We have been drooling over the Husqvarna 250 twins ever since they were launched before the lockdown. The ongoing global pandemic prevented us from the chance of riding the Huskies but fortune favoured us and we finally got a chance to discover what these exotic-looking motorcycles have to offer. The huskies share their internal components with the KTM Duke 250 but they differ a lot in styling and approach.
We had the motorcycles with us for a couple of days and we rode them extensively in varying conditions to see how the Huskies fare in different riding conditions. There’s one thing for sure, they do attract a lot of attention and when people come to know that they are Husqvarnas, the confusion grows even stronger because not many people know about this Swedish brand.
A brief history lesson
Husqvarna came into existence in 1689 but back then, instead of making drool-worthy motorcycles, they used to make armaments. Seems like the tagline ‘Made like a gun, goes like a bullet’ should have been reserved for the huskies. The Swedish brand entered the motorcycling industry in 1903 and went on to make a name for itself in the enduro circles. Husqvarna is primarily known for its dirt bikes but their foray in other segments of motorcycles proves that they are capable of producing some exciting set of two-wheels. The company was later acquired by KTM and that is when the story of platform sharing began. The Svartpilen 250 and the Vitpilen 250 are a product of the same spawning process where both the motorcycles share the same internals with the KTM Duke 250.
What sets them apart?
The Husqvarna 250 twins might share most of the things which constitute a motorcycle but they are strikingly different when it comes to the riding approach. The Vitpilen utilizes clip-on handlebars and coupled with rear-set footpegs, it has a more aggressive riding stance as compared to the Svartpilen. They both are donned in different colour shades too. Another major difference between the two is the set of tyres they come shod with. Vitpilen 250 has a set of road-biased tyres from MRF while the Svartpilen 250 gets dual-purpose tyres. The Svartpilen also has a tank bag stay mounted over the tank while the Vitpilen takes the minimalistic road and loses out on it. The Svartpilen 250 inclines more towards the Scrambler side and the Vitpilen 250 looks more like a café-racer. The Svartpilen 250 also has 8-spoked alloys while the Vitpilen 250 gets 5-spoke units.
Radical and minimalistic are the two words which best describe the Svartpilen 250 and the Vitpilen 250. Both the motorcycles command a strong road presence, fuelled by their rather radical looks. Both the motorcycles come in just one single colour. While the Vitpilen 250 sports a grey shade, the Svartpilen 250 gets a dark green shade, hinting at its scrambler approach. The Svartpilen has a rugged design accompanied by an upright stance. What adds to its brutish appeal are the dual-purpose tyres. The Vitpilen, however, will appeal more to the people who are into café-racers. Another thing which makes them stand apart is the premium fit and finish. They look well-built and have a certain ‘exotic’ appeal associated with them.
We were just one squeeze of the throttle away from realizing that the 248.8 cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, DOHC motor is borrowed from the KTM Duke 250. The engine casing might have a different logo engraved on it but it is essentially the same unit which we see on the Duke 250. It obviously matches the characteristics too and the engine is a high-revving unit. You have to keep the tachometer running in the higher revs to extract optimum performance from the quarter-litre mill. The Duke 250 derived engine makes 30 ps of peak power @ 9000 rpm and 24 Nm torque @ 7500 rpm.
The engine struggles a little below the 3000 rpm mark but comes alive as soon as you cross the mark. Being a high-revving unit, it requires you to keep working the gearbox while riding in urban conditions. There’s a strong surge of power once you cross the 7000 rpm mark and then the limiter cuts in at 10,500 rpm. If you are seeking refinement, you should look elsewhere because the motorcycles are far from refined and vibrations creep in once you start exploiting the power reserved in the higher revs. We managed to hit a top whack of 137 km/h but the comfortable cruising speed should be around 100-110 km/h. The engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission assisted by a slipper clutch.
Ride and handling
The Husqvarnas borrow the same split-trellis frame from the Duke 250 and the same suspension setup as well. Both these factors make these little huskies rather fun motorcycles to ride. The sub-frame, however, is redesigned for the Huskies. They both are excellent handling machines and do exactly what you tell them to do, without any drama. The Vitpilen 250 however, is the better motorcycle of the two in terms of handling, courtesy its road-biased tyres and clip-on handlebars. The clip-ons make the Vitpilen 250 more front biased and you know exactly what is happening down below.
This is one such department which is very subjective when you bring both the motorcycles into perspective. The Vitpilen 250 is the more aggressive of the two motorcycles and is more front biased, courtesy its low-slung clip-on handlebars. A lot of pressure is put on the rider’s wrist and the shoulders. If you aren’t accustomed to aggressive riding stance, the Vitpilen 250 might trouble you a bit by the end of the day. The Svartpilen 250 comes out as the more comfortable of the two but its riding position isn’t upright either.
The braking setup too, is borrowed from the KTM Duke 250 and both the motorcycles get 320mm disc brakes up front, coupled with 240mm disc at the rear. The bite is sharp and is very progressive and you know exactly how much to pull the lever to bring the motorcycles to a halt. The braking is coupled with a dual-channel ABS which is switchable, in case you are in the mood for some sideways fun.
Complimenting the neo-retro look of the motorcycles is the round instrument cluster which houses all the information that you need. The backlit switchgear is the same unit that we see on the KTM Duke 250. The full LED headlamps illuminate the road ahead pretty well. The fuel tank capacity stands at 9.5 litres. You might want to think twice before getting these motorcycles for touring because they aren’t meant to go the distance.
The Not So Good
Like we mentioned earlier, the vibrations are very pronounced and the engine is not one of the most refined out there. The rearview mirrors might go well with the motorcycles in terms of looks but they don’t provide a good view of what’s coming from behind. Although the bikes are well-built and reek of premium quality, there are some uneven panel gaps which play a little spoilsport.
The Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 and the Vitpilen 250 bear an introductory price tag of INR 1.85 Lakh which make them considerably cheaper than the KTM Duke 250. For the price you pay, you get an exotic-looking motorcycle which is very capable in terms of overall performance, handling or braking but both of them lack in practicality. Going by the number of heads we turned riding these motorcycles extensively, the practicality was successfully traded with the attention both these motorcycles got.
Also read: New Bajaj Dominar 250: Ridden And Reviewed!
If you are looking for a fun-to-ride motorcycle which will make you feel like a celebrity every time you get on the road, these Huskies might be the best bet in their segment. But don’t forget to trade in practicality.