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The Husqvarna Vitpilen & Svartpilen 401 are stunning looking motorcycles

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These have been at the top of a very short list of motorcycles that we’ve longed to see in production for two years. Now, finally, they’re here.

They did not disappoint. Since the reveal of the two, ‘concept’ machines at this very same EICMA show back in 2014, we’ve been keen to see the final production versions. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. And then other times you’re rewarded for your patience. Today’s reveal of the production ready Svartpilen 401 and Vitpilen 401 has confirmed that patience is indeed a virtue.

The crowd at the launch was so big that it was hard for us to find a space to witness the event. In the end we left the mass of onlookers to their show and waited just another couple of hours so that we could get a chance to inspect the final bikes in all their glory. After two years, a couple more hours delay was not going to be a problem.

Svartpilen 401

Let’s kick all of this talk off with a little naming lesson. The Svartpilen is the black one. The name – in Swedish – actually translates into Black Arrow and it’s an adequate moniker.

Based around the KTM 390 Duke, the single-cylinder engine will be plenty powerful enough for mos riders but this bike is all about making a statement; in both design and in riding terms.

This version of the machine is a little rougher and rugged in its outlook. With darker components, higher bars and more protective bodywork elements it’s the (only so slightly more) brute to the Vitpilen’s beauty.


Vitpilen 401

The silver one. Taking designer Maxime Thouvenin’s simplicity concept to its absolute maximum (or should that be minimum?), the Vitpilen 401 is Husqvarna’s answer to what they like to call an ‘absolutely essential’ motorcycle.

Super sleek bodywork, an accessible riding position, LED lights and no electronics to ‘get in the way’, it’s intended to be an invitation to its owner to just ‘sit down and ride’.


Specifications – SVARTPILEN 401

Engine

  • Engine type Single cylinder, 4-stroke
  • Displacement 375 ccm
  • Bore/stroke 89/60 mm
  • Power 32kW @ 9.000/min
  • Torque 37Nm @ 7.000/min
  • Compression ratio 12.6:
  • Starter/battery Electric starter/12V 8Ah
  • Transmission 6 gears
  • Fuel system Bosch EFI (throttle body 46 mm)
  • Control 4 V/DOHC with cam levers
  • Lubrication Wet sump with 2 oil pumps
  • Engine oil BelRay EXP 15W-50
  • Primary drive 30:80
  • Final drive 15:45
  • Cooling Liquid cooling
  • Clutch Multi disc slipper clutch
  • Engine management/ignition Bosch EMS

Chassis

  • Frame Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
  • Subframe Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
  • Handlebar Forged aluminium
  • Front suspension WP-USD Ø 43 mm
  • Rear suspension WP-Monoshock
  • Suspension travel front/rear Front 142mm / rear 150mm
  • Front brake ByBre, opposed four piston caliper, brake disc Ø 300 mm
  • Rear brake ByBre, single piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 230 mm
  • ABS Bosch 9.1MB two channels
  • Wheels front/rear Spoked wheels with aluminium rims, 3 x 17″; 4 x 17″
  • Tyres front/rear Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 110/70-R17; 150/60-R17
  • Chain 5/8 x 1/4″ / X-Ring
  • Silencer Stainless steel/ Aluminum silencer with regulated catalytic converter
  • Steering head angle 65°
  • Triple clamp offset 33 mm
  • Trail 95 mm
  • Wheel base 1357 +/-15,5mm
  • Ground clearance 170 mm
  • Seat height 835 mm
  • Tank capacity (approx.) 9,5 litres/ 2.5 litres reserve
  • Weight (without fuel, approx) 150 kg

VITPILEN 401

Engine

  • Engine type Single cylinder, 4-stroke
  • Displacement 375 ccm
  • Bore/stroke 89/60 mm
  • Power 32kW @ 9.000/min
  • Torque 37Nm @ 7.000/min
  • Compression ratio 12.6:1
  • Starter/battery Electric starter/12V 8Ah
  • Transmission 6 gears
  • Fuel system Bosch EFI (throttle body 46 mm)
  • Control 4 V/DOHC with cam levers
  • Lubrication Wet sump with 2 oil pumps
  • Engine oil BelRay EXP 15W-50
  • Primary drive 30:80
  • Final drive 15:45
  • Cooling Liquid cooling
  • Clutch Multi disc slipper clutch
  • Engine management/ignition Bosch EMS

