2017 Husqvarna 701sm (the big white pig) review
We’ve been so busy with the school that it’s been years since I’ve done a bike review, but I figure Sean MacDonald does these all the time so how hard can it be? Like everything else I write I’m to lazy/busy to proofread it so just assume a ton of incomplete sentences and misspellings.
The Husky 701 is a BIG fast supermoto that is surprisingly easy to ride, although a bit of a handful on a standard size supermoto track. I tested the bike over two sessions (motos for you dirt people) at Adams Motorsports Park doing proper supermoto dirt and asphalt. I did not get a chance to test it on the street but I can already tell you it would be a absolute dream there.
Power: There’s lots and it’s all over the place. Power comes on extremely smooth. Down low coming out of a hairpin power feels softer than a 450 race bike, and getting on the gas feels extremely smooth with delivery very similar to a drz400sm. However where the drz tops out briefly after the husky keeps going and going and going. The engine feels very similar to midsize twins, like a versys or sv650. It revs!!! Powerband kicks in later than expected and keeps going. The bike has very smooth, tractor like power but gobs of it. This bike never “hits” like a smoker or proper sm race bike. Power delivery is so smooth it almost feels electric. This makes the bike surprisingly easy to ride, unless you foolishly keep accidentally shifting into first like me.
Gearing: Part of that smooth delivery may be the gearing which is super tall. I usually take the “highspeed sweeper) in 4th, but was taking it in 2nd on the husky. If you’ll be using this bike on the track I suspect you’ll want to go down a tooth or two on the cs. 2nd and 3rd are super tall while first feels too short. On the street none of this will likely matter, and the tall gearing is likely a god send at highway speeds.
Wheelies: This thing wheelies if you just think about it. At one point I started to bring a wheelie down. I didn’t want to wheelie through the gears on a loaner, and I figured it was out of rev’s. As the wheel was about two feet off the ground I gave it throttle again, and the wheel went skyward. I did this up and down the entire length of the straightaway without running out of engine. This might be the worlds smoothest and easiest bike to power wheelie. So there you go, get your dank whoolies on.
Braking: Brake feel was fantastic. I realize this because I never thought about it until right now. The best indicator that the bike is working well is that you don’t notice it. That said on a tight track this bike takes a lot to slow down! Even more so than handling, on the brakes is where you feel this bike’s size. I’d be sliding in with good feel on the brakes and then continue to slide past my turn in point. On the street I’d imagine this would be unnoticeable and I would simply say the brakes are amazing, but on a track with a lot of point and shoot corners it felt like a handful to slowdown.
Handling: I’ll be honest, being a press loaner I wasn’t willing to throw her down low and risk crashing her. Transitions felt amazing, a touch of wallow here and there made me want to firm up the suspension a touch. I remember on the bike thinking what a absolute blast it would be on a road race course. This would be my bike of choice for my non existent dream “mega motard racing” which would be a fast flowing dirt section next to a tightish road race course. Bike handled great but you absolutely feel the centrifugal mass on the engine on turn ins and transitions. Again, I’d imagine handling on the street would be awesome, and the bike felt a touch big on the track. However you could also simply say that for a bike of this size and power, it’s handling was excellent giving the confines of the smaller track for which it was not designed.
Jumping: You’d never take this to a mx track, but it’s plenty capable of jumping on a vet track, or on jumps you’d typically find at a supermoto track. I heard some clanging from some street bits on landing here and there but nothing broke and the bike felt very stable flying. In fact the whole dirt section was much easier than expected on the 701. In fact I kept taking shortcuts on the asphalt part of the track to log more dirt time on the bike.
“Fit and finish”: I’m used to beater school bikes, this thing felt tight and all kinds of tasteful blingy prettiness.
Overview: This is truly the mystic do all bike. I would absolutely take this on some mellow trails, road racing, supermoto trackdays, sport touring, etc. If the majority of your riding is street, I’d buy one. If you plan on using it for 50% track, I’d go with a lighter more flickable bike. I ride A LOT of different supermoto bikes and this is one of the few I genuinely want to own.
Thank you Sean Macdonald for taking the pics and trusting me not to crash it!!!