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Husqvarna Motorcycles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
FoundedHuskvarna, Sweden (1903 (1903))
Area served
Key people
Stefan Pierer, Oliver Göhring, Reinhold Zens
ParentKTM AG

Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH (Swedish: [ˈhʉ̂ːsˌkvɑːɲa] (About this soundlisten); marketed as Husqvarna) is a Swedish-origin Austrian company which designs, engineers, manufactures and distributes motocross, enduro, supermoto and street motorcycles.

The company began producing motorcycles in 1903 at Huskvarna, Sweden, as a subsidiary of the Husqvarna armament firm.[1] Today, Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH is owned by Austrian KTM AG.


Prior to 1987

1912 Moto-Reve advertisement of G. Magnani in Bucharest
1912 Moto-Reve advertisement of G. Magnani in Bucharest

Husqvarna was founded near the town of Huskvarna in Sweden in 1689. The company started out as a maker of muskets, and the Husqvarna logo still depicts a gun sight viewed from the end of the barrel.[2]

As with many motorcycle manufacturers, Husqvarna first began producing bicycles in the late 19th century. In 1903, they made the jump to motorcycle manufacturing. The first "Husky" motorcycles used imported engines, and it was not until 1918 that Husqvarna began producing machines built entirely in-house. Around that time they secured a contract with the Swedish Army, and also began entering cross-country and long-distance motorcycle races.[1] In 1920, Husqvarna established its own engine factory and the first engine to be designed was a 550 cc four-stroke 50-degree side-valve V-twin engine, similar to those made by companies like Harley-Davidson and Indian.

Husqvarna competed in Grand Prix road racing in the 350cc and 500cc classes during the 1930s and was Sweden's largest motorcycle manufacturer by 1939. All of the racing bikes were based on a 50-degree V-twin prototype built by Folke Mannerstedt in 1931. The company team beat the Norton works team at the Swedish GP in 1931 with a 1–2 finish by Ragnar Sundqvist and Gunnar Kalen. This and the next year's success led to a full commitment to the GP tracks with Stanley Woods and Ernie Nott joining the Husqvarna riding team. That year, Nott finished third in the 350cc Junior TT and Woods ran out of gas eight miles before the finish of the Senior TT. In 1935 the company withdraw racing support, but new bikes were still produced and raced privately,[3] while the company focused on producing a new two-stroke, two-speed commuter bike.[1] That year, Woods won the Swedish GP (marking the fourth year in a row that a "Husky" had won) on a 500cc Husqvarna motorcycle that weighted 279 pounds (127 kilograms).[4]

With the rise of Moto-cross as a sport Husqvarna focused on producing light weight racing bikes. They adapted their lightweight single cylinder bike to racing and delivered the "Silverpilen" meaning silver arrow. At 75 kg and designed for racing it gained widespread popularity. Sporting many innovations like telescoping front forks and hydraulic dampened suspension it became an international success.[5] The 1959 motocross championship went to Rolf Tibblin and his 250 cc Husqvarna.[6] The 1960 world 500 cc motocross championship was won by Bill Nilsson on a four-stroke Husqvarna.[6] In the 1960s, their lightweight, two-stroke-engined off-road bikes helped make the once-dominant British four-stroke motorcycles obsolete. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Husqvarna was a dominant force in the motocross world, winning 14 motocross world championships in the 125 cc, 250 cc and 500 cc divisions, 24 enduro world championships and 11 Baja 1000 victories.

1983 saw Husky innovate again with the introduction of a 500 cc bike that set new standards for competition four-strokes. It was lightweight, air-cooled, easy-handling and changed the future of off-road racing motorcycles.[5] It was the predecessor of the Husaberg brand.

Ownership changes and acquisition by KTM

In 1987, the Husqvarna motorcycle division (not the other arms of the brand such as chainsaw production) was sold to Italian motorcycle manufacturer Cagiva and became part of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. A group of the company's managers and engineers were not willing to move to Italy and therefore founded Husaberg AB – which was acquired by KTM AG in 1995.[7] Husqvarna motorcycles were then produced in Varese, Italy.

