Review: Lite Rally Kit from Adventure-Bike.be

701 rally kit from Adventure-Bike.be - a review

How do you make a good thing better? In the quest for further, wilder, sexier, a rally kit is one upgrade that can transform a capable enduro bike into a head-turning adventure machine. For some time now, I’ve been in the market for a tough, handsome and simple rally tower to keep highway wind out of my eyeballs on the Husqvarna 701. The aftermarket universe was already awash with popular options:

Sources: various websites as listed.

If, like me, you covet Dakar looks and functionality, but cannot stomach the eye-watering price tags and complicated bulk on most aftermarket kits, here’s good news coming out of Belgium. Adventure-Bike.be, a boutique start-up helmed by adventure enthusiast Jasper Lemmens, offers affordable plug-and-play rally towers for popular dualsport models like DR650, Tenere 700, Transalp, KLR650 and KTM EXC 400. These generic kits are priced from 329 EUR, and they ship worldwide.

Earlier this year, Adventure-Bike.be launched a no-frills bolt-on kit for the 701 at 783 EUR. The set includes an aluminum tower, lexan windshield and 3000 lumen LED lights, all at a claimed weight of 3.5kg. It was hard to argue with a pre-launch discount on an already agreeable price. Guess who was the first customer from Asia to click that “Buy Now” button on Adventure-bike.Be? 

Husqvarna 701 rally kit from Adventure-Bike.be
Axl Rose’s facelift – can it withstand kilometres of pounding on and off road?

INSTALLATION

The assembly, while requiring no drilling or welding, takes about 4 hours – most of it spent on navigating the wiring complexities behind the headmask. The original dashboard fits a treat, but the signal lights needed some retrofitting. I left it all – together with Jasper’s instruction sheet – in the good hands of my workshop.

  • rally kit wiring
  • Rally kit wiring
  • signal lights retrofitted
  • signal lights retrofitted
  • headlights

QUALITY & BUILD

Designed with thoughtful simplicity, the kit leaves no inch of loose skin to detract from predatory lines of the 701, and reveals no obvious points of failure. After an inevitable crash test in the wildernesses of Malaysia, I found no complaints about the fit and finish; the polycarbonate screen held up to hard knocks and offroad pebble-roost while seeming to block dust from getting in behind the headlights.

A major annoyance is the loud buzz that drones insistently at speeds below 95kmh. Where is it coming from? I have no clue, but nothing seems to have fallen off yet.  

Husqvarna 701 rally offroad - Adventure.Bike.be rally kit
By the way, this is definitely not a paid review. Our Paypal account took the full hit for this loveliness.

HANDLING

Frame mounted, the Adventure-Bike.be kit leaves the steering light while offering significant wind deflection and helping to pin down the front end at highway speeds. In stock trim, the 701 does suffer a little from front-end nervousness, largely because of the weight distribution toward the rear petrol tank. I used to handle this by keeping the front auxillary tank full, and sitting as far forward as possible without looking like a sufferer of groin itch. Now, I can plow tarmac at 140kmh without feeling like my eyeballs are going to exit the back of my skull.

Offroad, the ride loses no agility, and the bare-bones structure of the rally tower doesn’t obstruct the view of the front tyre. You’ll care about this when navigating rotten bridges, rock gardens, angry marsupials and whatever bizarrities the natural world decides to throw into your path. 

701 Rally tower dashboard
The corrosion-resistant aluminum tower adds versatile real estate for mounting every possible gizmo and the rice cooker.

FUNCTIONALITY

The aluminum tower is a blank canvas for travel versatility. A 12mm bar and pre-drilled holes on the side are great starting points to assemble a proper cockpit of luxuries like USB charging ports, fog lights and a GPS unit mounted higher and closer to your line of sight. Cut out more portions of the centrepiece for additional installation points, as the fancy suits you.

The screen is cut to an ideal height – just tall enough to fend off highway wind, and yet not stab your face on most hill climbs.

See Also

The 3000 lumen LED lights add both character and road presence. A massive pity then, that even the ECE-approved version does not meet local law’s draconian standards. Yes, don’t bury your stock headmask too far out of reach – in Singapore you would have to swap it back for the annual vehicle inspection.


AT A GLANCE

What’s great:
+ Great value at 783 EUR.
+ Tough, high quality & sleek. 
+ Ample wind protection that helps to pin the front end down. 
+ 3.5kg mass doesn’t impact handling nor agility.
+ Doesn’t obstruct view of front tyre.
+ Dashboard versatility for navigational tools.

Not so great:
– Original signal lights need retrofitting.
– Buzzing noise under 95 kmh.
– Exposed wiring takes effort to neaten.


At an accessible price and with spartan simplicity, the Adventure-Bike.be rally kit lends the finishing touches to a sub-150kg, world-devouring, all-terrain unicorn. We heartily recommend it to all minimalists.

Climb into the saddle with us for a quick look behind the rally-ed bars:

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