SWM 600 Superdual X review

The 600cc water-cooled single from the Italian manufacturer SWM was introduced to the UK in 2017 but has remained somewhat elusive.

The SuperDual X isn’t a common sight on British roads, or in the forests, but that could be about to change as 3 Cross Motorcycles in Dorset became the new UK importer earlier this year. One of the first things they’ve done is put together a very competitive ‘ready to tour’ package including centre stand, hand and engine guards, extra lights, rear rack and even quality Givi luggage, all for under £7k.

So what are the roots of this elusive bike? Well, it’s complicated as they say, but if you are paying attention it’s a bit like this: Its heritage can be traced through Husqvarna (during their Italian BMW period), but after KTM bought the Husky brand from BMW, and took production out of Italy, there remained a very spangly new motorcycle factory near Varese that was full of ex-Cagiva employees who now had nothing to do. Some of them managed to get funding from Shineray in China to re-establish the Italian SWM brand which had gone into liquidation in 1984. So now we have an Italian brand with real heritage, staffed by employees with passion, funded by Chinese engineers with money, utilising a Swedish/German engine in a very light, competent chassis. Clear?

Engine unit

That engine is derived from the Husky TE610, which was actually 574cc. The SWM engine cases now say 650, but the spec sheet says it is in fact an over-square 600cc water-cooled single. It might just be best to call the bike the ‘SuperDual X’. The ‘X’ matters, because there is a ‘T’ version, with smaller wheels and different gear ratios.

The engine delivers a healthy 54 hp through six gears which are tall but perfectly spaced, enabling good economy and punchy performance for pulling up hills. Gearing in top is such that 4,500rpm equates to 66mph leaving loads of room for roll-on overtakes or powering into headwinds. Top speed is just into three figures, but I found it easily maintaining 70mph without giving me so much as a hint of white finger, and during this test I’ve happily experienced five hours in the saddle at a time. The flexibility the engine has on the open road makes for a relaxing ride and helps achieve the economy figures I experienced of between 64.8mpg and 68.9mpg. And note, the hard luggage was fitted throughout.

It is not all good news though as the fuelling low down the rev range can be very fluffy if you are gently coming off a closed throttle. This means that trickling along in traffic can be frustrating; occasionally needing to slip the clutch or just being prepared for the sensation that the engine is about to stall. The other negative the engine has is that, apart from the easily accessible main oil filter element, there are a total of 3 other washable gauze oil filters!


This shows the competition heritage that is embedded in Husqvarna, as does the dashboard display, which provides the option of selecting a stopwatch linked to trip counter ‘A’ and which keeps a tally of ‘total engine hours run’. This screams ‘competition dirt bike’ but stopping for a rebuild after 50 competitive hours (or whatever) and having the ability to record your top speed is certainly not what an overlander wants! It’s a shame, because it sows seeds of doubt about long-term reliability, aside from being totally unnecessary, when what would be useful is a legible clock (currently a 24hr 6 digit version) displayed at the same time as speed, trip and fuel. The readout contains lots of information it’s just that you can only see one piece of it alongside speed and the block-column fuel gauge at any given time.

And it’s too small, yet it and the ignition switch are positioned such that it’s very difficult to turn the key with gloves on, or with more than one other key on the keyring. It sounds like I’m slating the design, if not the product, but it’s a design that suits an endurance racing dirt bike, not a travelling one. Time and trips are lost if the battery is disconnected and 999 is the max distance you can record in either miles or kilometres.

Other equipment the rider sees, having climbed up onto the lofty 898mm-high seat, are beautiful tapered wide bars, on which are mounted excellent large square mirrors providing brilliant rearward vision and perfectly functioning (if crude) switchgear. The levers are span-adjustable and the light-action clutch is hydraulic, with easy adjustment. The mineral fluid it uses is different to the brake fluid however, so hopefully you won’t need to source any while on the road.

There’s a small screen which proved itself very effective at deflecting wind and I found that the headlight was easily adjusted by popping off the plastic surrounding panel just below the screen. The light itself is OK and is supplemented by the spotlights mounted on the crash-bars which come as standard. Their current position does mean they will be the first to succumb in the case of even a slow speed spill though.