In July 2007, Husqvarna motorcycles was purchased by BMW for a reported €93.000.000. BMW Motorrad planned to continue operating Husqvarna Motorcycles as a separate enterprise. All development, sales and production activities, as well as the workforce, remained at the Varese location.[8] BMW intended to position Husqvarna as "the two-wheeled version of what Mini is to the BMW's car division".[9]

On 31 January 2013 BMW Group announced that Pierer Industrie AG has bought full stake in Husqvarna AG for an undisclosed amount.[10] Pierer Industrie AG CEO Stefan Pierer[11] was also the CEO of Cross Industries AG, then the main shareholder of KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG parent KTM AG, and the CEO of KTM AG.[12] Later in 2013, direct ownership of the Husqvarna company was transferred and license rights were sold from Pierer Industrie AG to KTM AG, making the newly established Husqvarna Motorcycle GmbH part of the KTM Group.[12][13] Husqvarna motorcycle production at Mattighofen in Austria started on 7 October 2013.[14] At the same time, Husqvarna spin-off Husaberg was re-united with Husqvarna, terminating the existence of the Husaberg brand.[15]

Recent developments

Recently, Husqvarna Motorcycles has been preparing its re-entry into the street motorcycle market. In 2014, the company presented prototypes of the newly developed 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen at the EICMA in Milan, Italy.[16] Production ready versions were shown in 2016.[17] Together with the 701 Vitpilen, which was first revealed in 2015,[18] these motorcycles became publicly available in 2018.[19]

In 2017, Husqvarna Motorcycles introduced a new range of enduro motorcycles with a self-developed two-stroke fuel injection system (Transfer Port Injection - TPI).[20] The new fuel efficient, sensor-controlled technology conforms with the Euro 4 regulations for emission management.

Timeline of Ownership

  • 1903 - Subsidiary of Husqvarna Armament
  • 1987 - Motorcycle division sold to Cagiva
  • 1988 - Husaberg Motor AB brand spinoff
  • 2007 - Husqvarna motorcycles purchased by BMW
  • 2013 - Husqvarna AG purchased by Pierer Industrie
  • 2013 - Transfer to KTM AG, establishing Husqvarna Motorcycle GmbH and reuniting with Husaberg

Current models

Husqvarna bikes by type (as of March 2020)
Two-stroke Four-stroke
Motocross[21] Enduro[22] Motocross[21] Enduro[22] Supermoto[23] Naked bike[24][25]
TC 50 Mini TE 150i FC 250 FE 250 FS 450 Vitpilen 401
TC 50 TE 250i FC 350 FE 350 701 Supermoto Vitpilen 701
TC 65 TE 300i FC 450 FE 450 Svartpilen 401
TC 85 17/14 FE 501 Svartpilen 701
TC 85 19/16 701 Enduro Vitpilen 250
TC 125 701 Enduro LR Svartpilen 250
TC 250

Model naming conventions

Husqvarna names many of their motorcycles according to a nomenclature of engine cycle ("F" for four-stroke, "T" for two-stroke), application or type ("E" for enduro motorcycles, "C" for motocross machines, "S" for supermotos), and engine displacement. Additionally, some models of two-stroke machines have the suffix "i" included to indicate that these models have electronic fuel injection, rather than carburetors. For example:

  • FS 450 - a four-stroke supermoto with 450 cc engine displacement
  • TE 300i - a two-stroke enduro motorcycle with 300 cc engine displacement and fuel injection
  • TC 125 - a two-stroke motocross machine with 125 cc engine displacement and carburetor

Some newer models (particularly of larger displacement) include a numbered designation of _01. These designations are not direct references to the engine displacement, but approximate values. For example:

  • 401 designates a 373 cc engine, derived from the KTM 390 series of street bikes
  • 501 designates a 510 cc engine, derived from the KTM 500 series of enduro bikes
  • 701 designates a 690 cc engine, derived from the KTM 690 series of enduro, supermoto, and street bikes

Husqvarna also use the names "Vitpilen" and "Svartpilen" for their range of naked street bikes, which are Swedish for "white arrow" and "black arrow", respectively. [26]


Husqvarna has been a regular and successful presence at international off-road racing events since the 1930s. By 2008, riders on Husqvarna machines had secured more than 70 Motocross, Enduro and Supermoto world titles[27] as well as numerous victories at important rally races like the Baja 1000.

