In the latest example of engines being repurposed for another style of bike, KTM's mammoth Super Duke powerplant has been seen testing in Europe, mounted in a streetfighter/power-cruiser chassis. Word has it that this is to be a Husqvarna-branded cruiser, aimed most directly at Ducati's Diavel and Star's V-Max.
The shape of this test mule reminds us of the Husqvarna Vitpilen (or "white arrow") concept, which we first saw and discussed in our EICMA 2014 coverage of Husqvarna here. The concept created a lot of buzz, not only for the accessibility (rumored then to be 373cc single and weighing less than 300 pounds) but also for the smooth, sharp lines and not very many of them. Terrifically simple.
This new power cruiser uses similar lines but crams in KTM’s flagship V-twin. The riding position looks much more aggressive than, say, a Ducati Diavel (and much more aggressive than the xDiavel) with higher footpegs mounted farther back, and low bars. The musclebound shape has Diavel-competitor written all over it, though, with a broad gas-tank area and a stubby tail section. Even the swingarm-mounted rear hugger is Diavel-esque. There is evidence of Kiska design, too, in the shrouds reaching forward under the handlebar and angular, spaceship shape of the tank. The single-sided swingarm and multi-spoke wheel design seem to have creeped from the Super Duke to this concept, as have the massive Brembo brakes and beefy fork.
Significant cowling covers the lower part of the engine, which we suspect is test bodywork rather than just disguise for this test bike. Keeping the flat-on-the-top, flat-on-the-bottom motif from the Vitpilen concept seems to be a priority. A similar muffler placement to the Super Duke R is apparent here, but we wouldn't be surprised to see a fully underslung muffler setup on a production bike, leaving the rear wheel exposed and the lines clean.
Whether the test machine in these photos makes it to production as a Husqvarna or as a KTM we can’t be completely sure. But we do hope that it sees showroom floors. As wickedly fast as the V-Max is, the Diavel is overdue for some fresh competition in the power cruiser market. And frankly, any platform to enjoy KTM’s biblical 1,301cc powerplant is fine by us.