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ADV NewsBuilding The Ultimate Husqvarna 701 Adventurer

Building The Ultimate Husqvarna 701 Adventurer

Dakar veteran Manuel Lucchese takes the 701 to a whole new level.

Published on 07.12.2023

Dakar racer and FIM 500cc Baja World Champion Manuel Lucchese has a lot of ideas, and not just about how to win rallies. His next-chapter vocation, designing meaningful and accessible improvements for popular adventure and rally machines has made him the darling of manufacturers and aftermarket purveyors alike. And then there are the few lucky customers who get a full Lucchese build like this very spicy and fresh-looking Husqvarna 701. 

Many of Manuel’s builds are for pro riders like Pol Tarres, but this custom adventure bike was created for a customer with more real-world intentions. The bike’s owner wanted to ride his Husky from Italy to Russia, taking breaks to explore parts of the Trans Euro Trail and the fabled forests of Russia along the way. So there would be off-road adventures for sure, but also a lot of seat time in transit. 

Manuel told ADV Pulse how this meant he needed to not only enhance the bike’s capability off-road, but also dial up its comfort factor. The changes range from small things such as adding Rebel X Rally foam grips favored by rally pros to major suspension upgrades and a complete reimagining of the Husky’s cockpit. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build

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What’s extra sweet about this project bike is how almost all the curated parts are available for global consumption via Europe’s Rebel X Sports, where the Dakar racer manages R&D. Unlike many builders, he’s also transparent about the cost of the finished project, which landed right around €25,000 ($28,000 usd) including the new motorcycle. And in his new YouTube video walk-around of the 701 he mentions a fully-prepared build like this one, only with its own unique, personalized graphic kit, can be purchased and exported from Italy to your country of choice. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build

To kick off the project, the bike’s stock bodywork was traded for a kit of blank black panels now being offered by Husqvarna. Manuel says that the kit, which comes in white or black, arrives with a shorter Supermoto-style front fender, and since he dislikes that look on a rally-style bike, opted to incorporate a longer fender meant for a KTM EXC model and applied Husky FE model fork guards as well. On the plastics he applied a subtle, yet striking custom-designed matte sticker kit created and cut by an in-house graphics team. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build
Husqvarna 701 bike build

One of the major touring upgrades came in the form of adding a second fuel cell from Rade Garage in the front, which added 1.6 gallons for a total capacity of 5 gallons. The plumbing for the new front tank plugs right into the existing system, without the need of an extra fuel pump. A petcock allows you to turn the front tank on or off, although the rear tank is always active. And since the new tank took the position of the stock air box, Manuel was inspired to change over from the stock paper filter to a Twin Air foam filter, which offers better protection in off-road riding conditions and easier maintenance. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build
Husqvarna 701 bike build

The most noticeable difference on the customized Husky might be the new cockpit created around a freshly available customizable navigation tower, which is part of a Street-Legal, Plug-And-Play Rally Kit designed by Manuel and offered by Rebel X Sports for bikes like the 701 and KTM 890 Adventure. The navigation tower accommodates a sizable rally replica windscreen, shaped to block wind on grueling rally days, so likewise perfect for a long civilian tour. Within the screen three lights are stacked behind a clear, gusseted rock mask, including a running light and LED low beam from Hella, and high-powered S1 high beam unit from Baja Designs, which Manuel says will make night riding safer on his client’s journey.

Husqvarna 701 bike build

A rugged, lockable Carpe Iter adventure tablet tops the nav tower, offering easy-to-read navigation screens that can be commanded from a bluetooth Android-based Adventure Controller mounted in thumb’s reach of the left handgrip. Manuel says he added a Garmin Montana 700 series GPS unit to a riser deck bracket system he designed for Rebel X as a backup, though the deck can also accept many devices such as a smartphone via a quad lock or even the ERTF GPS units used in Dakar and other world championship rallies. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build

