Heikki Mikkola Motorcycle Replica
The sixties were drawing to a close when promoter Edison Dye trespassed on American Hare Scrambles with a form of off-road racing he imported from Europe. Dye had convinced a number of European riders to cross the pond and compete in an exhibition series to introduce the sport to America. The sport was called Motocross and dirt biking would never again be the same Stateside. (Click image to enlarge)
The riders Dye employed to spread the gospel of dirt were iron-men that came from far away places like Finland, Belgium, Sweden and Germany. They had unusual names like Torlief Hansen, Bengt Aberg, Torsten Hallman and Heikki Mikkola. The foreigners proceeded to wow audiences with their fluid, seemingly effortless speed, thrilling aerial antics and unheard of stamina as they blitzed across a succession of U.S. tracks. American riders and spectators, accustomed to the thumping, ungraceful, overweight street bikes that had been stripped down to compete in Hare Scrambles, were equally intrigued by the sleek and lithe weapon of choice among the all-conquering foreigners: the Swedish-built Husqvarna. (Click image to enlarge)
The Husqvarna’s single cylinder two-stroke engine emitted a signature snapping, throaty exhaust note that was usually accompanied by a rain of dirt clods tossed up from the spinning knobby rear tire as the bike blasted past and then disappeared over the next obstacle on the course. The multiple World Championship-winning machines confirmed their iconic stature several years later when Bruce Brown’s feature documentary “On Any Sunday” opened in theaters nationwide. An entire motorcycling generation was seduced by images of Steve McQueen and Malcolm Smith launching themselves and their “Huskies” off pristine Southern California sand dunes. The motorcycle craze had officially hit and Husqvarna took its place atop the throne. (Click image to enlarge)
In the ensuing years, the big four Japanese—already conquering the pavement—stepped into the Motocross arena, signaling the beginning of the end for many European manufacturers of racing machines. Long after legendary brands like CZ, Maico, Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa had been ushered into the annals of off-road history by the onslaught of the mighty Japanese, Husqvarna has remained to do battle.
Air-cooled 2-stroke engine; drum brakes; 228 pounds; 6.6 inches of front fork travel; 4 inches of rear wheel travel.
Liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine; disc brakes front and rear; 220 pounds; 11.8 inches of front fork travel; 12.6 inches of rear wheel travel.