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!!!

Saturday Sept 6 – Warfest, Adams Motorsports Park Riverside
Sunday Sept 7th – Socal Supermoto School, open spots
Saturday Sept 13th – Private, sold out
Sunday Sept 14th – Supermoto school with Guest Instructor Stuart Smith, 2 spots open
Saturday Sept 20th – Supermoto School, Adams
Sunday Sept 21 – Supermoto School SOLD OUT
Saturday Oct 4th – Sportbike Fundamentals
Sunday Oct 5th – ASS (advanced sportbike skills) w/ guest Stuart Smith
Saturday Oct 18 – Guest Pro Instructor tba followed by WAR racing.

As usual book up a day here: [http://socalsupermoto.com/school_sumo.html](http://socalsupermoto.com/school_sumo.html)


Here’s the press release corporate whipped out for Supermoto at Warfest for their newsletter and the SCHEDULE. This is going to be a don’t miss! “Socal Supermoto and WAR Supermoto racing series will be Joining WARFEST this Saturday Sept 6th at the Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside California. Supermoto is a combination of roadracing and mx, and is arguably one of the most exciting forms of motorcycle racing. Come watch some of the best in the nation top it out in 5th gear on the straights, slam it down 3 gears at once, and “back it in” into the corners. If you haven’t seen Supermoto live you will not want to miss it. In addition the event will feature world class drifting, vendors, and live music by Pato Banton.

Racers will be invited by Matt Stewart of AMA Supermoto racing. Socal Supermoto in addition will have bikes to rent for the race for $90. Racing is free although you’ll be required to buy a $10 insurance pass. To rent a bike contact brian@socalsupermoto.com. Here’s the schedule for Supermoto:
Practice 3-3:30
10 lap heat race 5:30 – 6:30
Supermoto Main Event 8-9pm”


Relax, it’s sarcasm.


Well we admittedly havn’t done much in terms of blogging. We’ve just been super busy with the school! But I will try to atleast post up our upcoming fliers as we make em for our newsletter. Hope to see you out at the track!


Full disclosure: We’re proud to have Vanson as a sponsor of our supermoto school. But, as always, we promise to give it to you straight when it comes to reviews.


I’ve used the Vanson sm suit for a few years now (old review when it was new and purty). I went down it at about 65mph a few months back and damn near nothing happened to it. It’s pretty much my work uniform and I absolutely love it. Cool, flexible, super protective and I forget that I’m wearing it. In other words, everything you want in a track suit.

So I asked Vanson to make me a full perf jacket that I could use for trips back and forth to the dmv for the dmv test bike, doing lessons, and just general around town hooliginism. Here’s the lowdown on a 0-10 scale.

Quality: 10
Even with semi routine crashing, this thing will outlast you, your kids, and your grandkids. They mean it when they say “heirloom quality.” The jacket is handstitched and looks it which I think adds to it’s character. Just hold this thing in your hands and it is obvious it will last forever.


Style: 10/0
I think it’s a 10. Maybe you hate it, but then you can get whatever you want being that it’s custom. I wanted it to look like the motorcycle team sweaters from the forties and got it. Being a Vanson, it won’t look dated ten years from now like a astars/dainese/icon jacket will. They make jackets that’ll last forever and pretty much look the same in terms of style ten years from now as it looks today.

Protection: 9
It’ll save your skin/won’t rip apart. The armor is beefy and where it needs to be including the back protector. Personally I’d love to see some chest protection built into jackets the way back protectors have become the norm. Yeah I know I can put one on but but having it integrated would make me a lot more likely to use it.

m (2)

Comfort: 5 (will become 10)
That is what is awesome/kinda frustrating about Vansons: When new it’s like having a part time job trying to break the thing in. Frankly, damn near anything off the shelf will be much more comfortable. However after they break in they feel absolutely glorious. For all the features in the world there is nothing that makes you feel as good as a custom fit leather proper motorcycle jacket. Nothing.

Breathability: 10
The full perf works so well it almost works too well. If there is any clouds at all you’ll tend to get a little chilly. Anything 70-100 is where the jacket really shines. This is the reason I got the jacket and it works perfectly.

Versatility: 2
It’s got a nice inside pocket which is why it didn’t get 1. A full perf leather jacket is a one trick pony, which is why you buy it. Even in mild San Diego you wouldn’t want this as your only moto jacket. It does one thing exceptionally well, and that is works as a proper motorcycle jacket to be worn when it is Sunny and 75-100 degrees out. It gives you the feelling of wearing nothing/feeling of being fully protected like nothing else can. When the sun is out, the way the breeze blasts through this jacket feels amazing without any compromise at all in protection.