The tower also incorporates a 6-Way Fuse Box with error led indicator, bracket mount for the OEM dashboard and indicator lights, double USB ports and an amp meter. Beneath the lamp system there is also an air scoop Manuel says not only provides airflow but also better stability for the front end, and tucked within the unit you’ll find a space to accommodate rain gear or a first aid kit. Included quick-release side panels additionally help to hide unsightly wiring as well as visually unite the tower with the fuel tank and side panels. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build
Husqvarna 701 bike build

Foldable short-stock Adventure mirrors from Doubletake were added, as well as Rebel X Rally Foam Grips and Acerbis Factory Rally handguards with brush extensions. Clutch and brake levers, which are adjustable both forward and back as well as in length, are from Raximo, while SM Project CNC-machined clutch and brake fluid reservoir caps are just the start of a long list of anodized blue bling that also includes an ignition plug, oil filter cap, brake pedal tip, sprocket guard and a rear fuel filler paired with an Acerbis cap for keyless access to the stock tank.

Husqvarna 701 bike build
Husqvarna 701 bike build

But the bright blue visual highlights, which additionally include a Stealth sprocket from Husqvarna, are only part of the bike’s unique aesthetic. Carbon fiber elements by Tekmo also run throughout, including an ignition cover, clutch wrap and molded bash plate. There’s also a swing arm cover in carbon fiber as well as a shield for the exhaust pipe, which Manuel says transfers far less heat than the steel version used by the manufacturer. As for the muffler, he says he chose a carbon-fiber tipped street legal Arrow unit in order to reduce some heat and weight as well as improve sound and performance. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build

To ready the bike for its intended travel scenario, Manuel told ADV Pulse there was “a big intervention on the fork” by replacing the complete cartridge fork with the premium WP Xplor Pro unit with custom settings dialed in for the rider’s weight and riding skills.  For the rear shock he says they simply worked on the OEM unit, adjusting rebound and preload to balance it with the new front suspension.

Husqvarna 701 bike build
Husqvarna 701 bike build

The bike’s new blue Takasago Excel rims were sourced from Italy’s Bartubeless since Manuel felt going tubeless would be better for a solo traveler in uncertain terrain. He opted for a wider, three-inch rear rim size as well, so the owner would have access to a wider variety of tubeless tires. The attractive rims turn on matching CNC-machined hubs. Manuel’s initial tire choice are the Mitas E-07 Enduro Trails knobbies seen here, though he projects more road-oriented tires are in the bike’s future.  

Husqvarna 701 bike build

In a further nod toward long-distance touring, Manuel added a quick-dry leather and memory foam seat cover by Selle Dalla Valle and a versatile laser-cut rear aluminum luggage rack from Perun Moto. Since he says he likes his bikes to be “legal, but not too much”  there is a Tail Tidy rear light fixture and quick flip license plate holder, though the tucking effect works equally well avoiding tire rub during off-road riding as it does evading Europe’s plentiful speed cameras. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build
Husqvarna 701 bike build

Other touring niceties include larger anodized Rebel X Rally footpegs to offer a wider footprint and stability, while a Perun Moto side stand foot makes parking on varied surfaces less of a gamble. Rebel X Sports also sells a handy Apple Air Tag holder, so there is a tracking device hidden on this sweet 701. 

In the end Manuel says the Husky didn’t really lose notable weight on this build program, and since it’s intended to be an overlander rather than a race bike, trimming weight was not top of mind. 

Husqvarna 701 bike build

He also wants everyone to know that in addition to offering fully-built bikes to the global market, all of the parts on this 701 can be ordered separately from Rebel X Sports or a purveyor of your choice. And for those following his YouTube channel, he promises even more of his future customs will include detailed info on how to DIY your own version of his crowd-pleasing creations, and exactly how much it will cost. 

Photos by Giacomo Lucchese

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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Tblasier
Tblasier
September 12, 2023 5:56 pm

What handgrips?

Jamie Elvidge
Jamie Elvidge
September 12, 2023 6:29 pm
Reply to  Tblasier

Rebel X Rally Foam Grips

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