With the entry of the Husqvararna twins in the lineup of 250cc line up now, there are 4 bikes with the same 250cc engine. Still, there is no RC 250. But for me, Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 comes close to what the RC 250 might be. Yeah, you might be thinking WHAT…? It’s a cafe racer how can it become a track machine. To find out read further why I came to this conclusion!
Simple but Appealing
The design of the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 is so simple with very very less clutter at the top. The whole visible area for the rider has been kept clean. Under the tank is the trellis frame which and the wiring. All this clutter has been hidden pretty well with the use of black. The contrasting silverish white body panel in matte finish doesn’t let your eyes wander off.
The bike looks like a piece of art. Along with the simple design the contrast is maintained with the Monoshock being white. So the bike is like a rectangle split in half diagonally. The upper part is white and the lower is black. From the front, the round headlight maintains the cafe racer charm but the LED elements make it look so futuristic that they create a sort of harmony.
All over the bike, you are reminded well about the fact that you are riding a Husqvarna with the badging integrated at places where ever possible. Above the headlight, the instrument cluster is round. It starts up displaying “Since 1896”, a small fact you can brag in front of KTM 250 owners. But all this design which looks cool cuts corner into other factors of the bike.
The bike does not have a special tyre pattern as on the Swartpilen. This bike used 110 section for the front and the rear is 150/60 R17. These are MRF tyres and they do provide a good grip. The Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 has a smaller wheelbase than the Duke 250 and that makes a lot of difference in the way this bike feels. This bike gets 5 spoke Alloys which also makes the bike a bit lighter.
The seat is high. Swing a leg over results in tiptoeing with both feet. Now, this cant be deemed as a problem with a cafe race but the riders triangle is too aggressive. The seat is at the same level from the ground where you hold the clip-ons. This puts you face right in front of the instrument cluster. If you ar that closes to the instrument cluster then your field of vision does not accommodate the road and the cluster together.
Just to give you a hint, riding for an hr in this position led to some pain in the wrist and lower back and there was no perfect relax position for cruising at a constant speed. The legs are not that far back which is comfortable. This aggressive riding posture is okay when on track and pushing the bike. But then there is no wind protection too if you want to really push the bike. Aftermarket raised clip-ons might fix or you can go for the Swartpilen.
Fit and Finish
The feel of different materials is really premium. The seat has a very close resemblance to that of the seat on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. This does make for a comfortable seat but after a while, this seat too does feel harsh due to riding posture. The switches and panels do not have rattling and gaps. The does meet the quality that is expected at that price. Because of the matte finish, it does look better than the KTM glossy orange.
The electronics have only ABS with switchable rear ABS. The ABS is the only electronic safety on this bike. The bike has a 9-litre fuel tank which makes it lighter than the Duke. It does eat into the range that is offered. That might not be a problem with the frequent stop that this bike will make you do with the riding posture.
The engine is the same 250cc engine on the Duke. This has not been changed in terms of gearing or other factors. Just a shorter wheels base and lighter body make it prone to power wheelies on the aggressive throttle. This bike is not for someone who is starting with motorcycling and might make for a second bike in someone’s garage.
The 250cc engine makes 31 bhp its BS6 state of tune. The catalytic converter on this bike is huge and we think that it might weigh at least a KG. So that might be the first delete if you are thinking for some weight shedding for this bike. 24 Nm of torque make this engine good for cruising but as said earlier it is quite difficult on the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250. The slipper clutch keeps the clutch light and precise. With the 9 litre tank and an expected fuel economy of 30 km/l, we can expect a range of 270 km.
The heating issues could not be tested because of the rainy conditions but the bike did not seem to get that hot under traffic conditions.
Ride or Race?
Cafe racing was started when people went for Sunday from one cafe to another. This revival of the Neo Cafe race trend might be nostalgia but with the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250, they have taken it too far thereby compromising on the comfort factor. This bike rides pretty well and engages the riders to push to its limit. But the lack of wind protection robs stability. The suspension is well set up but the stiffness is felt through potholes. Reaching triple-digit speeds on this bike is easy by maintaining them might be physically challenging.
The bike idles pretty high at 2000 rpm and this makes the rev band short. The bike has a lot of power in the 4000 to 6000 range and the bike does feel settled in that range. As we move ahead we see a drop in power and also the vibrations creep in from the handlebars. Liked the way, the rev limiter cuts in without a sudden jerk.
Who is this aimed at?
The flaws of this bike as a cafe racer make this bike a track-ready machine. This could be the closest we could get to a RC 250. So for the people who are waiting for the RC 250 the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 might be a bike which will make this dream come true. So if you are a buyer who has waited long for the RC 250 you can go for this bike. Other than that the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 will attract buyers who are looking for a style statement.
If at all you are going to buy this bike do consider the daily driving distance. It is not good for touring and city runs might just spoil your mood. At Rs 1.84 lakhs ex-showroom this is cheaper than the Duke 250 but so is the Swartpilen. Take a test ride before buying because the difference between both is all about how you feel. To sum it all up I would say that the Husqvarna Vitpilen 250 is true to its Cafe Racer DNA!
Also read: Will the next Husqvarna be 200 or 400?