With KTM owning Swedish motorcycle marque Husqvarna and producing their latest bikes in their own factory, is the new 701 range just a re-badged Austrian bike?
In their 20th April issue, MCN’s Adam Child and Bruce Dunn set out to test the supermoto and enduro cousins head to head to find out for themselves.
The race ready KTM 690 SMC R and the Husqvarna 701 Enduro both produce 67bhp from their single cylinder engine, but the Husky is designed to be more user friendly with it’s fueling, bodywork and suspension all changed to make it more road-oriented. Both bike share that same ContiAttack SM tyres, designed specifically for use on supermoto style machines.
These aren’t like the supermoto machines of old; a 90-mile commute from Peterborough to Yorkshire in comfort and without excessive vibration proving that to Adam – even the fuel light stayed off thanks to the 13 litre tank on the Husqvarna, a litre bigger than that found on the KTM. Despite the ride not being quite so plush, the KTM is almost as good on the roads for general use.
Adam comments that the KTM has a racier, more aggressive feel to it and is easier to throw around on circuit, and it would be his choice if he were looking at track use, but owning either bike would seriously put his licence at risk as they are both so much fun to ride.
Then came the off-road test, pitting the KTM 690 Enduro R against the new Husqvarna 701 Enduro. As with the two road going bikes, both share similar forks and brakes along with that famous single cylinder engine, but the Husqvarna will take an extra litre of fuel and has a few styling tweaks.
The Husqvarna uses our renowned TKC 80 knobbly tyres, and Adam says:
“The Husky’s more dirt-biased Contis make a real difference off-road.
When the going gets tough the KTM struggles as it’s tyres start to clog up with mid and simply turn into slicks, offering no grip. They are fine riding down gravelly lanes and on firm off-road surfaces but struggle in deep mud. The more nobbly tyres on the Husky offer more grip in difficult conditions, which in turn gives more confidence. As a relative off-road novice, I felt more comfortable on the Husky as the front gave more feedback and more grip.”
With both bikes using the same wheels, it’s a simple enough job for KTM owners to put a set of the same TKC 80 tyres used by the Husqvarna on to their bike to give them improved off-road performance.
With more suspension travel, the Husqvarna was certainly the more comfortable when the going got tough. Both bikes might be a bit on the heavy side to be considered true ‘enduro’ machines, but when you’ve finished on the trail, you can easily cruise home covering the miles far faster than you could on a proper enduro bike.
One thing we can say, which ever option you go for, you’re guaranteed great all-round performance and bags of fun, which is what taking to 2-wheels is all about!
Pick up the latest copy of MCN for the full article.