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Husqvarna’s SuperDuke-powered Vitpilen 1301 to rival Ducati’s Diavel | NEWS

Husqvarna’s parent firm KTM seems intent on making restyled, Husky-badged versions of all of its bike and these spy shots show the latest in the line – a Husqvarna version of the 1290 Super Duke R.

While the underpinnings all appear to be stock Super Duke R, including the 129kW engine, tubular frame, WP suspension and single-sided swingarm, the bodywork makes the Husqvarna version stand out.

There’s a hint of Ducati Diavel in the single-seater’s style. That’s thanks in part to the stubby tail and swingarm-mounted licence plate and rear lights, and partially due to the punched-in headlight and side panels that extend a long way forwards. The seat also appears fractionally lower and further back than the Super Duke R’s, giving a more bent-knee riding position

However, the bike doesn’t have the Diavel’s long, low power cruiser stance. Instead it’s more of a conventional naked sportsbike in that respect.

The bodywork is fairly wild-looking. As well as those forward-extending pontoons sprouting from the sides of the tank, it’s worth noting the massive belly pan that covers much of the lower half of the engine. Again, this helps push the visual weight of the bike forwards and low.

At the rear, the shortened tail could well be a self-supporting carbon-fibre unit. Husqvarna has just introduced carbon subframes on its KTM-derived motocross range, and it would make sense to spread the technology to its roadbikes. It also appears the last few inches of the tail are a separate part – it’s possible this piece comes off and can be replaced with a longer version including pegs and a seat pad for passengers.

For once the Husqvarna naming policy – using numbers that reflect engine capacity and finish with a ‘1’ – promises to make sense. KTM’s so-called 1290 engine is actually 1301cc, so it’s likely the Husky will be called the 1301. The tank sides are like exaggerated versions of the panels on the Vitpilen concept bikes, which themselves are due to spawn production versions for 2017, so it also makes sense that this will be the top model in the Vitpilen range.

Husqvarna has been seen testing a host of roadbikes over the last year or two, including 125cc, 390cc and 690cc Vitpilen models, but has yet to actually make a return to the road-going market with a finished production bike. So expect to see this as a concept bike later this year with a production model following on in 2018.

byline – Ben Purvis