- Stroll with the Alien over 12 days and 2,000 km
- Single cylinder, 692 cm3, 75 hp at 8,500 rpm, 72 Nm at 6,750 rpm, 157 kilos dry, € 10,290
- In the saddle
- In the city
- Motorways and expressways
- Comfort / Duo
Stroll with the Alien over 12 days and 2,000 km
Single cylinder, 692 cm3, 75 hp at 8,500 rpm, 72 Nm at 6,750 rpm, 157 kilos dry, € 10,290
One day I was chatting with a badger friend of mine who praised the protective qualities of his plastic-clad steed, while I was freezing them seriously on the handlebars of something improbable in the turbulence caused by the eddies of the lighthouse. After a while the gasman having put the balls too much I put back on my machine and with a furious blow of gas, I made the first wheelie of my life as a biker. It was a long time ago, I had a homemade "Tribsa" (Bonnie engine and BSA frame) and the other was strutting in faired teutonic..
Well, you’ll laugh, but the same thing happened to me with this ostro-Scandinavian hybrid that is the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 on the port of my good town of Sète…. This is to tell you if the spirit of this bike is in the cafe racer line. When I had put my buttocks on this ersatz saddle, I immediately found myself on familiar ground, in fact it was a long time since a machine had invited me to detail it from the first turns of the wheels, rather encouraging me to discover its performance at the outset rather than its technological qualities.
Come on, come with me I’ll show you around.
The Vitpilen 701 immediately catches the eye, to say the least. In a dozen or so days spent in his company, not one has happened where I have not been challenged by any biker (or even by the constabulary …) who wanted to know what this strange person was. gear. As in more the mark appears only on certain discrete places and only in logo, it is in your interest to seriously revise the history of this one before taking the sling so as not to pass for an uncultivated one..
Two wheels, a frame, a fork, a headlight, a saddle and a single cylinder, here is the result of the races. We have the impression that one end is missing as the space between the bottom of the saddle and the plate holder is important, we almost want to turn the latter but as it also serves as a support for the indicators, we will the fader. If we continue from an aesthetic point of view, I wondered for a moment if the designer had not smoked a little when drawing the curve of the radiator; and then four drops of rain while I was in jeans and a return with temperatures well below the seasonal norms convinced me otherwise.
For the rest it is a real exercise in style, we love it or hate it, but it cannot be ignored. The engine base is the liquid mono 690 from KTM, 70 donkeys, a little torque, a bird’s appetite and a hell of a potato, the ideal mono in a way and like Husky now belongs to Katoche the prices of returns are reduced as much.
Apart from that, as it is necessary to be in tune with the times, the machine has a disconnectable ABS, a traction control, a “ride by wire” accelerator, an “up and down” shifter. », A digital dashboard and absolutely brilliant lighting.
From a braking point of view, the 320 mm single front disc is ultra efficient and enduring, the thing which serves as a retarder behind is still sufficient to seat the bike at the entry of a curve..
Note that the finish is remarkable, you will tell me you have to justify the price of the tool !!
Anecdotal…. if she is courageous, a passenger can try the experience with you, there is a small place on the back of the saddle and two footrests.
In the saddle
No need for a stepladder to climb on it, despite the 830 mm saddle height, even the 1.80m rider will not put both feet on the ground. The tank seems long enough, don’t worry it is, so if you have fin-length arms, forget about it. We are well supported on the wrists, the bracelets welcome you like torture and what surprises the most is the small clutch lever, it looks like a piece of it is missing .. weird. Once placed on the saddle we form a good fit with the machine and, between the design of the tank and the radiator wheelbase there is a certain protection. ‘dare not even imagine the cost price for the slightest slip.
The dashboard boils down to a large counter assembly plus lots of other more or less readable stuff … oh yes, we discover the gear engaged, the clock, a partial double trip, the mileage remaining to be covered before pushing and the fact that you forgot to tuck in the side.
In the city
The single-cylinder is invited to the party and from the first turns of the wheels we tell ourselves that the ramp is going to be surprisingly easy. With its 170 kilos fully loaded, its GP-style wheelbase and the power inherent in the KTM mono, this quickly proved to be positive. Put .. but the Swedes gave me a bike !! Admittedly, below 2,200 turns it knocks but it was enough for me to put a trickle of gas to avoid losing my dentures. The selector is perfectly positioned and as in addition you do not even need to press the clutch lever, the smoothness and precision of the gearbox mean that driving, even in the worst traffic jams, is absolutely not tedious. . In the end, we drive regularly at 50 km / h stalled in third gear at 3,500 rpm. Apart from that we quickly reach the prison box, even in 2 or 3 and as the tachometer turns out to be perfectly illegible (I thought for a long time that it was about the temperature …) we start to drive to the old one, all to the ear and the vista, blithely laughing at their limitations !!
Motorways and expressways
When I leave Lyon I usually take a stretch of the motorway, both to test the machines on this very specific exercise, but also to get out of the ambient pollution as quickly as possible. Each time I find myself slaloming between the heavyweights, watching for the slightest mobile radar, avoiding the penguin who suddenly remembers that his mother-in-law lives in Ternay and that he is going to miss the exit and to be careful not to pass the beacon at a reprimanded speed. With all this I really do not take care to take advantage of the relative velocity of the tested machine, except however at the end of the course when I can chain the few welcome curves. And at 130 km / h on the last report, the big mono purrs at 5,000 rpm.