Since 2015, the energy drink manufacturer Rockstar is the title sponsor of Husqvarna's off-road factory team.[28] The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team competes in all off-road classes, participating in every event of the AMA Supercross and Motocross series.[29] So far, it has scored titles in the 2016 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, the 2015/2016 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship and in the 2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship.

Exemplary Championships


  • 1959 – Rolf Tibblin, European Motocross Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1960 – Bill Nilsson, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1962 – Rolf Tibblin, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1962 – Torsten Hallman, Motocross World Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1963 – Rolf Tibblin, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1963 – Torsten Hallman, Motocross World Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1966 – Torsten Hallman, Motocross World Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1967 – Torsten Hallman, Motocross World Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1969 – Bengt Åberg, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1970 – Bengt Åberg, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1974 – Heikki Mikkola, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1976 – Heikki Mikkola, Motocross World Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1979 – Håkan Carlqvist, Motocross World Champion, 250 cc class.
  • 1993 – Jacky Martens, Motocross World Champion, 500 cc class.
  • 1998 – Alessio Chiodi, Motocross World Champion, 125 cc class
  • 1999 – Alessio Chiodi, Motocross World Champion, 125 cc class
  • 2014 – Ben Adriaenssen & Ben van den Bogaart, Sidecarcross World Championship
  • 2014 – Tony Saunders, UK GT Cup, Youth Lites Class.
  • 2014 – Nathan Watson, UK Mx National, MX1 Class.
  • 2016 – Jan Hendrickx & Ben van den Bogaart, Sidecarcross World Championship
  • 2017 – Zach Osborne, Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, 250 cc class.
  • 2020 - Zach Osborne, Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Champion 450cc class.


  • 2017 – Zach Osborne, Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, East Coast 250 cc class.
  • 2018 – Jason Anderson, Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, 450 cc class.
  • 2018 – Zach Osborne, Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, East Coast 250 cc class.

Baja 1000

Antoine Méo at the 2010 GP of Turkey
Antoine Méo at the 2010 GP of Turkey
  • 1967 – J.N. Roberts, Malcolm Smith
  • 1969 – Gunnar Nilsson, J.N. Roberts
  • 1971 – Malcolm Smith, Gunnar Nilsson
  • 1972 – Gunnar Nilsson, Rolf Tibblin
  • 1973 – Mitch Mayes, A.C. Bakken
  • 1976 – Larry Roeseler, Mitch Mayes
  • 1977 – Brent Wallingsford, Scot Harden
  • 1978 – Larry Roeseler, Jack Johnson
  • 1979 – Larry Roeseler, Jack Johnson
  • 1981 – Scot Harden, Brent Wallingsford
  • 1983 – Dan Smith, Dan Ashcraft


Bartosz Obłucki at the 2008 GP of Italy
Bartosz Obłucki at the 2008 GP of Italy
  • 1990 – 350 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1991 – 250 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1992 – 350 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1993 – 125 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1993 – 350 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1994 – 125 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1994 – 500 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1995 – 125 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1995 – 500 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1996 – 350 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1998 – 500 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 1999 – 500 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2000 – 250 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2001 – 125 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2001 – 400 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2001 – 500 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2002 – 125 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2002 – 250 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2002 – 500 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2003 – 400 cc World Enduro Championship
  • 2010 – E1 World Enduro Championship with Antoine Méo
  • 2011 – E1 World Enduro Championship with Juha Salminen
  • 2011 – E2 World Enduro Championship with Antoine Méo
  • 2014 – E2 World Enduro Championship with Pela Renet
  • 2015 – E3 World Enduro Championship with Mathias Bellino


  • 2005 – Gérald Delepine, SM1 World Supermoto Championship
  • 2007 – Adrien Chareyre, SM1 World Supermoto Championship
  • 2007 – Gérald Delepine, SM2 World Supermoto Championship
  • 2008 – Adrien Chareyre, SM2 World Supermoto Championship
  • 2009 – Adrien Chareyre, SM2 World Supermoto Championship


After being acquired by KTM in 2013, Husqvarna entered the Moto3 World Championship in 2014 and 2015 as a unique constructor using their KTM-based FR250GP.[30] The team re-entered Moto3 beginning with the 2020 season.[31]