Summary: At our supermoto school on the last session I tell my students to just go out and ride. Slow down and don’t worry about what we went over that day. Don’t worry about air pressures, lines, laptimes, apexes, throttle inputs, etc. Just back it off a bit and go ride and remember why you started riding to begin with: because it feels great to just go down the road on a motorbike. If you want that feeling, and the sun is out, this jacket is the perfect companion for that. I’ve used it at the track and it worked exceptional, but I’ll save my 1pc for the track thrashings. Around town on any remotely nice day I find myself leaving my 3/4 lenth revit jacket at home and grabbing the new Vanson everytime. It is like having a new moto friend. You can order up your own custom Vanson here.


Summer Jam BBQ this Saturday 6/28
Almost here! As of now we have 2 spots open.
SATURDAY 6/28/14

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Summer Jam BBQ this Saturday 6/28

Almost here! As of now we have 2 spots open.

SATURDAY 6/28/14







flier BBBQ

Pic of the week

Front wheel kept doing this, I suspect from too much rebound. Justin took a pic to help us diagnose the problem.

me wheelie3



Random Internet bike of the day

Guy Martin's turbo'd Pikes Peak racer!!!


Thanks for putting up with us, and hope to ride with you soon!


Or everything you wanted to know about your first trackday but were afraid to ask:

Will the other kids be nice to me?
The supermoto track is a bizare happy place where newbies, pros, trackday regulars hang out, give out free advice, smack talk, and sit in crappy chairs kickin back between sessions. Nobody cares if you’re fast, slow, fat, about your political leanings, race, wether you have any money, etc. It really is this strange moto utopia, where for the most part everyone gets along extremely well. Be humble, smile, ask questions, and you’ll make friends.

What if I’m slow?

What if I’m fast?
You’re not. And that’s ok, just ride within your ability level.

Will I get killed?
Maybe. There’s a obvious inherent risk anytime you ride fast on a motorcycle. But with no oncoming traffic, guard rails, gravel, cliffs, cops, squids, cars, etc, riding your motorcycle here is safer than anywhere else.

What if I get in people’s way?
You won’t. Or you shouldn’t. Your responsibility is not to be fast, or slow, or to get out of peoples way. YOUR SOLE RESPONSIBILITY IS TO HOLD YOUR LINE AND BE AS PREDICTABLE AS POSSIBLE. Never turn your head to see who’s behind you, and never swerve to let someone by. By trying to get out of someone’s way you may be swerving into someone who is passing both of you. Having loud scary motorcycles on your back wheel can make you feel anxious, but the rider behind you isn’t anxious. They’re likely just waiting for a safe spot to pass, and we’ll likely pass you exiting the turn…..on one wheel…..crossed up, you know, to help inspire you. Just look where you’re going and ride your own pace!


What if I crash?
We’ll pick you up. But you shouldn’t crash. I rode supermoto for 6 months before I ever crashed. You don’t need to go down to “find the limit”. These bikes will let you know what you’re doing right and wrong. Pushing the front or rear, having the suspension load/unload quick, or dragging pegs your first day, are all warning signs that you are about to crash. Pay attention to them. Someone on the track is going faster than you without any of those issues, so listen to your instructor and work on technique and the speed will come.

What should I bring?
To our trackdays: 3x more water than you think you’ll need, and food. Gear that includes: armor on your knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows (leather, textile or mx), boots (street or dirt), full face helmet (street or dirt). I prefer 1pc Vanson supermoto leathers with mx boots, neck brace, and mx helmet.

What’s the order of things?
We do 15 on/off with the go karts. The rental karts “arrive and race” will be additional groups. At the end of the day you’ll be exhausted and have more tracktime than you can handle. General order of things:
Riders meeting: Track safety and intro to supermoto
Slow lead/follow around the track.
Open practice with instruction in the pits while the karts are out
1pm-ish: Dirt school talk, and opening up the dirt section.
More open practice, instruction, and photo sessions (don’t try to show off and crash!)
4-5pm, pack it up, crack a beer.

Will I learn how to back it in?
Maybe. Sliding in, when done correctly is a side effect of speed, not the means to achieve it. Brake late, countersteer hard, and you’ll start drifting out the rear. In regards to “trying to back it in”, just remember that the instructions on how to back it in, and how to highside, are identical.

How do I get started?
Funny you should ask, I just happen to know of a supermoto school. Use the buy now button at www.socalsupermoto.com, and we’ll see you at the track!!!!



Here’s marathon man Troy Archer showing proper technique in taking the checkers:


Socal Supermoto Named One of the Best Performance Schools in America!

Thank you Rideapart for the shout out! It’s an honor to be included with those other amazing programs. Check out the article HERE.