2017 SWM Superdual T review, test ride
30th Jul 2017 10:34 am
Motoroyale plans to bring a new Italian bike maker to the Indian market, SWM. Sherman Nazareth gets astride the SWM Superdual T to find out what’s in store
If you’ve toured India on a motorcycle, you would have noticed that we don’t have the best road conditions here. And, until now, the selection of adventure touring motorcycles at our disposal has been very limited. There’s either the ridiculously heavy and sophisticated, big adventure tourers, or the Royal Enfield Himalayan. What we actually need is a mid-displacement, light, single-cylinder motorcycle that’s comfortable, rugged, simple and effective. Lucky for us, this segment is gathering steady momentum in India right now. People may have realised the practicality of this genre, or it could be the tall, commanding stance that motorcyclists are taking a shine to. Whatever the case may be, Motoroyale’s decision to bring the SWM Superdual T to the Indian market is a timely one.
The Superdual has gathered some steam in Australian and Eastern European markets, thanks to its rugged nature and frugal running costs, and we’re quite positive about how this bike will handle our Indian conditions. And the SWM Superdual T is not just made in a former Husqvarna factory; it’s actually based on the Husqvarna TE 630. So, we definitely have some off-road expectations from this motorcycle, more so from the X variant than from the T version we tested.
In terms of styling, the Superdual gets a typical adventure tourer theme – a tall stance, a raised front mudguard, a tall windscreen, raised side-slung exhausts and the provision to attach luggage. The LCD speedometer console is fairly simple, with a large digital readout for speed, a tachometer to the right and all the other information displayed at the bottom; the warning lights are housed on either side of the speedometer.
It employs a 600cc, single-cylinder, four-valve DOHC liquid-cooled motor that makes a healthy 57hp of peak power. SWM also offers a less powerful version of the engine that makes 47.5hp. The motor is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. As expected from large single-cylinder engines, there’s ample torque on tap and power delivery is predictable and linear. Although not the most refined motor in the market, it does have sufficient grunt to keep things fairly interesting, both on the highway and off road.
The Superdual T gets a dual cradle frame made of steel pipes and a lightweight alloy sub-frame. At the front are chunky 45mm upside-down forks that offer rebound adjustment, while at the rear, the bike is suspended on a Sachs monoshock that’s fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound. Suspension travel is plentiful – 210mm at the front and 270mm at the rear – which allows it to handle bumpy and broken roads well.
Ground clearance is at a decent 180mm but that makes the saddle height extremely tall at 898mm, even besting that of full-size adventure touring bikes. This riding position, however, is commanding and quite comfortable, even for some amount of off-roading. The Superdual stands 2,240mm long, 905mm wide and 1,240mm tall, while the wheelbase is 1,510mm. Dry weight is kept to a fairly light 169kg and the Superdual gets a 19-litre fuel tank.
The T version gets 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wire spoke wheels, while the X version gets 21- and 18-inchers. Braking duties are carried out by a single 300mm disc at the front and a 220mm disc at the rear. Both front and rear brake calipers are floating type and are equipped with off-road ABS. During our short test ride, the brakes did feel a bit underpowered; it would definitely benefit from a little more bite. But the Metzeler Tourance tyres did offer a pretty good level of grip.
On the go, the SWM feels like a really tall motorcycle; the long travel suspension and 19-inch front wheel keep feedback levels quite low. So, dipping into corners does feel a bit vague and is not as predictable as some of the bigger, premium adventure tourers. The throttle also has a bit of a snappy nature to it and that can make things a bit unpredictable going through the curves. Overall, the Superdual T does feel like a decently capable, fairly rugged adventure tourer that does well when ridden in a more relaxed manner.
So, while it sits directly alongside the likes of the Kawasaki KLR650 and the Suzuki DR650 in terms of configuration, this will be the first big single adventure tourer to be sold in India. In terms of pricing, it has been mentioned that the motorcycle could be priced under Rs 5.5 lakh. If that holds true or if Motoroyale manages to set an even lower price, the Superdual has the potential to be extremely successful here.