Husqvarna 701 Goes Ice Skating

The Husqvarna 701 Supermoto will be the Swedish company’s first street legal motorcycle since being bought by KTM from BMW in 2013. That’s great news for the brand and to celebrate the release of the 701 (slated for late this year), Husqvarna has launched a website dedicated to the new bike.

Strangely, to publicize their new street legal machine, they’ve decided to throw some spiked tires on and go ice racing. It looks like fun, though we’re not sure of the relevance for the bike.

The Husqvarna 701 Supermoto uses a slightly modified version of the single cylinder engine as used in the KTM 690 SMC. Output is 67 bhp, weight will be 320 lb (145kg) and it will come with a slipper clutch, ABS and three engine modes. Fuel tank capacity is 4.2 gallons (16L).

There’s no word at this stage on a release of the 701 outside of Europe, but we believe it’s likely it will hit Australia and the United States in the first half of 2016.


Husqvarna 701 Enduro and Supermoto Spy Shots

A number of spy shots have recently surfaced on the internet of Husqvarna’s 701 model, both in supermoto and enduro form. While we’re not exactly sure the reason for camouflaging the supermoto version as it’s final appearance was shown at EICMA last year, it is the first time the production version of the enduro bike has been spotted.

One lot of photos comes courtesy of a Spanish motorcycle forum while the other lot are from the latest issue of MCN.

The 701 machines were first shown as concepts in 2013 and then become a reality late last year although heavily ‘normalised’. While it’s exciting to see Husqvarna bringing street legal machines to the market, the 701 enduro and supermoto are basically KTM spare part specials. There’s nothing wrong with that – it will keep prices down and it’s not like KTM’s need a great deal of improvement anyway, but there’s nothing really new here.

In fact, the 701 on paper is nearly identical to the KTM 690 SMC R. Same frame, same 66hp 690cc engine, same suspension, brakes and so on. The only real differences will be the badge and styling, plus the fact that you won’t be able to buy one in orange.

Given the Husqvarna badge doesn’t carry the same weight as KTM however, expect pricing to be slightly cheaper.



AUS | YCF Motorcycles Now For Sale in Australia

French manufacturer YCF has hit Australian shores with a range of off road only machines (none are homologated for street use) targeted at children all the way to young adults. Patrick Lowry of the Lowry Group is the man responsible for the importation of YCF to Australia for the first time and the machines will be immediately available at 11 dealers around Australia.

Paul Feeney used to be involved with the same firm that imported MV Agusta and Husqvarna into the country and it would appear that many of those same dealers will also be stocking the new range from YCF.

According to the YCF blurb, YCF offers a range of mini 4 stroke motorcycles starting at entry level 50cc, electric-start kids bikes with optional remote engine kill switch and training stabilizer wheels. They also cater for bigger kids and adults with a full range of fun bikes and pit bikes from 88cc right up to 190cc.

If you haven’t heard of YCF before, that’s probably not surprising. They’ve only been in existence for 10 years and began as a partnership between two Frenchmen, motocross rider Yannick Coquard and technician Dimitri Bera who helped establish the manufacture of the machines in China. YCF motorcycles are currently sold in Europe, South America, Canada and now Australia.

There’s a fairly substantial 20 models available at launch, 19 of which are dirt bikes plus a single supermoto. Prices begin at $1,550 (rideaway) for the kids 50cc automatic machine with the most expensive being the largest capacity F190 dirtbike at $4,990.

Visit the Australian YCF website for a full list of machines and dealers.


2015 Alta RedShift SM – An Electric Supermoto

You could call the 2015 Alta RedShift SM the ultimate hooligan bike – if only the price was lower and the range longer. Unfortunately, these two factors make the Alta RedShift SM a rich man’s toy which is such a shame as it looks like it would be stupidly good fun to ride.

Here’s why. Firstly, the Redshift SM has the most powerful engine in a motorcycle today, based on a hp/lb ratio. It puts out 40hp from it’s 11lb engine. A typical 600cc engine weighs around 150lb and puts out around 125 hp – so the RedShift pumps out a hell of a lot of juice from a small package.

40hp might not sound like much, but the entire bike weighs only 265lb. Additonally, it comes with WP suspension (both front and rear fully adjustable) and Brembo brakes. So far it all sounds fantastic. Until you see the price.