So what to think? Apart from the fact that this tool is completely inappropriate for this kind of exercise, we can take full advantage of the vibrations inherent in mono, the total lack of protection, the impossibility of seeing anything in the mirrors and also of the speed with which one can find oneself in a rack as long as one wishes to shorten the torture. Because it is almost capable of hitting 200 km / h … on the German motorway, of course! Result of the races, forget … because the motorcycle, even if it reveals certain capacities, will only adapt to this use in a purely episodic way..
Tradition also dictates that I take the lavender route to return to my homes. Good route for those who wish to familiarize themselves with an unknown machine, before taking it to survey distant horizons. Well there, immediately, we feel that the beast finds a ground much more favorable to the expression of its character. A front axle of absolutely brilliant neutrality and precision, lines which absorb all the faults of the road without disturbing the trajectory of the motorcycle and an excellent agreement between fork and combination such that the motorcycle is absolutely revealed. not tricky even on this damn blind turn that I always forget and in which I regularly enter a bit too quickly.
We juggle easily with the gearbox, completely forgetting the clutch thanks to this decidedly very practical shifter and the single-cylinder is not very stingy in times revealing itself more absolutely diabolical when it starts to scream. I had barely done a hundred miles that I could get a very precise idea of the bike, it was good, I was going to take it on a roadtrip and I will not have to carefully note the qualities and faults..
Some swear by the 100 horsepower minimum. There are "only" 75 here, but they’re worth a lot more! I caught myself riding with the banana, taking advantage of the present moment and telling myself that in a hundred terminals I will be less proud with my loose wrists…. This turned out to be correct and from Bagnols sur Cèze I really regretted the comfort of my big trail. It was still gone for a good week of walking, I really wondered if it was really my age…. the rest forced me to come back to my doubts, because the pleasure box largely dominated that of discomfort. It is true that the rider’s bust swivels ideally around the driving position, that the legs perfectly enclose the tank and that the slightest pressure on the footrests leads the motorcycle into a ballet perfectly punctuated by the sequence of turns; banana, I tell you !!
A 320 mm diameter disc at the front clamped by a four-piston caliper with radial mounting and, at the rear, a 240 mm microgroove coupled to a floating caliper, all largely helped by a latest generation ABS, you go tell me, there is plenty to stop the featherweight.
If the front brake is particularly effective with an excellent attack and a power of a formidable efficiency, the rear is content to play a role of retarder at the entry of a curve and fishing a little by its lack of endurance, was it due to ABS? It surprised me a bit…. It seems that we can deactivate the ABS, but for me, who am a fan of this safety progress, I did not even have the desire.
Comfort / Duo
The saddle, in terms of comfort, seems to have been directly cut in the Scandinavian forest and turns out, like the majority of cafe racers, just comfortable enough to go from one bar to another. If we add to that the strong pressure on the half-handlebars we quickly realize that this bike is the antithesis of a long-distance road. It is true that, as I have already said, pleasure takes over in the face of discomfort but, after 150 km, the need to stop is essential..
The place reserved for the passenger is purely symbolic and making limits on this sheathed seat cowl turns out to be complicated, especially since the seat is very slippery and that at the slightest acceleration we can easily read what is there. written on the pilot’s t-shirt !
To be more minimalist, you have to get up early. I did not even dare to go and look under the seat whose secure opening is carefully concealed, nor even thought for a moment to attach anything to the motorcycle. It is still good to know that in the Powerpart catalog from Husky there is a suitcase kit, a rear bag and another tank but I do not even dare to imagine the mouth of the machine decked out in these unsightly accoutrements. A small regret however, that of not having arranged the bar end mirrors surely more effective than Mickey’s ears much too sensitive to vibrations and possibly the Akrapovic exhaust which must put the finishing touch to both the look but also in the tone of the bike.
The tank, which could easily be placed as a work of art on the sideboard in your living room, contains about a dozen liters, which is more than enough given the fact that if you manage to make 250 terminals in a row (maximum theoretical autonomy) placed on this tool well resting on the wrists and largely subjected to the vibrations dispensed by the berlingue, you will easily be able to claim the performance index. And if you turn the handle a little more, which the machine clearly encourages you to do, you will be satisfied with some 170 kilometers.
I loved the reactions of people trying to find out what the mark of this alien was…. Husqvarna … but they don’t just make chainsaws? This is to tell you the oblivion into which the Swedish manufacture had fallen, which, excuse the little, was nevertheless in 1983 the first brand to impose a 4-stroke in enduro..
I really think that the KTM – Husky marriage, far from being a union of convenience, will in the years to come, give birth to very beautiful things, quite in tune with the times. In the era when a liter of fuel is worth more than that of the binouze, the concept of the light motorcycle, not very greedy, easy to drive, holding remarkably on the ground, having efficient braking and well propelled by a blowing engine. inexhaustible, is led to largely replace missiles and pachyderms. It was a real pleasure to test this medium displacement which brought me back to the essence of the bike. There are some who will laugh at the micro size of the beast, the virtual impossibility of touring or the inherent fatigue due to the discomfort of the machine, those there have certainly never made the road to the Alps. in 500 mono from the roaring twenties … too bad for them !
From a price point of view, of course the strap is not given (10,290 euros), but as we are there at the stage of the motorbike pleasure, when we want pleasure we do not count !
- The single cylinder
- Road holding and agility
- Passenger seat
- Dashboard reading
- Rear brake a little light
- Quite exclusive motorcycle
The technical sheet of the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
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