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Husqvarna 701; the cats meow, or just a 690 is wolf's clothing?

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  • Husqvarna 701; the cats meow, or just a 690 is wolf's clothing?

    It'll be another year until the KTM 790 arrives, so I'm wondering about people's experience with the Husky 701 as a "do it all bike".
    A typical "adventure" ride may include everything from a few hundred kms of tarmac, to (hundreds of kms of) gravel roads (FSRs), 2 track, and possibly even single track. If you've been putting your 701 through its paces - how's she been treating you?

  • #2
    I just got my 701 a few weeks ago, and rode it on the B loop at the Loose Screw this year. It is a 320 pound bike so it's on the heavy side for single track, but it will do it. Once I got moving I was surprised at how light it felt. Then in the afternoon, after dropping and picking it up a few times, reality sank in - it weighs 320 pounds...

    It has marginally better road manners than my 350 Husky, but it doesn't compare to my V-strom or any other true adventure bike. This really is a plus-size dirt bike.

    But that MOTOR... holy heart attack batman! This thing is FAST!! 75+ horsepower and smooth linear power right off idle. So much fun! You can idle around a gear higher than the little bikes and then roll on the throttle to climb almost any hill. It's intoxicating!

    It needs a few modifications:
    • The TKC-80 tires are great for commuting around town, but not suitable for real off road riding. Get some real knobbies.
    • First KTM/Husky I've ever seen that did NOT have rim locks on it. These are a must-have for off-road. (The rims will need to be re-balanced when these are installed.)
    • The faux plastic skid plate came off the first time I hit an obstacle. It literally tore away from the front mounting bolts and fell off. Surprisingly bad design. You definitely need an aftermarket metal skid plate, as there aren't even any frame rails between the motor and the rocks.
    • There's a factory de-smog/de-restriction kit that you should install, along with an aftermarket silencer (I got a Wings unit) and a re-map on the ECU. These mods really make the engine come alive!
    • The seat is the classic KTM/Husky monkey-butt design. Who says the Austrians have no sense of humour? It's their way of enforcing good (standing) riding posture. Replace it with a Seat Concepts if you ever plan on actually sitting on it.
    Like any bike, it has some quirks:
    • Speedometer completely failed about 15 minutes into the first ride. Replaced under warranty. Not the quality I'm used to with KTM/Husky, but they covered it so whatever.
    • A few more missed shifts (false neutrals) than other bikes, mainly in the higher gears
    • My son dropped the bike and tweaked the bars. I thought he had bent the bars or (shudder) the bar mount, but when I got it home I found that it has rubber bushings in the bar mounts and they somehow moved when he dropped the bike. I took them apart and put them back together and they are fine again, but I wonder if this will happen frequently in the future. Keeping an eye on this for now.
    • The gas cap is kind of recessed into the rear plastics - I can see how dirt could collect around it and then fall into the tank when you open it up to fill it. There is an aftermarket fix for this but it's not cheap ($142USD) so I'm just going to live with it for now.
    • Dumbest turn signal design ever. Fronts have been OK so far, but the rear ones come apart almost every ride. If the clear plastic shell comes apart, it can be re-assembled with a small Philips screwdriver. But eventually the stalk came off the metal mounting boss on one of them, and all the king's horses and all the king's men could not get that turn signal back together again so I replaced both the rear turn signals with aftermarket units.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by hooter; 08-22-2018, 12:03 AM.

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    • #3
      Very helpful - thanks! Tell me more!
      What would it take to throw a leg over that thing? Willing to meet you anywhere on the behemoth (990), and would very much appreciate even a few mins off-road... No worries if such sacrilege makes ya queasy ;-)

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      • #4
        Hi offworlder, I tried to PM you but I got an error message about exceeding your message quota. PM me with your email and/or cell number and we'll set something up.

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