Today I’m going to talk a bike I find really interesting, the new, updated dual sport from SWM, the 2021 RS500R.
Ok, since a lot of people probably don’t know much about SWM (Speedy Working Motorcycles), I will give you a very brief history of the brand. Basically, these are the Husqvarna bikes from before they were purchased by KTM. The brand itself is Italian and is run by the former technical manager for Husqvarna and funded by Shineray. The bikes themselves are made in the old Husqvarna factory. Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the bike.
So why do I find the RS500R intriguing? Well, while definitely an enduro bike at heart, the 500 is more trail orientated that your Beta and KTM’s. Don’t get me wrong, the SWM’s are essentially revamped versions of the old 2010 era TE510, but there are some differences to make them a bit more suited to trail riding.
Alright first up let’s go over what’s new with the 2021 model.
Probably the most noticeable is the colour change and new styling. Previous models were black, white and red, now they are this pretty looking black and yellow, I dig. In addition to the new styling there is a new headlight and different indicators.
The seat has been reshaped to make it more comfortable. Looking at the seat, there is definitely more padding compared to the old model.
The bike has new, euro 4 engine mapping and a strengthened sub frame. The previous model had issues with hot starting, so hopefully this has been fixed on this model.
If we go over the specs, the bike has a 501cc single cylinder, Mikuni EFI, hydraulic clutch and a 6 speed transmission. Now I know for a fact the previous model puts out a ton of power (about 50hp) and I can’t see things being any different here with the new mapping. We’ll just have to wait and see though.
Suspension wise we’ve got 48 mm adjustable Kayaba forks, a Kayaba shock and 11.8 inches (300mm) of ground clearance.
Unfortunately the fuel tank is pretty tiny at 7.2 litres and while the claimed weight is 255lbs (116kgs), there are some pretty big porkies on here. The previous year with that ghastly EVAP canister, was weighed in at 285lbs with everything, bar fuel.
So some of these specs are great, and some like the tank size and weight, are a bit meh. But this bike has some pretty cool details I haven’t mentioned.
First up is the price, its $7795 USD ($9290 AUD). That’s a damn good price if you ask me. Second are the service intervals, 1200 miles (2000km’s) for oil changes, that’s the same as the CRF450L. It takes a decent amount of oil too, 1.7 litres when you do both the oil and filter (1.8litres total). So now you might be able to see why my title is spruicking the RS500R as a potential light weight, adventure bike.
The weight, while it is a little heavy, a lot of that is in the dual pipes that are on the bike. SWM sell a single Arrow exhaust that nets you 9 lbs. (4kg’s) and they also have a remap to get you a bit more power. For those out of California, you can ditch the EVAP canister to save further weight too.
Like the CRF450L, the RS500R has a decent sub frame. This will allow you to carry a bit of gear on the back. Now I’m not saying you can tour the world on one of these, far from it. But if you were looking to do some longer rides where you are covering big dirt miles with some tools, a RotopaX and camping gear, this bike could be a great alternative to the CRF450L. Or you could just ride it as a dedicated dirt bike and not have to change the oil as much.
People have been already been setting the previous models up for light weight adventure riding too. The SWM Superdual screen fits, throw on a bigger tank and a Seat Concepts seat and you are ready to rock.
Now in Australia, the SWM have a fair few dealers and everything laid out on their website. Here in the States, I can’t even find a proper website for them and I have to use Google maps to find the dealers. Here’s hoping some more dealers pop up and the distributer sorts out the website situation.
So, is anyone else keen to try one of these out for dirt work or to use as a light weight adventure bike? I personally think they look great. The specs are good and so is the price. Let me know what you think in the comments below.