FIRST RIDE: 2019 SWM DUAL-SPORT 500–THE WRAP

We’ve been looking forward to our first ride on the 2019 SWM dual-sport bike for a long time now. You might not know the SWM name, but you probably know something about this bike.  Back in 2011 it was known as the Husqvarna TE510. In 2013, Husky production was moved to Austria, leaving a fairly modern factory near Varese, Italy dormant. Former executives from Cagiva and Asian investors acquired the factory as well as all the tooling and the intellectual rights to the older Husqvarna designs, and the result was SWM. Now, after a lengthy homologation process, the dual-sport bike is back in the U.S., updated, renamed and relaunched. The good part is that by using existing tooling, the price is thousands lower than comparable dual-sport bikes. The SWM RS500 sells for $7795. Even a Honda CRF450L is $10,399. KTMs, Huskys and Betas are more.

The 2019 SWM RS500 and Pete Murray.

Back in the old days, the bike came with a throttle stop that had to be removed by the buyer, and an electronic jumper was needed to access a workable EFI map. Those measures have been eliminated, but there’s still an oddly positioned charcoal canister hanging off the left side of the motor. It doesn’t affect performance in any way. The bike comes ready to ride. Another significant change from the old days is the suspension. The bike now has KYB components, front and rear. The Brembo brakes have been updated to the latest units and the tires are DOT Michelins with the Euro-spec shortened knob height. The components that come on the bike are all top notch.

If you’re remember with the Italian Husqvarna dual-sport bikes of the 2006 to 2011 era, the SWM looks very familiar.

The power is excellent. It’s exactly what a 500cc dual-sport should have. It’s a little softer off the bottom than a KTM 500EXC or a Honda CRF450L, but then it catches up. In the mid-range, it’s stronger than either of those.  It runs lean, as you might expect or a dual-sport bike, and it can occasionally stall. Again, that’s similar to what you get with the Honda. At this point, we don’t know if there is any EFI remapping software available or if companies like Dobeck make EFI tuners yet. It’s a Mikuni EFI system, so it an existing product might already exist. 

The bike’s biggest drawback is its weight. It weighs 285 pounds on our scale without fuel. By modern dual-sport standards, that’s a lot, and you feel it. The Honda, which has also been criticized for its weight, is 7 pounds lighter. It should be much easier to strip weight off the SWM, though. It has a dual muffler system, and we already know that Arrow has a single-sided pipe. There’s a massive charcoal canister on the right side of the motor and a few other places where a few pounds can be saved. Modifying the emissions equipment is, of course, against EPA, DOT and CARB rules.

On the plus side, the bike is very stable and the suspension is excellent. The fork is, in fact, much better than the one that comes on either the KTM 500EXC or the current Husqvarna FE510. It has a hydraulic clutch, handguards and cool little grab handles in the rear.  We’re still amazed by the price. This is a legitimate street-legal dirt bike with some of the best components made. SWM might not be a mainstream brand name, but parts shouldn’t be an issue. There’s a new U.S. Importer in California, and there’s also a preexisting inventory of Husqvarna parts.  For the full test of the 2019 SWM RS500, check out the March, 2019 print edition of Dirt Bike.

WHO WON IN 2018?

 

It’s time to review 2018 and decide who will be the recipient of the Caselli Cup. This is Dirt Bike Magazine’s award for America’s Top Off-Road Rider. Here are the candidates and what they did in 2018:

