ADB MAGAZINE: Oct-2016
ARE THE 2016 SWMS JUST REBRANDED HUSQVARNAS? YES. AND HERE’S WHY WE THINK THAT’S A GOOD THING.
When we Instagrammed the first picture of us testing SWM’s RS300R and RS500R enduros we got a bunch of armchair critics howling about them being rebadged Huskies. When we asked SWM brand manager Stephen Tuff what he thought of their response, he simply shrugged and said: “Yep, that’s right. And?”
Tuffy explained that the SWM RS300R and RS500R are based on the 2009-2012 Husqvarna TE310 and TE510, with only a few small differences (see sidebar). But, what Tuffy kept repeating was that the SWMs are built around the more reliable 2009-2011 Husqvarna engine, before the factory got out the scalpel and turned it into the X-Lite donk the following year. The rest of the running gear, like the Kayaba suspension, hydraulic clutch and Brembo brakes, are all top-notch and the same stuff found on the last Italianbuilt Husqvarnas.
When Tuffy announced that the first shipment of SWM enduros had arrived, I was in two minds as to how we should approach the test. I mean, what’s the point in testing technology that we’d tested to death between 2009 and 2012? Then I began to think back to those tests and realised I couldn’t remember a thing, and I wrote half of them!
On top of that, the demographic that SWM is targeting has changed since the bikes were Husqvarnas. When we rode the TE310 and TE510 they were marketed as race bikes, designed to compete with the likes of KTM, Yamaha, Beta and Sherco enduro bikes. SWM is marketing these machines as trailbikes, distancing them from the enduro/race market. But how easy is it to convert a former racer into a reliable trailbike? And does it work?
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