2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto & Enduro - FIRST RIDE REVIEW

The streets just got a whole lot meaner.

2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto on-road action

Twenty-two hours from door to door brings me to a small village in southern Portugal known as Lagos. It's a beautiful summertime oasis for Europeans bound for holiday. But it's not summertime and I'm not here on vacation. This is where Husqvarna has gathered a small group of moto-press to unveil two new motorcycles in its growing lineup: the 2016 701 Supermoto and Enduro.

These two bikes mark a logical direction for the supermoto pioneer renowned for its off-road heritage. When KTM bought Husqvarna from BMW in 2013, the future began to look much brighter for the legendary Swedish marque. Shortly after the change of ownership, promises were made to improve product quality and expand the model line. Today those promises are being kept. Expect the trend to continue as spokesmen hinted about more product announcements coming soon.

2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro off-road action

While the 701 Supermoto and Enduro are new to the Husqvarna lineup and are a major step forward for the brand in the street market, they are not altogether new machines. The two share their platforms not only with each other, but also with two sister KTM models, the 690 SMC and Enduro.

Beating at the heart of both Huskies is a SOHC, four-valve, 690cc (102.0 x 84.5mm) single-cylinder engine boasting a claimed 67 peak horsepower and 49 lb.-ft. of torque. Engine management is handled by a 46mm Keihin throttle body with ride-by-wire technology (a first for any Husqvarna motorcycle) and three ride modes: Standard, Soft, and Advanced. The chrome-moly-steel trellis frame is manufactured by yet another sister company, WP Performance Systems. The molded polyamide rear subframe pulls double duty as both a structural component and a fuel tank.

2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro engine close-up
2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro front shocks

As on all KTM and Husqvarna motorcycles, WP also provides the fully adjustable suspension. Up front is a separate-function fork with the right leg dedicated to rebound damping and the left to compression, while out back is a single, linkage-actuated, gas-charged shock. Rider aids include a Magura hydraulically actuated slipper clutch and an advanced Bosch ABS that is capable of being switched off. An optional plug-in under the seat gives the rider a third setting that provides ABS to the front wheel only. The 701 Supermoto rides on 17-inch wire-spoke wheels shod with tubeless Continental ContiAttack supermoto tires, while the Enduro is outfitted with 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels wrapped with Continental TKC 80 knobbies. Brembo is responsible for stopping power with a four-piston front caliper on the Supermoto and a two-piston front on the Enduro, each with a single-piston rear.

A day packed full of supermoto shenanigans and dual-sport excursions should be the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Considerably less so is waking up to the sound of strong winds and torrential rain—our parade had officially been rained on! It would be an exaggeration to say "of biblical proportions," but flooding in nearby villages was shown on the evening news—not ideal conditions for evaluating motorcycles. Yet despite our dampened spirits, we managed to get in some riding and learned a few things about the bikes.

2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto static side view

2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto

2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro static rear view

2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro

Big-bore singles have a reputation for being buzzy. With the 701 there is a bit of vibration, but it's not at an unpleasant level. In fact, while straight-lining it down the highway I made a concerted effort to notice vibration and could not force myself to be annoyed by it. Watching water splash back and forth in my half-filled goggles, as if I were SCUBA diving, was another matter! The Enduro displayed more vibration than the Supermoto on the pavement due to its knobby tires.

Navigating the slippery backroads surrounding the famed Portimao race circuit provided an excellent opportunity to evaluate the power delivery. Lacking the sins of many ride-by-wire motorcycles, the Keihin EFI delivered power in a smooth, predictable manner. There was no noticeable dead spot, delay or lurching. Invisible is the word that comes to mind, which is a good thing.

riding through large water puddles on the 2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro

Splashing down wide, rain-soaked trails, the Enduro behaved quite well for a 320-lb. dirtbike—this despite the shallow depth of the knobs, which preferred to spin rather than grip in such conditions. Keeping the ABS switched to the front-only setting, I was able to slide the rear to get the bike pivoted and pointed out of turns—a useful feature when riding aggressively off-road.

Situating the fuel tank at the rear of the bike shifts weight away from the front, giving the steering a lighter feel. It also makes the bike feel thinner when the rider is standing, and allows the rider to slide farther forward while seated.

Mother Nature may have prevented a full riding experience this time, but she couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm for these two motorcycles. Husqvarna plans to have 701s stateside as early as March, and we can’t wait to throw a leg over them in more suitable conditions.

SPECIFICATIONS
|2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto/701 Enduro
ENGINE TYPE|SOHC single
DISPLACEMENT|690cc
SEAT HEIGHT|35.0/35.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY|3.4 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT|na
BASE PRICE|na

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto static.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto static.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto static.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro action.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro static.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro static.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro static.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro details.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro studio.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro studio.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 Enduro stripped.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 engine.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 slipper clutch.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 frame and fuel tank.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 sketch.Jeff Allen

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2016 Husqvarna 701 final rendering.Jeff Allen