Words by - Jatin Chibber
Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 & Vitpilen 250 - Introduction
Early this year, KTM-owned Swedish bike manufacturer Husqvarna launched the Svartpilen 250 and Vitpilen 250 in the Indian market. These motorcycles were first showcased at the IBW (India Bike Week) show last year. In Swedish, Svartpilen translates to ‘Black Arrow’ and the Vitpilen is known as ‘White Arrow’. These motorcycles rival the likes of the KTM Duke 250 and Suzuki Gixxer 250, in the highly-competitive 250cc naked-street bike segment.
Last week, we rode both, the Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 and Vitpilen 250 and spent a few days getting to know them better. Both motorcycles are identical except for a few cosmetic and ergonomic differences. So let’s get to our road test review of the 2020 Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 & Vitpilen 250.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 & Vitpilen 250 - Styling and Features
There are a lot of cosmetic differences between both motorcycles. One major difference is the Svartpilen 250’s upright handlebar, while the Vitpilen 250 employs clip-on handlebars. Other than this, the Svartpilen 250 gets a plastic luggage carrier on the tank in order to easily strap down a tank bag or a small duffle bag with bungee cords. Moreover, the Svartpilen sits on 5-spoke blacked-out alloy wheels; whereas, the Vitpilen 250 features all-black multi-spoke design. The former rides on dual-purpose tyres by MRF, while the latter features road-biased MRF rubber.
Furthermore, the Black Arrow gets a two-piece seat, and the White Arrow features a single-piece seat. However, the seat design of both motorcycles are not wide or well-cushioned. So for long trips, one should look out for better aftermarket options.
Other than this, both motorcycles are almost identical to each other. Upfront, the bikes get full LED headlamps with round LED DRLs and LED side blinkers, which looks quite premium. On the side, it features a well-sculpted tank with Svartpilen 250 or Vitpilen 250 branding. They also get a smart-looking blacked-out exhaust with Husqvarna branding. The all-new Svartpilen 250 is offered in dual-tone black and grey colour shade, while the Vitpilen 250 comes painted in grey, brown and silver colour.
At the back, both motorcycles get LED taillights with LED side indicators. The rear-end of both motorcycles do not look as striking as the front-end. The Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 and Vitpilen 250 get a fully-digital instrument cluster, which features an odometer, tachometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge, range, gear position indicator, side stand indicator and much more. Moreover, you can also turn on the SuperMoto mode via the instrument cluster. This enables the rider to have more fun by turning off the rear ABS. Overall, both motorcycles look unique and are capable enough to turn heads.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 & Vitpilen 250 - Engine and Performance
Mechanically, both motorcycles derive power from the same 248.76cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected mill. The KTM-developed unit is capable of shredding out 29.63bhp of power at 9,000rpm and 24Nm of peak torque at 7,500 rpm. The first thing that you notice about the bike’s powerplant is just how refined the motor is at start up.
Coming to performance, the initial power is quite punchy but the engine really comes into its character after crossing 4000 rpm. The engine is powerful enough to get to/hold triple-digit speeds quite effortlessly. One can easily cruise for long hours without stressing out the engine. However, vibrations do start peering through the handlebars, footpegs and seats after crossing 95kmph.
The engine comes paired to a 6-speed gearbox. The transmission is easy to upshift/downshift at city speeds but feels a bit unrefined while trying to shift fast. However for drama-free shifts while tearing up the racetrack or canyons, the gearbox also features a slipper clutch. When we speak about its highway dynamics, we really liked the in-gear roll-on acceleration for overtaking slow-moving traffic and the torque-y nature which lets you hold triple-digit speeds for hours on end. Overall, the performance of the 250cc engine in Svartpilen & Vitpilen 250 is extremely praise-worthy.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 and Vitpilen 250 - Ride and Handling
Starting with the Svartpilen 250, as it is the more daily-able of the two motorcycles. It offers a relaxed riding posture and the upright handlebar won’t stress out your hands or forearms riding long distances either. The Svartpilen 250 is for those who want a smart-looking motorcycle with comfortable riding posture, which they can use for everyday commutes or take on long trips over the weekend.
On the other hand, the Vitpilen 250 features clip-on handlebars, which are positioned quite aggressively and get uncomfortable for long trips. Moreover, it’s a struggle to ride this bike in heavy city traffic. After riding the Vitpilen 250 for 25 to 30km, the rider will definitely start feeling the pressure on his hands, forearms, shoulders and back. However, on a race track or winding roads, the clip-ons do allow you to tuck yourself in better and have better control over the front-end.
The suspension duties are taken care of by WP upside-down forks at the front and a mono-shock at the rear. The suspension system works well in countering speed breakers and potholes. The front suspension in Vitpilen 250 feels quite stiff because of the clip-on handlebars but definitely gives you the better feedback. Anchoring duties are done by a 320mm disc brake up-front and a 230mm disc brake at the rear. As mentioned previously, it comes coupled to a switchable dual-channel ABS setup. The front disc offers decent bite while braking but we felt that rear brakes could have been a bit tighter.
Both motorcycles get a seat height of 842mm, which sits pretty high and a person of 5.5 feet or 5.6 feet might struggle to get both feet on the ground at the same time. Overall, the Svartpilen 250 is much more comfortable to ride in the city as well as on highways because of its relaxed riding posture. However, if all you desire is better control and predictability while riding quickly, the Vitpilen 250 will be the better companion.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 & Vitpilen 250 - Verdict
Talking about the price of both motorcycles, the Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 retails at a price tag of INR 1.86 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), while the Vitpilen 250 is offered at INR 1.87 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). There's a price difference of INR 1,000 between both motorcycles and it really boils down to the preference of the rider. The Husqvarna twins are made for those looking out for a unique looking motorcycle with a potent small-capacity engine and the sharp dynamics. Like the KTM Duke 250, both bikes will appeal highly to the younger generation of motorcycle buyers in the country.