The Husqvarna SM 610 in India!
#InConversation with Karna Verma, owner of the Husqvarna SM 610. A motorcycle that is a rare sight on Indian roads. And we were lucky to bump into Karna while he was out on the streets enjoying this Swedish pocket rocket.
The SM 610 is a Supermoto with a single cylinder 576cc mill, churning out 52 bhp and 52 Nm. The bike was first unveiled in the European market in 2005. True to most Huskies, the bike was built to be a proper street hooligan with just 142 kg of motorcycle to throw around in traffic or in those canyon runs! The lithe machine boasts quality components, including the brakes which is essential to keep the rider grounded, both figuratively and literally!
So let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth about living with the Husky!
xBhp: What got you interested in motorcycles of this genre?
Karna Verma: It started with the thought of buying an out and out dirt bike, but that meant very limited use. It would be limited to dirt tracks, random trails and rally/raid events and that’s how the search ended on a Supermoto with off-road wheels.
xBhp: Have you ridden a lot of dirt bikes?
Karna Verma: Not a lot but I would say I have had my fair share of dirt bikes (desi custom ones to imports)
xBhp: Describe for us, how does it feel to ride this supermoto in Indian traffic!
Karna Verma: Oh it’s a really nice feeling you don’t need to worry about potholes (huge concern on my Fireblade) no worries of the bike heating up, it’s really light to ride around all day and not get completely broken to bits because of too much power or too much weight.
xBhp: Do you use this bike only for weekend rides or in regular use as well?
Karna Verma: A bit of both it’s a regular ride as well as my weekend shot of insane one wheel fun and it’s the best thing to ride in the hills. Frankly it’s really diverse from your city commuter, to a weekend bike that’s fast enough, to something you can take to your local dirt track for some Sunday fun.
xBhp: How easy/ difficult is it to buy a bike like this in India? Did you import it yourself? For how long have you owned this bike?
Karna Verma: It’s really difficult. There are very few Supermoto bikes in India. People who own them have made a very conscious decision of buying something like this and hence rarely want to part with them. I bought the bike from a friend who imported it and now I have had it for about 3 years.
xBhp: Supermotos are not known to have the most comfortable saddles. How comfortable is it for you after owning it for some time?
Karna Verma: It’s not one of the most comfortable bikes out there but it’s not the most uncomfortable also. I have done 500 km a day type of rides on the bike without any issue and spent like 3 hours on the saddle at a stretch (not that I claim that to be any benchmark but it proves that it’s a saddle you can live with)
xBhp: How would you compare the SM610 to the Duke 390 in terms of hooliganism!
Karna Verma: Imagine a 390 with long travel suspension, dirt wheels and some NOS to make the party wilder. It’s your 390 adventure on steroids. It’s MEAN and a lot of fun.
xBhp: Popping wheelies must be second nature for this Supermoto. How do you control the urge and ride sanely in Indian traffic!
Karna Verma: If am allowed to be true here if am in a sane frame of mind I don’t ride the Husky. Or rather sanity is kept safely in one of the corners of my room when I go out for a ride on the Husky, so that pure hooliganism of the bike doesn’t permanently corrupt my poor sanity in any way!
xBhp: For a bike as rare as this in the country, how difficult is it for you to maintain the motorcycle? Service, parts etc.
Karna Verma: It’s difficult, very difficult. You are always looking for people who are flying in from abroad to carry oil filter, air filter, this packing, that packing, sprockets, chains, etc. While others order their perfumes and chocolates!
xBhp: Do you have any other bike in your garage? If yes, how does it compare to the Husky?
Karna Verma: I have a few. Harley (it’s a different breed), Fireblade (recently sold, again a completely different baby), RD (that’s another bike that gives me a kick), Enfield (I won’t dare compare), Jawa (do I need to compare), Enfield Fury (no comparison again) and an Apache (no comparison but that’s again done up to like a C category dirt track bike spec)
xBhp: What rubber are you running currently on your ride and how often does this hooligan require a tyre change?
Karna Verma: I am currently running a set of Continental Twinduro TKC80 and it needs a set every 7000 odd km I would say.
xBhp: Would you like modern tech like ABS, Traction Control et al on your Husky, or do you think this will kill the character of the motorcycle?
Karna Verma: I am completely against any modern tech on motorcycles or even a car for that matter. I start enjoying my ride only when the rear slides out, SPEED is secondary an act of dare devilry is primary!
xBhp: Anything else that you would like to let our readers know that makes the SM610 special.
Karna Verma: It’s a special bike in every aspect it’s the kind of bike this country needs. Yes, I know we need the 100/150/200cc bikes much more, but the gap is huge between a 200 and a 750 or 1000cc bike. I do understand that there are a few 400s/500s/650s but they are too out-dated or too heavy or not built for the job, this bike is fun it’s full of life it’s a bike that will give you a smile on your face every time you swing a leg over it.
TAKE HER ANYWHERE AND SHE KNOWS HOW TO GET THERE ON ONE WHEEL. (I know that’s not what everybody wants from their bike but I certainly do!)