For the Alto RedShift SM, you’ll need to part with $15,495. Granted, electric bikes are still in their infancy and attract a premium. But then there’s the battery range – 50 miles. No, I’m not missing a 1 at the front there – 50 miles is the calculated range for mixed riding, and you can guarantee that’s a conservative figure. To put that in perspective, if you ride on a freeway at 65mph, you’ll run out of power in about 45 minutes.

It’s like a remote control car you played with as a kid. You get a small amount of joy out of it, but most of the time you’re charging the battery. In fairness, the main point of this bike is to be raced and a 50 mile range is sufficient for this task. Alto has also designed it so that the battery can be swapped out in around 15 minutes. But this bike is being sold as a street legal motorcycle and for that purpose, it’s grossly inadequate.

Perhaps we should look at the Alto RedShift SM as a preview of things to come. In five years time when battery technology has matured sufficiently, a bike like this will probably cost half the price and have quadruple the range. And that’s something very exciting to look forward to. For now though, it’s hard to justify it’s expense. Especially when you compare it with the Zero FX. Granted, that’s not a true supermoto, but it has virtually the same performance figures, yet costs $9,845.

Alto is also releasing a dirt bike version (the Alto RedShift MX) with virtually the same specifications. So if you’re really serious about competition where range isn’t an issue and you want more reliability, no oil changes and no rebuilds, then perhaps the price is worthwhile. Otherwise, sit tight for a few more years.


Husqvarna FS 450 Supermotard

Husqvarna, a company better known to many as producer of outdoor power equipment (mowers, chainsaws, etc) are making a return to the supermoto market with the announcement of the Husqvarna FS 450 Supermotard. Their last real bike in the supermoto area was the championship winning SM530RR and since then, the company hasn’t had a supermotard available since around 2010. The Husqvarna FS 450 changes that and for the better.

The Husqvarna FS 450 is based on the existing FC 450 Motocross bike and it features a 450cc SOHC engine producing 60 horsepower, aluminium swingarm, brembo radial brakes and a five speed gearbox mated to a slipper clutch. The FS 450 is so far only confirmed for Europe and will be available from October this year.



Here’s the full press release:

Making a timely return to the Supermoto sector Husqvarna launches the FS 450 – a technologically advanced machine based on the FC 450 motocross bike. Featuring numerous lightweight, premium components in its construction the FS 450 sees Husqvarna step forward with an exciting new machine.

Combining a lightweight chromium molybdenum frame, durable three-piece injection moulded subframe and cast aluminium swing arm, the bike offers superb handling and ridability characteristics. Delivering maximum comfort and excellent rider feedback the FS 450 ensures racers can focus on increasing their speed, lap after lap.

Complementing the bike’s razor sharp handling, the compact 450cc SOHC engine delivers strong power. Producing 60hp, featuring a precise five-speed gearbox, electric starter and Adler slipper clutch, the FS 450 guarantees race-winning performance at every level.

WP suspension ensures the finest damping comes as standard on the FS 450. The fully adjustable 48mm closed cartridge front forks – with supermoto-specific settings – provide 280mm of travel. When paired with WP’s high performance rear shock they ensure precision and consistency in all conditions.

Finished off with Brembo radial brakes, Metzeler tyres and Husqvarna’s stylish, sharp and modern bodywork, the all-new FS 450 is guaranteed to turn heads everywhere it goes.

Dominant in Supermoto sport when it first became an officially sanctioned World and European Championship, Husqvarna – the brand born in Sweden – returns to Supermoto with the technologically advanced FS 450.

The FS 450 becomes available from October 2014, priced at € 9,895.00 (in Germany).

MY15 Husqvarna FS 450 – Technical Highlights

  • 60hp SOHC compact engine
  • Slipper clutch for maximum control and precision under hard braking
  • Precise 5-speed Supermoto gearbox
  • Electric start
  • Lightweight Chromoly frame optimised for sharp handling and maximum stability
  • Lightweight cast aluminium swingarm
  • Impact resistant subframe
  • Metzeler slick tyres
  • High performance braking
  • Stylish, sharp and modern bodywork
  • Cool colours and striking graphics