Johannesburg - Fritz Schumacher, an influential economic thinker, famously said: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” Looking at the state of motorbikes these days, one may be forgiven for thinking that there is an overabundance of intelligent fools in the industry.
New kids on the block
Fortunately there are courageous geniuses in, among others, the Husqvarna stable. The Swedish brand recently formally launched their Vitpilen (White Arrow) and Svartpilen (Black Arrow) bikes in South Africa.
GALLERY: 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen
Aimed at a discerning target market, these bikes live up to Husqvarna’s tag line “Simple. Progressive.” – simple in the sense that, in terms of style and design, the bikes have been reduced to nothing more than what is absolutely essential, and progressive in terms of the technology used.
There are currently three bikes in the range: The 375 cm³ Vitpilen 401, the Svartpilen 401 with the same motor, and the flagship Vitpilen 701, which sports a modern 692.7 cc liquid-cooled, single cylinder engine that features the latest design and electronics technology, such as disengagable traction control. The engine offers peak power of 56kW and 72Nm of torque at 6750 rpm.
'Vision of street motorcycling'
Husqvarna says that the range marks a return to the simple spirit that originally made street motorcycling attractive. “The design is pure, has no industry influence and is true to the brand values of Husqvarna Motorcycles.
A motorcycle designed for people as an outward expression of their spirit, providing a new gateway to motorcycle culture. Presented in a visionary, modern and advanced form, they are the next step in Husqvarna Motorcycles’ vision of street motorcycling.”
The bikes’ names trace their origin back to the iconic Silverpilen of 1955, a two-stroke 175 cm³ bike that weighed less than 75 kg. In 1957, the Silverpilen evolved into the 200 cm³ Guldpilen, or Golden Arrow, which weighed the same, but added an extra horse to the power output.
The low weight made it eligible for 16-year-olds at the time, but the Swedish authorities considered it too dangerous and Husqvarna eventually withdrew it from the market.
Functional, comfortable and quality
It is the raw excitement of the simple machines of those days that Husqvarna is hoping to capture with the current bikes, while at the same appealing to the style-conscious segment of the market.
In view of this, they offer a wide range of accessories, which includes not just trick bits for the bikes but also apparel that provides a combination of quality and comfort, offering day-to-day functionality and optimum protection.
The range include the unique Pilen helmet, which features a highly effective ventilation system and a double-panel scratch-resistant visor. In addition, the helmet was designed to offer a comfortable fit for riders wearing glasses.
Although the Vitpilen and Svartpilen look extremely similar at first glance, there is a bit of subtle differentiation: the Vitpilen is purely a street bike, while the Svartpilen with its dual-sport tyres and headlight guard, among other subtle touches, cuts a more rugged look as an urban enduro. But they both fairly ooze style, and either would be perfect if you are looking to stand out from the crowd with a unique ride.