Chassis

  • Frame Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
  • Subframe Chromium-Molybdenum-Steel trellis frame, powder coated
  • Handlebar Steel
  • Front suspension WP-USD Ø 43 mm
  • Rear suspension WP-Monoshock
  • Suspension travel front/rear Front 142mm / rear 150mm
  • Front brake ByBre, opposed four piston caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
  • Rear brake ByBre, single piston, floating caliper, brake disc Ø 230 mm
  • ABS Bosch 9.1MB two channels
  • Wheels front/rear Spoked wheels with aluminium rims, 3 x 17″; 4 x 17″
  • Tyres front/rear Metzeler M5 110/70-R17; 150/60-R17
  • Chain 5/8 x 1/4″ / X-Ring
  • Silencer Stainless steel/ Aluminum silencer with regulated catalytic converter
  • Steering head angle 65°
  • Triple clamp offset 33 mm
  • Trail 95 mm
  • Wheel base 1357 +/-15,5mm
  • Ground clearance 170 mm
  • Seat height 835 mm
  • Tank capacity (approx.) 9,5 litres/ 9,5 litres reserve
  • Weight (without fuel, approx) 148 kg

 

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NEWS

Custom of the Week: BMW R100RS by Bolt Motor Company

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MOST CUSTOM BUILDERS are juggling careers, building bikes as a side gig. Adrián Campos falls into that category: he’s the sporting director for Campos Racing, the team founded by his father Adrián Campos Sr, the former Minardi F1 driver.

Adrián Jr. is surrounded by high-tech missiles capable of 208 mph (335 kph), but he’s also nuts about motorcycles. So he started customizing classic bikes, as an antídoto to the ultra-modern race machinery that absorbs his working day.

His first build garnered enough interest to turn his side gig into a fully-fledged second business. Bolt Motor Company is now on its seventeenth build, and employs seven team members.

Bolt shares a workshop in Valencia with Campos Racing. But while the race team preps cars for the Formula 2, Formula 3 and GP3 race series, Adrián is swinging spanners on bikes like this stunning 1982 BMW R100RS.

We’ll admit it’s not the wildest custom boxer we’ve seen. But even though the style is well established, the perfect proportions and level of finish are something else. And the client wasn’t even looking for anything fancy; “He wanted a comfortable cafe racer for two people,” says Adrián, “so that’s what we did.”

The donor arrived in a pretty good condition, but it left in an even better state. There’s fresh paint and powder everywhere, from the motor right through to the forks, frame and tank.

Bolt tweaked the airhead’s stance by lowering the front forks internally just over two inches, then installing a pair of Hagon shocks at the rear. The fuel tank is stock, but the subframe and seat are custom made. The subframe’s a bolt-on affair, and the main frame’s been detabbed and cleaned up.

The taillight’s a particularly nice touch. Bolt built it into the seat rather than the rear loop, along with integrated rear turn signals. The whole setup’s barely visible—until it lights up.

They’ve also added some room for the customer to ‘customize’ his BMW at home. There’s a second tank and seat in a different paint scheme, which can be swapped out via four fasteners for the seat, and one for the tank. The second seat has it’s own plug-and-play taillight too.

Bolt have kept things practical too. The BMW’s airbox is still in play, and it’s also equipped with a BMW oil cooler and crash bars. Plus there’s a discreet inner fender at the rear. The exhaust headers have been shortened and run into a pair of generic cone mufflers, with the side stand relocated to work around them.

The cockpit’s sporting new handlebars, grips, bar-end mirrors and Motogadget bar-end turn signals. There’s a new master brake cylinder too, with some really neat plumbing. Up front is an LED headlight, tucked into a custom-made bucket.

Bolt rewired the bike from top to bottom and tucked away as much as they could. A set of Motone switches have their wires running inside the bars, while a Motogadget speedo has its cable routed through the BMW’s hollow steering stem nut.

This sort of consideration is rife, with every last nook and cranny cleaned up. We’ve spotted stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, nifty choke pulls on the carbs and a OEM-looking Bolt Motor Co. plaque on the side of the motor.

The classic white BMW motorsports livery is on point too. And Bolt have shunned the ubiquitous Firestone Deluxe Champion tires, going for the saw tooth tread of Shinko Classics instead.

We doubt that Bolt #17 could lap a track anywhere near as fast as a Campos race car.

But it’s just the sort of simple, classic ride we’d pick for getting to the track in the first place—via some leisurely Spanish back roads.


This article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here by permission.

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Video: Watch Sarah Lezito show you how to drift a motorcycle

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Yes, drifting on two wheels is possible. Especially if you’re an insanely talented stunt rider from France.

There are a few stunt riders worth following across social media and YouTube but few get the numbers of French stunter Sarah Lezito.

Shot in a cold, wet and snowy location, it’s hardly the easiest of environments for riding a motorcycle – although possibly better for skids! – but the control from Lezito, and her instruction, is captivating.

Why learn how to drift? Well, Lezito says that it might help in learning how to save from slipping, keeping the balance on your bike or just improving your stunting skills.

And her top tips?

  • First find a small bike – a 50cc or 125cc machine that’s easy to handle.
  • Find a slippery spot, like a wet floor after some light rain.
  • Put hard tyres on the rear and more air in the front tyre.
  • Protect everything… On you and your bike.
  • Prepare to crash. A lot.

We’re hoping she’ll be adding to her channel over the coming months and that this is the start of a series of ‘How To…’ videos from the young stunt rider.

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