Earlier this month, Bajaj confirmed that it would bring the Husqvarna brand in India next year by launching two motorcycles – the Svartpilen 401 and the Vitpilen 401 – from the Swedish two-wheeler manufacturer. Previously, the company had also held a customer clinic in Pune for existing KTM owners, where they could test ride both the motorcycles and give their feedback. ().
Now, a Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 prototype has been spotted testing around Pune, giving rise to speculation that the bike might be modified for the Indian market. While the international-spec Svartpilen 401 rides on spoke wheels, the camouflaged motorcycle caught testing was seen running on alloy wheels sourced from the KTM 390 Duke. However, the test mule was running on the same Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR enduro tyres from the international Svartpilen, as opposed to the Metzeler Sportec M5 as seen on the KTM.
One of the reasons for Husqvarna switching to alloy wheels for the India-spec Svartpilen 401 could be the fact that spoke wheels aren’t tubeless-tyre compatible and also because alloy wheels would probably be more cost effective than the premium spoke wheels seen on the international Husqvarnas. The prototype sported grab rails as well, which have been mandatory for motorcycles sold in India.
Additionally, this test mule had KTM branding on the engine cases, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Bajaj is probably in the midst of streamlining the production switch for the small Huskies from Austria to India (the 401s share their motor with the 390 KTMs). Husqvarna previously announced that production of the 401s will shift to India by late 2018 (for export), and the test mule is likely to be an early made-in-India prototype undergoing testing for quality and other parameters.
This appears to be the first time Bajaj is making significant changes to a KTM or Husqvarna product for our market. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the final bike comes in this spec. If it does, it might set a precedent for future products, including the highly anticipated KTM 390 Adventure.
Apart from the above mentioned changes, the test bike looked visually similar to the international-spec Svartpilen 401. It has street-scrambler styling and has a more upright and comfortable riding posture than the urban-focussed Vitpilen 401. Both the bikes are likely to be sold alongside the KTMs and are expected to carry a premium of around Rs 20,000-30,000 over the KTM 390 Duke. You can read more about the bikes here.