TEST PETE VORST PHOTOGRAPHY JOSH EVANS
Some of the talk around our campfire down in Bungarby centred around a similar theme; “gee, she’s top heavy”, “it’s a big sucker” or “I still don’t need fuel, and I want to keep the weight down”.
Our big on range, comfort, tech and capacity adventure options are vast these days. But what if you want to tackle rougher trails but want to be able to do that without needing a servo every 100 kilometres, like you would on an enduro bike? Sure, you could buy an enduro bike and bung a big tank on it, but it’s nearly always a compromise in suspension performance, seating position, ability and looks.
New for 2020 is Husqvarna’s 701 Enduro LR (code for Long Range), which is built around the same 701 platform as the Enduro and Supermoto models. They all share the same fuel-injected, single-cylinder, four-valve 692.7cc engine, putting out an identical 55kW of power at 8000rpm and 73.5Nm of torque at 6500rpm. And they also all share a pretty impressive suite of electronics, which is unusual in this class, a swag of tech normally reserved for larger capacity adventure machinery.
There’s Bosch’s lean-angle sensitive ABS and traction control systems and two switchable riding modes, thanks to the ride-by-wire throttle and what Husqvarna has labelled Easy Shift (or in layman’s terms, a two-way quickshifter).
The LR’s spec sheet mimics the standard 701 Enduro’s almost completely, even the trellis frame, WP Xplor fully adjustable suspension, Brembo stoppers and the unique 13-litre fuel tank that doubles as the subframe are the same. It’s not until you get to fuel capacity on the spec sheet that you see where the two models differ. The LR boasts a fuel capacity of 25 litres through the addition of a conventional and rather bulbous looking 12-litre tank in the usual spot. The extra tank, dual fuel pumps and associated paraphernalia adds an extra nine kilograms of weight to the Enduro LR, which has a dry weight figure of 155kg.
Almost 700cc is a lot of cubes in the bush, but with the engine’s broad spread of power and a deck of rider aids and modes, the LR’s output is smooth, tractable and fierce all at once. But it’s as angry or placid as you want it to be and, on all but the snottiest of single track, the capacity was a plus rather than a minus. It’s not far off being the perfect big-bore thumper engine for my money; it’s grunty down low but it flippin’ howls once you get the revs up – especially evident once you re-join the tarmac – and it’ll have you tearing at the pages of the accessories catalogue looking for a motard kit.
The LR offers two ride modes. Mode 1, or road mode, gives you snappy and instant response, the cornering traction and wheelie control are on and the lean-angle sensitive ABS is active on both the front and rear. Mode 2, or off-road mode, smooths out the throttle a tad, ditches rear-wheel ABS and wheelie control for phat skids and long wheelies. Flicking between the modes is done through a neat little switch on the left-hand ’bar and, while it can be done on the fly, it can be a little fiddly with gloves on. I tended to stay in off-road mode when off-road or on, the smoother throttle is welcome in the bush and the ability to loft the front wheel on the road brought me much gaiety.
There’s also a separate button near the LCD dash which allows you to ditch ABS completely and a dedicated traction control button also located on the mode switch. When the going gets rough the traction control in mode two is still a little intrusive, it’s handy to be able to kill the traction control all together. But the little shit of a button has a mind of its own, if there’s a simple and reliable technique for turning traction control off I couldn’t find it, nor could our experienced off-road riding photographer, Josh. My frustration at it got to the point that I would leave the bike running once I managed to turn the traction control off just in case it reset when the bike was switched off, which also appears to happen intermittently.
Alongside the Mode and TC switch is a toggle that allows you to select which tank you’d like to pull fuel from, both tanks run a seperate fuel pump and have their own filler caps. The rear tank is the default position for the selector switch, unless you physically switch it to the front, and once the rear’s empty it’ll automatically switch itself to be fed from the front tank. Though it might all be a bit much for the reserve sensor, because despite the front having a capacity of 12-litres, I could only get five litres in once the fuel light came on, meaning I still had seven or so litres in ‘reserve’. But better to be safe than sorry, I guess.
