Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport Husqvarna Motorcycles: 108-Year History

Husqvarna Motorcycles: 108-Year History

Husqvarna Motorcycle History

There is hardly any other motorcycle brand able to boast a 108-year tradition of motorcycle production and racing like that of Husqvarna.

The first Husqvarna motorcycles were built in 1903, with victory coming just 13 years later in 1916 at one of best known enduro races of the time, the Novemberkåsan. This laid the foundation for a success story which remains unparalleled to this day.

While the thirties also saw victories in road racing, too, it was after the Second World War that Husky achieved a major breakthrough in off-road racing. In the early fifties, the company not only focussed on developing and manufacturing innovative, competitive and reliable motorcycles but also made a clear commitment to its involvement in the areas of motocross and enduro racing.

Husqvarna won its first world championship in the class up to 250 cc in 1959, collecting the same title in the 500 cc category just two years later.

Ongoing success in racing made Husky a sought-after brand with increasing sales figures not just in Europe but also in the USA. The enormous popularity of Husqvarna was enhanced by famous riders such as Mikkola, Aberg and Hallman, but there was one outstanding celebrity fan: American actor Steve McQueen.

McQueen was not just an enthusiastic motorcyclist and motor racing fan, he also achieved success himself on the race track on both two and four wheels. Among other things he entered the Six Days in 1964.

The title photo of the US magazine “Sports Illustrated” dated August 23rd 1971 showing a bare-topped Steve McQueen doing a jump on a Husqvarna 400 Motocross remains legendary to this day. The McQueen-Husqvarna combination eventually became the idol of a whole generation of off-road fans.

Today Husqvarna Motorcycles is able to look back over an incredible 82 world championship titles, four of which were won in the 2011 season which has just finished. Juha Salminen and Antoine Meo clinched the titles in the E1 and E2 classes of the World Enduro Championship. Husqvarna Motorcycles also won the brand championship in these classes. Winning four out of a total of six possible titles in the World Enduro Championship clearly shows that Husqvarna was the dominant brand.

In future Husqvarna Motorcycles will be extending its core expertise in the area of off-road motorcycles. With the presentation of the new Husqvarna Nuda 900/ 900 R including the first official test rides for journalists in October 2011, the tradition-steeped brand celebrated an impressive and highly promising comeback.

Husqvarna Motorcycles has been part of the BMW Group since Oct. 1, 2007 and is able to rely on BMW Motorrad as a powerful partner at its side in every respect.

Today there are some 260 staff working at the company headquarters in Cassinetta di Biandronno and the model range currently includes 26 motorcycles of the enduro, motocross, supermoto, minibike and road segments. What is more, Husqvarna offers an extensive range of accessories, rider equipment and merchandising.

The powerful partnership between BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna Motorcycles with its selective clustering of the strengths of each brand has meant that both can look back over a successful year in 2011.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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