Prototypes of the Husqvarna Vitpilen 1301 date back to 2016. Unfortunately, the neo-retro hypernaked still hasn’t debuted. Additionally, the model the big-bore Vitpilen is based on, KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R, has moved on in the past six years, adopting a composite subframe, reworked LC8 V-twin, and updated electronics package.
With the latest-generation Super Duke settled in, it’s the perfect time to resurrect the Vitpilen 1301 project, and recent spy shots of the Husky testing in Europe show the project’s progress. Back in 2016, the Vitpilen 1301 prototype featured bodywork indicative of Husqvarna’s neo-café design language. The stubby tail section, classic yet contemporary tank shape, and belly pan aligned with the Vitpilen 701’s established styling.
In 2022, Husky holds its cards closer to the chest. Sure, the futuristic circular headlight is a dead giveaway, but the new prototype doesn’t wear Vitpilen-esque bodywork. Instead, the test trim resembles the Super Duke’s sharp styling and even repurposes the new composite subframe found on the hopped-up hypernaked.
That doesn’t mean that Husky just installed a new headlamp, however. The Vitpilen 1301 test mule sports a single-sided swingarm but goes for a nine-spoke cast aluminum wheelset compared to the Super Duke R’s five-spoke units. The Husqvarna exhaust silencer also differs from its KTM relative, opting for a dual-can design. In typical Vitpilen fashion, the prototype touts bar-end mirrors, a sleek front fender, and a belly pan.
While the Vitpilen 1301 spy photos reveal a lot about the potential new model, parent company Pierer Mobility Group frequently differentiates the Austrian and Swedish brands with cosmetics. Of course, the KTM Duke and Husqvarna Vitpilen lines are perfect examples of this practice, but the new Husqvarna Norden 901 also captures a piece of the adventure market that the KTM 890 Adventure can’t access.
While the Vitpilen 1301 images are encouraging evidence of its continued evolution, we can’t wait to see how Husqvarna styles the new naked when it finally debuts.