The New Arrows
Husqvarna’s Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 were already fun naked bikes for an urban jaunt as they were, drenched in the brand’s Nordic heritage. For 2024, though, Husky decided the white and black arrows needed something new. The company sure delivered. The two bikes have undergone their most expansive technical revamp since… Well, ever.
We’re not just talking about new clothes here (figuratively speaking, the motorcycles are as naked as they’ve ever been). Husky has chucked out virtually everything that lived under the previous models’ body panels and introduced a brand-spanking-new frame and engine. Yet, the agile riding experience is set to remain the same. Let’s see what the new bikes promise for 2024.
Some New, Some Old
Starting with the engine, the old 373cc powerplant—derived from Husqvarna owner KTM’s last-generation 390 series—is gone. Continuing in the same vein, however, it has been replaced with the LC4c engine, which is also found in the 2024 KTM 390 Duke. It’s an entirely different beast and offers some performance and power improvements. This new single-cylinder engine has a 399cc displacement and puts out a reported one extra horsepower. Due to completely redone engineering, it promises to offer better weight distribution.
The LC4c engine didn’t fit in the old frame, so the Vitpilen and Svartpilen also got updated in that department. They now sport a steel trellis and a new, lightweight aluminum swingarm. With the new frame comes a longer 53.4-inch wheelbase and a bit lower seat height (32.2 inches vs. 33 inches). The Vitpilen 401 also gets a new handlebar, which replaces the clip-ons of the 2023 model that some riders found uncomfortable.
The WP Apex front fork and rear shock (with rebound and preload adjustability) feature 5.9 inches of travel. The rear travel is the same as in 2023, but the front has gained an extra 0.3 inches of movement range. Finally, the wheels are still 17-inch cast aluminum wheels, with the Vitpilen shod with Michelin Power 6 and Svartpilen with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires.
In the transmission department, we see some minor revisions but nothing too drastic. Both bikes come standard with KTM’s Easy Shift quickshifter, making clutchless gear changes possible. We get two ride modes (Street and Rain) that the rider can control via the fine-tuned five-inch TFT display. Smartphone connectivity features come standard.
Altogether, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen should remain nimble and agile machines with a modest bit of additional oomph. With cornering-ABS and the rethought frame and ergonomics, the bikes promise to deliver smooth and predictable handling. Depending on the size of your frame, the new frame could also make the small motorcycles a touch more comfortable.
The 2024 Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 will be available from March 2024. At the time of writing, North American MSRPs weren’t yet available, but looking at other markets, the new Huskies should only cost a tiny bit more than the 2023 models. That’s always appreciated.