GNCC XC1
1 KAILUB K RUSSELL (7 Wins)
2 THADDEUS DUVALL (4 Wins)
3 STEWARD BAYLOR JR (1 Win)
4 TREVOR BOLLINGER
5 JOSH V STRANG
6 RICKY A RUSSELL
7 GRANT BAYLOR
8 LAYNE MICHAEL
9 JORDAN ASHBURN
10 CORY BUTTRICK
11 ANDREW R DELONG
12 JESSE GROEMM
13 PASCAL RAUCHENECKER
14 RUSSELL BOBBITT
15 RYAN SIPES
GNCC XC2
1 BENJAMIN M KELLEY (6 Wins)
2 JOSHUA M TOTH (6 Wins)
3 CRAIG B DELONG
4 AUSTIN LEE
5 EVAN SMITH
WORCS PRO
1 GIACOMO  REDONDI (1 Win)
2 ZACH  BELL (2 Wins)
3 TAYLOR  ROBERT (5 Wins)
4 GARY  SUTHERLIN
5 ERIC  YORBA
6 JUSTIN  SEEDS
7 JUSTIN  WALLIS F
8 DANTE  OLIVEIRA
9 BLAYNE  THOMPSON
10 COLE  SHONDECK
WORCS PRO 2
1 MITCH  ANDERSON
2 AUSTIN  SERPA
3 CLAYTON  HENGEVELD
BIG 6 PRO
1 TREVOR STEWART (3 Wins)
2 ZACH BELL (4 Wins)
3 BLAYNE THOMPSON
4 DALTON SHIREY
5 JUSTIN SEEDS
6 ERIC YORBA
7 DEREK KELLEY
8 KAILUB RUSSELL
9 JUSTIN JONES
10 NICHOLAS BURSON
11 JUSTIN WALLIS
12 MASON OTTERSBERG
13 GARY SUTHERLIN
15 GIACOMO REDONDI (1 Win)
16 RICKY DIETRICH
17 NIC GARVIN
18 MARK SAMUELS
19 DANTE OLIVEIRA
BIG 6 PRO 2
1 CLAY HENGEVELD (6 Wins)
2 MITCH ANDERSON
3 BEAU BARON (1 Win)
4 PRESTON CAMPBELL
5 JP ALVAREZ
NATIONAL ENDURO
1 Steward Baylor Jr (3 Wins)
2 Josh Toth (1 Win)
3 Grant Baylor (4 Wins)
4 Ben Kelley
5 Evan Smith
6 Cory Buttrick
7 Andrew Delong
8 Thad Duvall
9 Ryder Lafferty
10 Russell Bobbitt
HARE AND HOUND
1 Kendall Norman (2 Wins)
2 Nicholas Burson
3 Ryan Smith
4 Dalton Shirey  (1 Win)
5 Chance Fullerton
6 Taylor Robert  (3 Wins)
7 Joseph Wasson
9 Clayton Gerstner
10 Kyle Tichenor  
SPRINT ENDURO
1 Joshua Strang (won 5)
2 Steward Baylor (won 4)
3 Grant Baylor (won 1)
4 Layne Michael
5 Ryan Sipes (won 4)
HARE SCRAMBLES EAST
1 WALLACE PALMER
2 JUSTIN LAFFERTY
3 TANNER WAY
HARE SCRAMBLES WEST
1 Trystan Hart
2 Dante Oliveira
3 Devan Bolin

ISDE GOLD
Ryan Sipes (3rd E1) Josh Toth (4th), Taylor Robert (1st E2), Steward Baylor (2nd), Grant Baylor (8th), Ben Kelley (11th), Zach Bell (10th), Brandy Richards (2nd EW), Tarah Geiger (6th), Rebecca Sheets (8th), Talon Soeksen (7th C1), Dante Oliveira (5th C2), Cooper Abbott (8th), Kendall Norman (12th), Ryan Kudla (19th), James King (20th), Nick Obryant (21), JT Baker (1st C3), Travis Coy (3rd), Tyler Vore (5th), Trent Whisenant (7th)
ENDUROCROSS
1 COLTON HAAKER
2 CODY WEBB
3 TY TREMAINE
4 KYLE REDMOND
5 GEOFF AARON
SCORE CHAMPIONS: MARK SAMUELS, JUSTIN MORGAN, JUSTIN JONES
TKO WINNER: CODY WEBB
SUPERENDURO CHAMPION: CODY WEBB
BITD OPEN P: BRODY HONEA

DAKAR 2019

This year, the Dakar Rally will be held entirely in Peru. Old timers might remember the Incas Rally of the late 1980s, which was promoted by Acerbis and ridden by American’s such as Malcolm Smith and Scot Harden. This will have many of the same sections. Ricky Brabec will be representing America on the Monster Energy HRC team, and Adrew Short will be doing it on the Rockstar Husqvarna team. Skyler Howes will be a first-timer after having won the Sonora rally. He’ll be part of the Garrett Off Road racing team with Garrett Poucher as his team mate and he’ll be riding a KTM 450 prepared by Ondrej Klymciw. Here’s the schedule.

06/01/19 – Starting ramp / Lima
07/01/19 – Stage 1 / Lima – Pisco: 331 km (SS: 84 km)
08/01/19 – Stage 2 / Pisco – San Juan de Marcona: 553km (SS: 342km)
09/01/19 – Stage 3 / San Juan de Marcona – Arequipa: 798km (SS: 331km)
10/01/19 – Stage 4 / Arequipa – Tacna: (C,SxS,T) 664km (SS: 351km) + Arequpia – Moquegua: (B,Q) 511km (SS: 351km)
11/01/19 – Stage 5 / Tacna – Arequipa: (C,SxS,T) 714km (SS: 450km) + Moquega – Arequipa: (B,Q) 776km (SS: 345km)
12/01/19 – Rest Day / Arequipa
13/01/19 – Stage 6 / Arequipa – San Juan de Marcona: (C,SxS,T) 810km (SS: 290km) + (B,Q) 838km (SS: 317km)
14/01/19 – Stage 7 / San Juan de Marcona – San Juan de Marcona: 387km (SS: 323km)
15/01/19 – Stage 8 / San Juan de Marcona – Pisco: 575km (SS: 360km)
16/01/19 – Stage 9 / Pisco – Pisco: (B,C,Q,SxS) 409km (SS: 313km) + (T) 407km (SS: 311km)
17/01/19 – Stage 10 / Pisco – Lima: 359km (SS: 112km)

That’s all for this year

–Ron

 

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