By : RAHIL SHAIKH
A few moons ago, a pair of Swedish bombs dropped in India in the guise of the Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 and Vitpilen 250. Both motorcycles which are brand new offerings for India, are best described in two words – ‘Minimalistic Elegance.’ Until their launch, the Indian motorcycle market had not seen anything even remotely close to anything like these Huskie Twins, in terms of styling. We got our hands on the Svartpilen 250 and here are our two cents on it.
The Svartpilen 250, which is described as an ‘Urban Scrambler’ by the Swedes, comes with its Swedish design and an Austrian engine and is now manufactured in India. Our take on it? The Svartpilen 250 has a proven engine and a fresh design and both these factors combine to give you great bang for your buck in the Indian motorcycle market. The Indian buyers who are always looking for a cost-effective, good looking and punchy motorcycle will find that the Svartpilen 250 ticks all of the boxes. For those who are in the market for a KTM Duke 250, you’ll be surprised to know that the Svartpilen 250, gets the same engine, the same suspension set-up and a cheaper price tag. The Svartpilen 250 translates into the Black Arrow, however, the paint scheme might suggest otherwise.
Svartpilen 250, the urban scrambler, gets raised handlebars, dual-purpose tyres, a raised grab rail and a luggage rack bolted on the fuel tank.
The rider’s triangle of the Svartpilen 250, is relaxed and won’t tire you on those long rides. Even though the wheelbase of the Duke 250 and the Svartpilen 250 is the same, the trellis chassis on the Svartpilen 250 gets a shortened subframe.
This leads to a more compact motorcycle and in turn, makes it more agile. The motorcycle weighs in at just 154 kg, making it lighter than the Duke 250. The lightness of the motorcycle is also partly due to the tiny fuel tank, which has a capacity of only 9.5-litres! The small fuel tank means that going out touring with the Svartpilen 250 can be a bit of a bother on account of having to stop for fuel a bit too often.
While we loved the motorcycle, especially its design and the fact that it is a budget-friendly option, it is not perfect. There are too many vibrations from as little as 3000rpm that are felt. Vibrations creep in from the handlebars, footpegs and the seat itself. On longer rides, these vibrations are bound to leave your hands, feet and thighs buzzing. The instrument cluster definitely needs a bit of sprucing up especially in a world where TFT displays are increasingly becoming the norm. Besides, in direct sunlight, it isn’t very easy to read from the display of the instrument cluster and we felt that its build quality also needs to be better. Every pothole that we hit, the instrument cluster vibrated – definitely not what we were expecting.
On the plus side, the mirrors are sturdy and offer a wide field of view.
The seats, we felt, were a bit too narrow for comfort and could do with some more cushioning. The seat height of the Svartpilen 250 is 842mm, which is not low by any stretch of the imagination. Short riders will find it intimidating to swing a leg over. However, the light weight of the motorcycle compensates quite a bit for the tall seat height. Also, bear in mind… if you are accompanied by a pillion rider, brace yourself for a stream of complaints from them about how uncomfortable the ride is for them.
In terms of power, the moment you twist the key, the peppy 250cc KTM motor comes to life with a distinct exhaust note.
The 31bhp motor delivers power instantly and the 24 Nm of torque is delivered @ 7250rpm. Power is available between 4500-7000rpm, which enables swift highway overtakes. Cruising between 80-100 kmph is a piece of cake and the motorcycle will gladly do that all day long. The liquid-cooled motor comes with a slipper clutch, which makes gear changes really smooth. Going above 120 kmph is easily doable but, the motorcycle is light and on open highways, the wind blast may be a problem. In the city, the motorcycle is perfect and being nimble and agile means that manoeuvring it through heavy traffic is easy. However, watch out for those ghastly potholes because the stiff suspension is a pain, however, in the twisties, you’ll realize that it is a blessing. The 248.8cc, DOHC motor has a claimed mileage of 31.8 kmpl by ARAI.
Priced at INR 2.10 lakhs (Ex-showroom), the Svartpilen 250 is a unique offering and is bound to attract several youngsters because of its striking good looks. Overall, the Svartpilen 250 is a good choice for those who ride mostly in the city and occasionally on the highways, so if you are one of those riders, you should definitely experience it at a showroom near you before buying one.