For the rider the position of ‘bars and footpegs couldn’t be more spacious or fall more easily to where you comfortably want them. The transition to standing for tricky road surfaces is as natural and easy as can be.

Between the knees is the pleasantly shaped 18ltr metal fuel tank. The fuel cap comes right off so isn’t in the way when filling up, which is a slow process anyway due to the depth of the filler neck. If you can utilise the whole tank, gently rocking the bike to expel air as you fill, even with the worst economy I recorded the range is still a healthy 250 miles. That’s practical, like the super little rear rack with multiple lashing points, the grease nipple on the swinging arm and the straightforward side-panel access to the washable air filter.

The seat height will not suit someone with a short inside leg (the ‘T’ model has 19” and 17” wheels so sits lower) but the seat itself is much better than you might imagine, though I feel I must qualify this. When I collected the bike and first set off through Hampshire I panicked at the thought of the two-hour ride home. The seat felt like a plank with me perched above the bike. The visibility was great up there, but the growing physical pain was not. At the first set of lights 30 miles later I had a numbness in my hips and real difficulty getting a foot to the floor, so I pulled over to have a break and take a closer look.


The suspension was set far too hard but thankfully the Fast Ace upside-down forks are adjustable for compression and rebound damping and could be backed off using the little screwdriver I always carry. At the rear the Sachs monoshock damping can be adjusted with the same little screwdriver and spring preload is easy to alter with the usual hand-twist knob. After that the bike and the seat were transformed, the next 850 miles proved really enjoyable and the suspension could use some of its available 220mm of travel at each end.

The striking red-painted cradle frame is taut and capable and the overall package weighs just 169kgs but feels even lighter than that in use. That means it isn’t a bike that threatens you when the road surface changes and manoeuvring it when loaded is a doddle. The steering lock could be better and isn’t adjustable, so that’s the only thing to watch when filtering through either traffic or trees.

The big (21” front, 18” rear) wheels ensure stability in all cases and the Metzeler Enduro 3 tyres are remarkable on tarmac. Their rounded edges mean they are grand in dry off-road conditions too. We didn’t get the opportunity to go off road in bad weather.

When you do get off the bitumen the great news is that the ABS can be disabled on the rear wheel, resetting itself if the ignition is switched off. The brakes themselves are Brembos, work well and suit the light weight of the machine. The single front disc is 300mm, the rear 220mm. There’s a concentric adjuster for rear brake pedal height and the rear brake cylinder is well protected.

Verdict for Overlanding

As mentioned above, things like the grease nipples, bar end weights, big mirrors and the luggage rack are good. The tank size enables a useful range. The engine protection is good, and the bash plate suitable for most of the abuse anyone is likely to throw at it, as ground clearance is a healthy 180mm. The engine will plod along smoothly on the open road but pulls lustily when needed and still remains economical. The ABS is switchable and off the bitumen the big wheels are stable and the whole chassis inspires confidence.

It’s just the fluffy low-down fuelling, the positioning of the ignition barrel and functionality of the dashboard that need a rethink – or buy your own £150 aftermarket replacement. If you want to use the main-stand you’ll have to learn some fancy footwork or take off the pillion footrest hanger, but at least it’s there.

With punchy power from the eager engine, and the light manageable chassis steered effortlessly through the wide bars and low pegs, if there’s a hooligan inside you this bike will find it. But if you just want to see over the hedges and travel economically, there is precious little on the market that gets close to it for performance, agility, weight and with so many practical travelling features fitted as standard for seven grand.

I advise you to take a test ride but bring a flat-blade screwdriver in case the suspension is set up for a hard-charging racer.

Paddy Tyson.

£6899 including all but Givi luggage which is an extra £100
Colours available: Black, Red

Visit the SWM Motorcycles website for more information.


Test mileage 820 Mpg 68.1
Engine size 600cc Configuration water-cooled 4-valve single
Power 54hp Torque 53Nm
Transmission 6 speed Final drive chain
Fuel capacity 18l Kerb weight wet 187kg
Seat height 898mm Ground clearance 180mm
F sus travel 220mm R sus travel 220mm
Front tyre 90/90 x 21 Rear tyre 140/80 x 18
F brakes 300mm (twin piston) R brakes 220mm (single piston)