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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The odd areas of deep sand were a particular nightmare and once or twice I was convinced the front was ready to fold, as it squirmed around beneath me. You’d have got away with things much more on a lighter bike, but that shouldn’t be read as a negative comment. It really impressed me.

 

701 Enduro (11)

Specification: Husqvarna 701 Enduro

Engine:            690cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, SOHC

Peak power:    67bhp (49kW) @ 7500rpm

Peak torque:    50 ft-lb (68Nm) @ 6000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed

Frame:             Steel trellis-type

Tank capacity: 13 litres

Wheelbase:     1504mm

Suspension –

Front:              WP 4CS 48mm units with adjustable compression and rebound. 275mm of travel.

Rear:               Fully adjustable WP monoshock with 275mm of travel.

Brakes –

Front:              Brembo two-piston floating caliper, 300mm brake disc.

Rear:               Brembo single piston floating caliper and 240mm disc.

Dry weight:     145kg

Seat height:     910mm

Price:               £7999

Contact: www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

 

2015-11-03 Husqvarna Portugal-2244

Riding the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto

Most parts on the Supermoto mirror those on the Enduro, but the riding experience is completely different. The core changes between the two machines are the brakes, suspension and wheels and they combine to deliver you a road-going hooligan machine. In essence, it is the epitome of a supermoto. But this model is much more refined. The seat is huge and comfy, the rubber-mounted handlebars aren’t excessively vibey and the riding position is surprisingly spacious and considered.

In all, we tested the Supermoto for about 80 miles and the first 30 of those were in the dry, providing the perfect chance to get a feel for this model’s impressive agility and planted nature. It seemed unflappable when cresting the bumpy mountainous roads above the Portimao race circuit, its stiff chassis and fantastic WP suspension soaking up whatever came its way without causing it to shake its head. The brakes felt super sharp and the power was respectable, although it never once felt too much.

We rode the bike on a go-kart track for some fun, which was drenched. With thirty minutes up for grabs, I stayed out on circuit the whole time and really got a feel for the bike. The frame proved super informative and I always knew what my wheels were doing beneath me. Whenever the bike was upright, I didn’t hold back from thrashing the motor, which delivered smooth and linear power throughout every gear selected. On the opposite end of the scale, the bike’s braking was also impressive and I was pleased to note the ABS wasn’t too keen to kick in. With the right tyres, or better weather, I don’t doubt that the Supermoto could have been a demon around the track.

701 Supermoto (9)

Specification: Husqvarna 701 Supermoto

Engine:            690cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, SOHC

Peak power:    67bhp (49kW) @ 7500rpm

Peak torque:    50 ft-lb (68Nm) @ 6000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed

Frame:             Steel trellis-type

Tank capacity: 13 litres

Wheelbase:     1480mm

Suspension –

Front:              WP 48mm units with adjustable compression and rebound. 215mm of travel.

Rear:               Fully adjustable WP monoshock with 250mm of travel.

Brakes –

Front:              Brembo four-pot radial caliper and 320mm disc.

Rear:               Brembo single piston floating caliper on 240mm disc.

Dry weight:     145kg

Seat height:     890mm

Price:               £7999

Contact:          www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Husqvarna 701 Supermoto and Enduro launch report

Tony Carter

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