It’s taken a couple of years of development, but SWM’s Superdual adventure motorcycle is finally about to be released in New Zealand.
Words: Mat Pics: SWM
When the reborn SWM brand made their debut in New Zealand, it was I who somehow landed the very first NZ ride on the road-going-enduro RS650R, and apart from a few minor gripes I loved the big traillie for its ability to open my eyes to a more adventurous style of riding. The BMW-era Husqvarna derived 600cc motor was fantastic, producing enough power to put it well outside the realm of LAMS bikes and make wheelies a breeze. But when it came to comfort it was a typical big traillie, with a seat that was enough to make you cry after an hour on the road really putting off many riders from picking up the competitively priced Italian in favour of something more, well, Japanese.
But even then, we knew there was a bike on the horizon that would make those complaints void, the Superdual. With a more comfortable scalloped seat, street friendly 19-inch front wheel (as opposed to the 21-incher on the RS650R), a larger 18-litre fuel tank, touring screen, centre stand and crash bars as standard, it couldn’t arrive in New Zealand soon enough.
The Superdual, in its standard form, is competitively priced and offers more than just Italian styling and a stand-out red frame. Starting at $11,990 and featuring switchable ABS, a powerful 53hp engine and a relatively low weight of just 169kg dry, it stacks up on the spec sheet with the Japanese competition, namely Kawasaki’s KLR650 and Suzuki’s V-Strom 650, quite well.
In its factory specification, the Superdual will be outside the LAMS bracket of 150kw per tonne, but will conveniently balance that by falling into the cheaper sub 600cc registration bracket. In Europe SWM offer the Superdual with an A2 licence kit which restricts to 34hp, which in New Zealand would make it LAMS approved. The importers, Europe Imports, are currently only bringing in the full power version but are open to bringing in the restricted models of the 600cc SWM range if there is demand.
dueOn the road it has a similar character to the RS650R, except is much more comfortable ergonomically and feels more at home than the knobbly tyre’d sibling, despite relatively few major differences between them. Riding around the twisty Italian roads surrounding the Lake Varese SWM factory, I couldn’t help but compare the sensation of riding the Superdual to the that of a Supermoto style machine. You sit quite far forward, to the point where you feel almost on top of the front wheel at times, yet each time you dip into a corner the bike feels stable and eggs you on to take corner with even more aggression.
The brakes are real performers, pulling the bike up with little fuss and the switchable ABS of the final version will be a welcome addition when we get to ride it on our roads. The 45mm Fast Ace USD fork did tend to dive when I applied a handful, but this is part and parcel of the class, and if it really bothered you there is rebound damping adjustment which you can play with to adjust the front forks.
Has it been it worth the wait? On the face of it yes. With that relatively low price point mixed in with a great engine and true adventure capability, the Superdual looks sure to be a winner. The true test of the bike will be when we get our hands on it here at home, when we can head for the hills and the road less travelled to see if this mid-sized adventurer is the next big thing in the great Kiwi adventure.
For the full review of the SWM Superdual, and the first ride of the new Gran Turismo which was also at the launch, make sure you grab a subscription to Bike Rider Magazine and never miss out on a review!