SWM Superdual T First Ride Review

04 December 2018, 10:55 AM Pratheek Kunder

Introduction

Pros: Capable off-roader, good on-road manners, built for a purpose

Cons: Pricey, lacks features, no brand recall

SWM is an Italian brand that inherited Husqvarna’s plant and also the powertrain of the Superdual. In fact, the Superdual is a Husqvarna TE610 but with a different body style, more modern bits and an engine that now meets Euro-IV emission norms. The Superdual T has been launched at a time when there’s a sudden rise in middle-weight adventure touring machines in the country. Kinetic, the company that sells the Superdual T through Motoroyale showrooms, decided to position it as a hardcore ADV. We spent some time with it to know if it can survive the gruelling Indian conditions. 

Quality

The overall quality of the Superdual T isn’t like the one we find in the Japanese bikes. It’s decent, but built for a mission. Being more off-road oriented, it makes sense to equip the bike with plastics that wouldn’t be expensive to replace in case of falls. The components might look a bit utilitarian, but they do the job. There are no panel gaps. The frame welds have been smoothly done. The seat fabric, switchgear experience and the paint quality are good. But the auxiliary lamp switch doesn’t show quality work at all.  

Comfort

For shorter riders, there isn’t any. At 893mm seat height, the Superdual T is a tall bike. It will be difficult to even handle the bike with one foot on the ground. But once on the saddle, the scooped seat is a welcoming experience. It might feel cramped at first and hard, but then it’s not a touring bike right? The seat triangle gives you a proper dirt bike feel. The tall handlebar is quite good to hold on to. The fuel tank provides a good area to rest the knee. The serrated footpegs have rubber inserts as well and have been positioned a bit higher. At 197 kgs, the Superdual T is lighter than all of its rivals and that makes is easy to handle in tight conditions. 

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 6,50,000

Performance

This tall bike gets its power from a 600cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled motor. This motor is based on an old Husqvarna engine and it shows. The refinement level is not upto the mark. It lacks the smoothness of the modern engine. But it gains in other areas. Torque is one such. This bike has loads of it from the word go. It has great amount of low and mid-range torque. As soon as you release that light clutch, the bike is eager to get in motion. The torque spread is lovely and if the throttle is used a bit recklessly, the front wheel could point to the sky for some time. The motor is tractable and likeable. It’s possible to stay in the sixth gear and ride at 60kmph and that’s a boon for city traffic. On the highways, the Superdual T cruises with ease. Be it 100kmph or 130kmph, the Superdual T is fun to live with. But this bike is home to vibrations and that’s visible in every gear. It intensifies as the revs crosses 6000rpm. The buzz can be felt on the handlebar and the footpegs. The six-speed gearbox is slick and offers good shifts. 

The suspension setup on the Superdual T is adjustable and even with that long travel upfront, the ride quality was quite stiff at low speeds. It wasn’t a great experience, taking on the rough terrain of Lonavala, but the rear was gentle on the back. At high speeds, the bike was composed– be it on the trails, off-road sections or uneven roads. The 19-inch front 17-inch rear wheels worked together to do a good job. The Metzeler Tourance tyres offer good performance and grip. The 180mm ground clearance gives you enough confidence to go over some really big obstacles. Plus, the presence of large bash plate improves overall confidence.

The most surprising aspect of the Superdual T was its on-road capabilities. It behaves well, especially in the corners. The turn-ins are confident and you can lean deeper than you think. The Brembo brakes works efficiently. 

Technology

The Superdual T doesn’t get any electronics other than ABS, which can be switched off for the rear wheel. There’s no traction control system, no rider modes and no ride-by-wire. The bike fails to get LED headlamps and tail lamps. The turn indicators are made of traditional bulbs. Thankfully, the suspension setup is adjustable at both ends. Ride data is displayed on a small LCD device that deserves a major upgrade. The design, fonts and backlight –all are quite dated.

Fuel Efficiency

Being a single cylinder with plenty of torque, the Superdual T is expected to be efficient. In our case, it returned 24kmpl and with 18-litres of fuel tank capacity. That’s a tank range of nearly 432kms. 

Fitness of Purpose

The Superdual T is positioned as a hardcore ADV. And it checks most of the boxes. It’s tall, has very good ground clearance, can off-road too and in case of a fall, it is easy to pick up, thanks to its under-200kg weight figure. This Italian has the go-anywhere attitude. Like all other bikes, it has some negatives, but this time, it just hurts to have a boring instrumentation and none of the latest features. 

Our Take

Is the Superdual T capable? Yes! Is it a practical bike for Indian conditions? Definitely! Should a short statured person consider it?  Better not waste your time doing so! Check the Suzuki V-Strom XT or the Kawasaki Versys 650 (if you only have road riding ambitions). 

The Superdual T is one of a kind offering in its space. But given SWM and Motoroyale are relatively new entities in the Indian market, a lower and more attractive price would have convinced more buyers to go for it. 

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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