SWM Superdual X Review
The SWM Superdual X is a budget ADV bike that packs a punch.
Photography by Kit Palmer
The SWM Superdual X is just that—a “super” multi-purpose motorcycle that bridges the gap between a full-size dual-sport bike and a full-on adventure bike, kind of like Kawasaki’s popular KLR650, which was recently put out to pasture. The KLR’s exodus left a void for those wanting a “lightweight” large-bore single-cylinder adventure bike that is easy to ride, especially on the dirt, yet can chew up the miles in a single seating. But, perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t cost so much that you have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it. The SWM Superdual X is that motorcycle, and it comes along at just the right time with the departure of the KLR650.
You might not be familiar with the SWM brand yet, but you are probably already familiar with this motorcycle and didn’t know it—it’s a Husqvarna at heart. When KTM bought Husqvarna from BMW in 2013, the Austrians left behind a perfectly good motorcycle manufacturing plant in Italy, where BMW-owned Husqvarnas were last built. Using the name of a defunct but popular Italian motorcycle manufacturer of the 1970s and 1980s, SWM resurfaced after having acquired the Varese, Italy factory, rights and tooling to make what used to be Husqvarna motorcycles again. One of them what you see here, the SMW Superdual X, which started life in 2011 as the Husqvarna TE630 (but its lineage goes back much further).
The Superdual X is heavily based on that bike, a dual-sport motorcycle that didn’t really shine on either the dirt or the pavement. The TE630 wasn’t really meant to be ridden much on the pavement, yet it was too big to be a very effective dual-sport bike on the trail. The TE630 kind of floated around in no-man’s land.
However, SWM saw that the TE630 had potential and that without much effort could be turned into an ideal lightweight budget ADV bike and invented the Superdual X. Much of the Superdual X comes straight from the TE630, including the TE’s dual-exhaust fuel-injected 600cc DOHC four-valve motor with electric starting. Transmission is a six-speed, and lubrication is handled via a wet-sump oil circulation system.
The frame is all Husqvarna, too. Close-up inspection reveals a familiar old-school Husqvarna double-cradle central backbone frame configuration that’s been around in some form or another since the 1980s. Suspension components, however, have changed. The SWM is fitted with a fully adjustable 43mm, USD, Fastace-made fork, and, in the back, a single Sachs shock, which is also fully adjustable.
You can spot quality components all over the Superdual X. It comes fitted with oversized aluminum handlebars, Brembo brakes, Metzeler tires, a hydraulic clutch and a Regina chain.
But here’s what really sets the Superdual X apart from the TE630, the Superdual X’s larger 4.8-gallon fuel tank, crash bars and attached running lights, anti-lock brakes, centerstand and side stand, luggage rack and windscreen. Now the Superdual X is ready for a good adventure!
And here is the best part—you get all this for just $8995 (which is, oddly enough, $4 cheaper than what the TE630 was going for in 2013). The KLR650 sold for $6699 in its final days, but $8995 is still a fantastic price for a well-equipped fuel-injected 600cc European-made adventure motorcycle that is much more powerful than the KLR650 ever was. And performs very well overall, too.
Yes, the SWM Superdual X is an excellent-performing machine that feels more dual sport than a lightweight ADV bike, which SWM categorizes it as. When you think of it that way, then the SWM quickly impresses, especially in the motor department. There is plenty of power available at the slightest twist of your right wrist, and it’s all very controllable. It doesn’t rip out of your hands whenever you crack the throttle (that comes later) but instead delivers smooth and useable power in the first part of the powerband. It’s not until you get to the middle of the powerband that the SWM really comes alive. Again, it’s nothing to be afraid of, but the power really kicks in from midrange on up. SWM says peak horsepower is right around the 50-plus mark. It doesn’t take much to get the rear tire to break loose, but, with good throttle control, it’s also easy to keep the rear tire hooking up just the same.
