“The Apex 2.0” Is a Unique Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 Crafted for F1 Pilot Charles Leclerc


Just over a decade ago, a French moto expert by the name of Walid Ben Lamine went on to establish Bad Winners in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Ever since its humble beginnings, BW’s work has been absolutely top-notch, so it wasn’t long until they gained some serious recognition in the custom motorcycle realm. We’ve already featured a couple of their finest exploits on autoevolution, namely a carbon-clad Triumph Thruxton 1200 R (dubbed “Zero Gravity 2.0”) and the Yamaha XJR1300 “Muscle Retro.”

This time around, we invite you to join us for a complete analysis of “The Apex 2.0” – a reimagined Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 that might just be the workshop’s most special project. Before we get into any details, let’s take a minute to recall what makes this Husky a fantastic candidate for customization. In stock form, the Vitpilen boasts a dry weight of just 348 pounds (158 kg), and its liquid-cooled 693cc single-cylinder mill can produce 75 hp at 8,500 rpm.

Besides the healthy power-to-weight ratio, the KISKA-designed beauty also features Brembo brakes and high-grade WP suspension goodies, not to even mention its sublime chromium-molybdenum trellis frame. As the 701’s chassis isn’t exactly in need of any upgrades, Walid and his crew were able to channel their full attention towards the bike’s cosmetics and powertrain performance.

Bad Winners’ client was none other than F1 pilot Charles Leclerc, so it’s fairly reasonable to assume that the pressure must’ve been intense. The young racing talent entered Formula One about three years ago, when he signed with Sauber Motorsport AG (currently Alfa Romeo Racing) for the 2018 season. Leclerc then joined Sebastian Vettel at Scuderia Ferrari in 2019, which was by far the most successful year of his entire career.

He finished the season in fourth place with 264 points and as many as seven pole positions, thus securing FIA’s Pirelli Pole Position Award. Just like the undisputed Lewis Hamilton, the Monégasque sportsman loves a good bit of two-wheeled action, so he reached out to BW via Instagram. Initially, Walid found it hard to believe that he was actually being approached by the one and only Charles Leclerc, but those doubts were quickly erased after talking to him on the phone.

Monaco’s F1 icon was struck by the firm’s startling reinterpretation of a Yamaha FZS600 Fazer, which became the main source of inspiration for this Vitpilen-based showstopper. However, comparing these machines will reveal just how thoroughly Bad Winners’ craftsmen honed their skills in recent years. The French specialists began by conceptualizing the new aesthetics on paper, then they consulted with Charles to make sure that he was on the same page.

The Parisian enterprise was given the green light, so they proceeded to transform the sketches into digital renderings by means of CAD software. When all the 3D-printed mock-ups for the bodywork had been conceived, Lamine’s moto doctors fabricated a series of molds in preparation for the next step, which involved shaping the final parts into existence using premium carbon fiber.

At the front, you will spot a snazzy fender that looks relatively similar to the factory unit, while a handsome fuel tank can be seen taking pride of place center-stage. It is accompanied by a pair of carbon side panels on the flanks and a sinister radiator cover that sits just behind the fork legs. Moving on to the rear end, the BW team replaced the Husky’s standard subframe with a custom alternative, on top of which we find a cafe racer-style tail unit with built-in LEDs.

An eight-cell Antigravity battery is packed inside the tail, and the whole shebang is garnished with seamless leather upholstery. To remove a good chunk of unsprung weight, the OEM wheels have been discarded in favor of five-spoke carbon fiber footgear from Dymag’s catalog. Up north, The Apex 2.0 is adorned with Renthal clip-ons, bar-end turn signals and a KTM 790 Duke’s unmistakable headlight.

Instrumentation comes in the form of a digital display that’s hooked to the ECU via a bespoke motherboard. Vitpilen’s fuel-injected engine breathes a little more freely following the removal of the catalytic converter, while Dynojet’s Power Commander V control unit is tasked with running the entire show. Last but not least, Bad Winners topped things off with an SC-Project muffler that flaunts MotoGP-derived technology.

As a result, the 693cc fiend will now deliver 85 ponies at the crankshaft, and it moves a dry weight of only 287 pounds (130 kg)! If you wish The Apex 2.0 was in your garage, the Frenchmen will gladly build you a copy, but don’t expect it to be cheap. BW’s ominous conversion is priced at €20,990 ($23,500 as per current exchange rates) with the donor bike included, and that’s before you factor in the transportation costs.