Motorcycles run in Justin Maxwell’s family. His father worked as motorcycle mechanic in his native South Africa, and Maxwell spent his youth racing motocross, eventually ascending to the national level. After attaining degrees in marketing and business management, Maxwell secured a job that kept him close to two wheels, serving as the sales and marketing lead at South Africa’s largest KTM dealership in Johannesburg. From there, Maxwell moved to Mattighofen, Austria, to act as a project manager for Husqvarna. His tenure began just as the Vitpilen 701 concept was born, so he’s been with the model since its inception. We caught up with Maxwell at the press introduction for the Vitpilen 701 in Barcelona, Spain, to gather some insights into this unique model’s design and development.
It feels like we’ve been waiting for this bike forever, but it actually went from concept to production very quickly. How?
Yes. We only showed the concept of the Vitpilen 701 in 2015, so the project was actually fast-tracked. We were eager to get Husqvarna back into the street segment with a full street motorcycle, and by using the 690 frame and engine, we didn’t have to develop a frame from scratch or an engine from scratch. So then the main challenge was the design, to get all the bodywork to fit correctly and look right.
Husqvarna’s parent company, KTM, has some production facilities in India. Is the Vitpilen made in Asia?
It’s made in Austria. Of course there are parts sourced from other countries, like say, the throttle body is from Japan, but we manufacture and assemble bikes in a shared facility with KTM in Austria. Both production lines are under the same roof.