Fueling is good but not perfect. There is a noticeable hesitation as soon as you crack the throttle; however, it’s not bad enough to ruin your experience on the SWM, but it’s there. Otherwise, the Superdual X runs well. In case you’re wondering, there are no engine modes to choose from.
The motor is happy on the street. It actually hums along nicely at freeway speeds, and there is enough left over for overtaking vehicles at speed. And vibration is surprisingly tolerable. In fact, there isn’t much vibration to speak of. The higher the speeds, the better it gets.
The suspension gets the job done. It’s a little on the soft side for aggressive riding but super comfortable for long rides at a moderate pace. Since the SWM has a more dirt-bike feel than ADV, it is easy to accidentally override the suspension. At first, you tend to ride the Superdual X like a regular dirt bike, which is fine. Things are going great until you suddenly come upon a section of whoops and bumps and you remember that you’re not on a “true” dirt bike but instead on a reasonably heavy ADV bike and going way too fast for what’s ahead of you. Luckily, the suspension is good enough to recover, but oftentimes not before a moment of pucker. At more normal “ADV” speeds, the SWM’s suspension is surprisingly good, and we were impressed with the Taiwanese-made Fastace forks. It’s much better than you would think for a fork you’ve probably never heard of.
Another area where the SWM shines over larger ADV bikes is cornering. Again, with its dirt-bike ergos, the SMW feels more like a smaller and more maneuverable dual-sport bike in the turns because you can comfortably sit down on the seat in the corners, stick your foot out for balance, and go. On most full-on multi-cylinder ADV bikes you can’t do that. Most ADV ergos would rather have you standing up in the corners, but not the SWM. The SWM’s large fuel tank, however, does kind of get in the way when you do get on the pegs.
Comfort is another one of the SWM’s strong points. The seat is wide and firm and has a nice step in the middle to keep you from sliding back when you open up the throttle, and keeps you in place when trying to loft the front end. This is, however, hard to do since the heavily street-oriented tires do not hook up well on the dirt.
The SWM is not a light motorcycle, but compared to most ADV bikes, it is. SWM claims it weighs 371 pounds; in comparison, a KTM 790 Adventure weighs about 460 pounds, the Honda Africa Twin about 500-plus pounds, and the late KLR650 approximately 390 pounds. The Honda XR650L dual sport weighs around 350 pounds, and the Suzuki DR650 dual sport approximately 370 pounds. Just some numbers to think about.
Braking is good, but ABS cannot be turned off, which is a major bummer when riding aggressively in the dirt. In truth, you can turn it off if you put the bike up on the centerstand and let the rear wheel spin for a bit, which will disengage the ABS; however, this is a pain after a while and can be tough to do on uneven ground. And it also disconnects the front ABS, which is a major sacrifice, in our opinion. Being able to turn off the rear ABS is something SWM needs to look into. And they also need to look into putting more aggressive off-road tires on it.
SWM does offer accessories for the Superdual X, including aluminum Givi saddlebags.
Overall, there are plenty of things to like about the SWM Superdual X. It’s a good-performing lightweight ADV motorcycle that has a lot to offer for a fantastic price, things like fuel injection, a large fuel tank, aluminum handlebars, a windscreen, crash bars, running lights, handguards, a luggage rack and ABS. And you might like that it’s not packed with expensive electronics that you probably won’t use anyway.
Plus, it’s a little bit different. And what’s not to like about that? CN
SWM Superdual X Specifications
||Water-cooled, 4-stroke, 4-valve, DOHC, single
|Bore x Stroke:
||100 x 76.5mm
||Electronic inductive discharge w/ adj. advance digital
||EFI, Mikuni 45mm throttle body
||Wet, multiplate w/ hydraulic control
||Steel, double-cradle; aluminum subframe
||Fast Ace, USD 43mm telescopic fork, w/ rebound damping adj.
||Sachs, Progressive “soft damp” single shock, fully adj.
||300mm floating disc
|Weight (curb, claimed):