The front tank is quite slim between the legs and the seat-tank relationship allows you to get your weight right over the front of the bike. Sitting forward is hindered for taller riders as the tank widens and splays the legs a little awkwardly. Standing on the pegs, though, the Husky was perfect for my 186cm height, with a comfortable reach to the high alloy bar, nice wide footpegs, easy access to all controls and good surfaces for gripping the bike.
It’s a bit of a big human’s bike with a tall 925mm seat and a bit of weight behind her already without its 25 litres of fuel slapping about. It’s nearing 180kg ready to ride, but once you’re rolling – and especially when you’re standing – it’s surprisingly nimble for its weight and capacity, while still being extremely stable, and tooling around the bush in slow trials mode is a hoot.
A quickshifter on a dirt bike is just ace; not having to use the clutch while up on the pegs makes life very easy. The six-speed gearbox is a little notchy and using the quickshifter did throw up the occasional false neutral between third and fourth when hard on the gas, but for the most part it’s worth its weight in gold.
Front suspension duties are handled by a chunky 48mm fully adjustable WP Xplor fork with compression damping handled by the right-hand fork and rebound in the left, and you’ll find a fully adjustable WP Xplor shock on the back end. It’s the same top-end enduro spec kit you’ll find on the standard enduro, but Husky has tweaked the settings to compensate for the extra weight. For my weight and my speed off road, I wound a little more preload on and slowed down the rebound a tad and it was bang-on perfect. Plush enough in the initial stroke to soak up trail tid-bits and progressive enough to soak up erosion bank jumps, even with a gutful of fuel it can have you screaming down fire trails in a very confident manner indeed.
The ABS-equipped Brembos? I haven’t met a bad set in recent history, it’s hardly worth talking about anymore, except to say that they offer all the feel you can handle, and all the power you could want both front and rear. The ABS works pretty well in the dirt and it doesn’t have you sailing off into the scenery when you grab a handful.
We love big adventure machines for their ability to rattle off bike miles and partake in a bit of dirt action, but if you’re anything like me you don’t have one parked in the shed despite wanting one. The reasons might go a little like this; you value being able to still do some trail riding with mates, you want a bike whose weight doesn’t mimic an average family saloon and you just don’t have the time to venture off for mega jaunts that require huge miles and comfort considerations.
If you tick those boxes and want decent fuel capacity, and a good bit of tech, then I reckon the LR is in the sweet spot. The Husky is a factory version of what we used to build when we whacked big tanks on large-capacity thumpers and headed for the hills – just without the compromises. The only catch is the price. At just a whisper under 20 grand, it’s a big outlay for a beefed-up dirtbike.
SPECS: HUSQVARNA ENDURO LR
Type Single-cylinder, SOHC, 4 valves
Bore & stroke 105 x 80mm Compression ratio 12.7:1 Cooling Liquid
Fueling EFI, 1 x 50mm
Keihin throttle body Transmission Six-speed
Clutch Wet, multi-plate, slipper Final drive Chain
Power 55kW @ 8000rpm
Torque 73,5Nm @ 6500rpm
Top speed 170km/h (est)
Fuel consumption Not given
Type Keihin ECU,
Bosch ABS, Ride-by-wire
Rider aides Bosch 9.1 Cornering ABS, cornering Traction Control, Wheelie Control
Modes Mode 1 (street mode), mode 2 (off-road mode)
Frame material Chromium-Molybdenum steel
Frame type Trellis
Rake 27.7 degrees
Type WP XPLOR
Front: 48mm telescopic USD fork, fully adjustable, 250mm travel Rear: Monoshock, fully adjustable, 250mm travel
WHEELS & BRAKES
Wheels Spoked aluminium Front: 21 x 1.85 Rear: 18 x 2.5 Tyres Continental TKC 80
Brakes Brembo, ABS
Front: Single 300mm discs, twin piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc,
single piston caliper
Weight 155kg (dry, claimed) Seat height 925mm
Width Not given
Height Not given
Length Not given
Ground clearance 270mm
Fuel capacity 25L
SERVICING & WARRANTY
Servicing First: 1000km
Warranty Two years,
Price $19,945 ride away
Colour options White
Contact husqvarna-motorcycles. com/en-au