Outsiders Husqvarna Vitpilen 701
By Ross Sharp - 17 Jul 19
"The 2019 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is our first non-client build. New and fresh out of the crate. We’ve always been suckers for the old mx-bikes and the looks of them, so the brand Husqvarna was no stranger for us. The 701 is, completely stock, quite a stunning bike. You can see at first glance that a team of new-wave designers – Kiska from Austria – had their way with it. We chose the 701 because we felt it was the right time to do so. The 701 is one of the first bikes where the design is so much more than functional. The details are crazy good – not only the visual ones, but also the tech parts. All the way up to the brazed-on tabs for the tie-wraps.""We really liked working on the Bonneville’s and lets be honest, newer bikes are so much nicer to wrench on. No rusted bolts, thought-through and no bodge jobs. The complete budget can be spent on aesthetics and performance whilst on older builds half will go into making it actually run properly. We got a crazy good deal on one through Mulders Motoren (who also managed to wedge the spoked wheels into the deal) – but it was only three months before the 2019 Bike Shed show in London. A crazy-cool opportunity to grow and expand our brand but not much time to create something truly unique."
"We got the bike and that same evening we tore it apart. With every build it’s a scary point-of-no-return but with this one it was even wilder as the bike couldn’t even run due to the transport lock still being on it."
"Now, I want to give some massive props to the designers over at Kiska and Husqvarna, because this machine is an absolute joy to work on for customisers. It looks like it was designed solely to then be taken apart and modified. Everything is SO WELL thought through! The whole subframe is held on with 4 bolts which is ideal because well.. you only have to remove 4 bolts. But, and way more important, the main frame stays intact giving massive design options. 85% of the wiring is routed within the main frame – our subframe only houses battery, starter relays and some tuning/CanBus plugs.""The subframe, as good is it is, had to go. It’s lumpy and gives the bike weight it does not need. It also gives the bike a very distinct look and not many viable design options. A tubular structure looks nicer and cleaner with the main frame and is also lighter so that was the first part that we fabricated. We used the stock subframe to make a jig for the new one and went to work."
"Next part we changed was the swingarm. The milled box-type didn’t fit the look we had in mind, we wanted the swingarm to be tubular, like the frame. Again, a jig was constructed with the original swingarm for reference, with the only big difference being the new one is 30 mm shorter. The stock one is so freaking long, and 30mm might not seem like much, it is. And it's made for a mega wheelie machine.""The tank design is a personal want. I had this idea in my head for so long and finally had the opportunity to do it. A massive undertaking that took 2 weeks to design, cut, weld and pressure test the new angular shape. But it came out pretty good. The stock fuel pump, fuel level sensor and cap were re-used. We like to mix the stock stuff with the new, gives it a prototype vibe if done right."
And thankfully Bert Jan remembered to take a few snaps during the build process which are worth sharing. Cardboard and masking tape, the basis for all the best bikes.