeless road tyres. The Enduro has a 21” front wheel and a sizeable 18” rear, equipped with tubed, Continental dual purpose tyres. The rear brake systems on both bikes are the same, but up front it’s a different story. The Supermoto is fitted with a radially-mounted Brembo four-pot caliper and a 320mm disc, whilst the Enduro has a floating two-pot caliper and a 300mm disc. Switchable Bosch 9.1 ABS comes as standard on both machines and a plug-in feature for both models allows for the disablement of the rear ABS system only. Ride-by-Wire throttles are another common feature, for which a dial under the seats allow you to choose between three different power modes; Standard, Soft and Advanced.

Both bikes get WP suspension. The units might look similar, especially so because each pair facilitates separate legs for rebound and compression adjustments, but the internals and suspension lengths vary substantially. The Enduro is fitted with a bike specific variant of the brand’s closed cartridge forks, whilst the long-travel monoshock at the rear comes with rebound and high/low speed compression damping otpions. The Supermoto’s suspension is equally as adjustable, but the road focused units see completely different internals and a reduction in travel.

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Riding the Husqvarna 701 Enduro

Weighing 145kg, these aren’t the normal lightweight enduros I’m used to and I was dreading the tricky descent. The sheer physical size and weight of the machine makes you question just how gifted such a machine could be on the dirt, but in the right hands it was extremely capable. Aesthetically speaking, it looked like it should be, too. The Enduro had big wide bars, substantial sized wheels and a stonkingly tall and wide seat. It looked every bit the off-roader, but proved well suited to the road as well.

The model’s fitted with front and rear lights, plus LED indicators and a tiny speedo dash that you can toggle through for average speed and trip distances. There’s not much else to shout about, other than the ABS selection button. By holding it down you could disable the braking aid completely, but I never felt the need. Having ridden the best part of 40 miles on the road, in relative comfort and at a reasonable pace, we headed out into the hills of the Algarve.

It hit me instantly that this bike wasn’t the daunting beast I’d thought it to be. The power delivery was smooth, predictable and much more docile than expected. Riding on a combination of mud, sand and rocky trails, traction was never hard to find and the wide-banded gears meant that I could get away with stretching my selection for long periods of time. This being the case, I soon learned that the motor was fond of revs and it struggled to pull the taller gears when the ride lacked pace.

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