Husqvarna Motorcycles are widely known and respected in the offroad world for a heritage of competition and numerous motocross and enduro world championships. Originally founded in Sweden in 1903, Husqvarna Motorcycles have been designing and manufacturing in Mattighofen, Austria since 2013. With an increasing craze for the 250cc motorcycles in India, Bajaj Auto decided to launch the premium Husqvarna in India with the 250 segment. On the 6th India Bike Week-2019, Husqvarna the Svartpilen 250 and the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 quarter-liter motorcycles were showcased. Later the bikes were launched at Rs 1.80 Lakhs.
Just like the bigger Svartpilen and Vitpilen, these smaller Husqvarnas share the same DNA as their Austrian counterpart, the KTM. Both these motorcycles are powered by the same 248.8cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor mated to a 6-speed gearbox as the KTM 250.
Both Vitpilen and Svartpilen share a lot in common such as the same trellis frame, suspension, and braking hardware. Braking is carried out by a 320mm disc at the front and a 230mm disc at the rear, sourced from Bybre, while the suspension is handled by a 43mm front fork and a mono-shock. The suspension is identical on both bikes with 142mm of travel at either end. Interestingly, the ground clearance of 145mm and seat height of 835mm are also identical. The seat is placed noticeably higher than that of any of the smaller capacity KTMs on sale in India, but the bikes are compact and slim, so this should help balance out the issue. They also get the same single-pod LCD digital instrument console.
While both the bikes are built on similar designs, yet they have been positioned differently. The Vitpilen 250 gets neo-retro Café Racer styling, and it does look quite striking. The Svartpilen looks more like a Scrambler and gets a taller handlebar. The wheels and tyres on the bike are different as well. While both bikes sport alloy wheels, the Svartpilen uses an 8-spoke design, and the Vitpilien gets a 5-spoke unit.
The Svartpilen and the Vitpilen share a lot of similar features, but the two feel quite different from each other in the way they ride, and the difference is pretty well highlighted. Based on engine displacement and peak output figures, the two Husqvarnas slot themselves against the Leoncino 250, a bike that costs significantly more. Apart from that motorcycle, the bikes don’t face any direct rivals, due to this unique placement of the bikes, they seem to have the potential to create a separate space for themselves.
Bajaj Auto had previously suggested that Husqvarna will be positioned as a more premium brand over KTM. However, Husqvarna now appears to be adopting a more aggressive introductory pricing strategy which was adopted to help establish the relatively unknown Swedish brand in the Indian market. The Husqvarna’s will be sold and serviced through KTM dealerships. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, the market performance of the bikes can not be assessed as of now. With all said and done both the bikes feel exciting and seem to have all the necessary ingredients for a successful motorcycle.