- The sassy sisters
- In the saddle
- In the city
- Motorways and expressways
- All Terrain
- Cycle part
- Comfort / Duo
- More info on Husqvarna 701
The sassy sisters
A hundred-year-old Swedish brand and owned by the Pierer group since 2013, the manufacturer Husqvarna Motorcycles likes to recall its past as a competitor on speed circuits. It was after 1945 that the company moved towards the production of off-road machines. Steeve McQueen, riding his 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross, testifies to the good health of the company at the crowned H. The latter, after focusing on pure offroad, returns to a more road segment with the 701 Enduro and especially the 701 Supermoto. To test the novelties, rendezvous is given in Lagos, Portugal, where it rarely rains in this dry region of the Algarve. In the last three years at least.
The myth of the journalist in the sun is regularly undermined by a wetter reality. The Swedish sisters test was abundantly watered and alcohol-free, in difficult weather conditions. The rain beats down like a storm on the Portuguese coast, lashing the air with more angle than a GP pilot in a state of grace…. What does it matter for these machines from a country where nature often dictates its laws.
Of course, the latter are less Nordic than their distant origins. And for good reason, they borrow many of their components from the KTM 690 SMC and 690 Enduro R. But the novelties do not come down to a simple marketing variation. Husqvarna is listed as a premium brand and it shows. First, in the refined aesthetic and elegantly colored graphics using the house color codes. White to lighten the volumes, blue to structure the middle part and yellow edging emphasizing the lively lines. Both on Enduro and Supermoto, the result is significant.
This search for high-end is reflected in the dressing. Compact and faceted mudguard, compact openwork scoops and rear buckle with taut surfaces. On the latter rests a long ribbed saddle optimizing grip and rather welcoming. The stern also houses the 13-liter fuel tank, weighing 5.2 kg. Placed under the saddle, it contributes to a better centralization of the masses. At its side, we appreciate the satin aluminum exhaust, at the original concave end.
Then comes the difference game. Thus, the Supermoto has handguards reinforced by solid metal side uprights when the Enduro houses its engine behind a composite shoe. Designed for at least opposing activities, the machines feature other elements specific to each, listed in the Technical section..
In the saddle
The sisters are great horses. Particularly the Enduro, with its 910 mm seat height…. The Supermoto peaks at "only" 890mm. Thin but wide enough, the seats are comfortable and the ergonomic position on board each of the frames. The adjustable Neken handlebars naturally welcome the hands. Rubberized for the sportswoman, naked for the adventurer, the footrests offer great grip. Narrow and light, the 701 give the lie to their displacement, even if large sizes are more welcome..
The instrumentation seems spartan, reduced to an ABS indicator next to an LCD window. There is a tachometer, clock, odometer and two partials. And that’s all. Do not look for the tachometer, the mono is piloted by the ear ….
In the city
We immediately sense an obvious and logical difference in behavior between the machines. The 701 SM efficiently manages mass transfers on its massive fork. Hyper agile, she steers on instinct, just waiting for an opportunity to raise her nose gear to the sky. Available, the block sometimes requires knitting of the selector to stay in phase with the traffic. What to appreciate the softness of the controls. In addition, the astonishing length of the single cylinder and its progressive response greatly limit this gymkhana..
The cycle part of the Enduro seems inevitably less precise and plays more rocking horses. His time will come ….
Motorways and expressways
Let’s focus on the 701 Supermoto. At the bottom of 6, we stick to 190 km / h in a flawless heading. Its longer final transmission makes it more pleasant on fast routes.
We will not talk about comfort, the Swede does not care. The two sisters hold the legal highway without difficulty. But both are waiting for paths more suited to their contrasting character. Less at ease, the Enduro can easily be used on asphalt. Its original pneumatic mounting, however, poses limits to the exercise.
This is the Holy Grail of SM. Except on the occasion of our test. In the rain, with barely grooved tires, dedicated to ample cornering, the exercise is quickly limited. The road 701 certainly adores gliding, but prefers that of its envelopes, overheated under the strain of its bewitching single-cylinder. We can only see the quality of the damping on the sometimes degraded coating of the secondary network. Always precise, the steering gear takes the machine from one side to the other effortlessly.
Particularly progressive, the implementation of the front caliper makes it possible to finely dose the decelerations. A real advantage on slippery roads. The ABS reacts late, but surely, on the two calipers, proving its sport design. Unfortunately, the kart circuit program literally falls apart.
The misfortune of one here makes the happiness of the other. Once the asphalt is behind it, the 701 Enduro reveals its potential. Its power-to-weight ratio makes the powder speak and propels the machine vigorously on large bumpy tracks. On this ground, she is at her ease and the suspensions swallow bleeds, bumps and bowls filled with water with the same ease. When the track tightens, Enduro requires more experience, appreciating a committed driving. As on the SM, handling is excellent and the Enduro reacts to impulses on the footrests.
When moving at reduced speed, the unit reacts with precision. Its availability facilitates more technical passages. If necessary, the clutch is used, the flexibility of the lever of which allows two-finger handling. The choice of one of the three engine maps also allows to have a behavior more adapted to current driving. Despite everything, the first gear is sometimes difficult to manage, as is the weight, more sensitive when maneuvering compared to a lower displacement..
Effective, WP suspensions easily withstand the strongest compressions. The operation of the shock absorber seems a little too firm in the more uneven passages and would benefit from more progressiveness. Conversely, the front axle secures the route. The 4CS fork absorbs small and large shocks with the same ease and appreciable progressiveness at the end of travel.
Whatever the conditions, Brembo braking is also very satisfactory. Progressive and easily dosed, the calipers also deliver significant power if needed. ABS disengaged, the machine is then easily rotated in tight bends. We were unable to test the system’s default enduro setting..
The 701 each benefit from an excellent chassis / suspension agreement. These adjustable ones optimize the evolutions on their respective ground. However, a new test of the Supermoto is necessary to identify all its abilities..
Sufficiently progressive and very powerful, the front caliper allows effective adjustment of the deceleration force. The rear element is just as flexible, providing additional maneuverability for the machines.
Comfort / Duo
Without real purpose for the 701, we will note all the same that the seats offer good ergonomics, but their finesse will not be illusory for long during longer trips..
An additional 7-liter tank, attached to the front, can be added to the Enduro, reinforcing its adventurous pretensions. Husqvarna advertises 5 liters per 100 km, but my experience of Austrian cousins estimates it a little higher, half a liter on average.
With its fake binoculars, Husqvarna is making a strong comeback in little-used segments. On the strength of its notoriety and the qualities of its machines, the Swedish brand can claim a legitimate success from these two models. These are also available for A2 license holders, with a power then limited to 30 kW.
Priced at € 9,650, the 701 Supermoto is a high-performance toy, energized by a single-cylinder, always surprisingly strong and long. For € 9,350, the 701 Enduro combines the performance of its suspensions with that of a very real versatility, by fitting mixed tires..
Their first competitors are obviously the KTM 690 SMC R and 690 Enduro R with a more distinctive aesthetic. Asking respectively € 9,350 and € 8,990, the Austrians admit that sometimes less equipment, but more complete instruments.
Flirtatious, the Swedish sisters are reserved for warm-blooded pilots who are definitely not cold in their eyes.
- Motor exuberance
- Evidence of handling
- High speed engine character
- Agility and precision of the chassis
- Electronic assistance
- Quality suspension
- Engine availability
- Electronic assistance
- Superlative suspensions
- To be determined
- Comfort in mixed use
- Weight in engaged use
More info on Husqvarna 701
- The technical sheet of the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto
- The technical sheet of the Husqvarna 701 Enduro
- The technical file of the Husqvarna 701 Enduro
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