Year Rider QAT
United States
United States
Czech Republic
United Kingdom
San Marino
Valencian Community
Pts Position Cons
2014 United Kingdom Danny Kent 13 8 9 11 13 15 17 8 5 12 3 9 12 3 6 20 4 4 129 8th 4th
Finland Niklas Ajo 26 14 8 10 Ret 5 8 Ret Ret 12 10 Ret 25 Ret 9 Ret Ret 52 15th
2015 Spain Isaac Viñales 6 9 3 11 7 8 7 Ret 18 115 9th 4th
Italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta 28 19 8 11 24 24 Ret 16 22 13 25th
Spain María Herrera 22 17 Ret Ret 19 21 15 Ret Ret 24 23 Ret 24 13 26 11 18 21 9 29th

Other Ventures

Automobile manufacturing

Toward the end of World War II, a team comprising Bengt Magnusson (head of R&D), Stig Tham (engineer), Calle Heimdal (engine designer) and Birger Johansson investigated manufacture of a small, simple, inexpensive car. The design looked similar to the Saab 92, but with three wheels (two front, one back), and an unusual split rear window. According to some sources, the similarities with the Saab 92 may have had something to do with Sixten Sason working as designer at Husqvarna. A prototype was built in 1943, powered by a 20 hp (15 kW) two-cylinder 500 cc DKW motorcycle engine with chain drive to the rear wheel. The wheels came from a Fiat 500. The project was cancelled in 1944, and the prototype was scrapped at the end of the 1950s.

Bicycle manufacturing

Husqvarna coaster brake
Husqvarna coaster brake

Husqvarna is also prominent in Swedish bicycle history.[32] They have been one of the Swedish military bicycle manufacturers. Husqvarna's Novo hub competed well with imports, but bicycle manufacturing was discontinued in the early 1960s.[33]


  1. ^ a b c Walker, Mick. Motorcycle: Evolution, Design, Passion. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Valtimore. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-8018-8530-3.
  2. ^ "The Husqvarna Story: Four centuries of innovation". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  3. ^ Cathcart, Alan (May–June 2012). Historic Racer: Riding Sammy Miller's 1934 Husqvarna 500 GP Racer. Motorcycle Classics. pp. 46–51.
  4. ^ Cathcart, Alan. Historic Racer: Riding Sammy Miller's 1934 Husqvarna 500 GP Racer. Motorcycle Classics.
  5. ^ a b "The History of Husqvarna Motorcycles – A Legendary Bike". Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  6. ^ a b "Birth of a legend: 1959 & 1960". Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  7. ^ "#inthisyear1995: KTM acquires Husaberg". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  8. ^ "Updated: BMW Buys Husqvarna From MV Agusta". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  9. ^ Ash, Kevin (13 November 2011), "Husqvarna to emulate MINI in BMW stable; The Swedish/Italian manufacturer's new boss explains how the brand will sit in BMW's two-wheeled portfolio", The Daily Telegraph, retrieved 2011-11-13
  10. ^ "BMW Sells Husqvarna Motorcycles to Pierer Industrie AG". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  11. ^ "Pierer Industrie AG Management". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  12. ^ a b KTM AG. "Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  13. ^ Husqvarna Motorcycles. "The Company". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  14. ^ "First units in Austrian-based 2014 Husqvarna production line complete". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  15. ^ "Husqvarna and Husaberg Reunited". 2013-09-27. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
  16. ^ "Milan Show: Husqvarna wows with two concept bikes". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  17. ^ "Husqvarna introduces 2017 line of Vitpilens in Milan". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  18. ^ "Milan Show: Husqvarna show 701 Vitpilen concept roadster". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  19. ^ "The New Husqvarna Motorcycle Vitpilen Series". Ikon London Magazine. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Husqvarna Motorcycles' all-new 2018 enduro range unveiled". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  21. ^ a b "Motocross". 2020-01-26. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  22. ^ a b "Enduro". 2020-01-26. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  23. ^ "Supermoto". 2020-01-26. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  24. ^ "Vitpilen". 2020-01-26. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  25. ^ "Svartpilen". 2020-01-26. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  26. ^ "Husqvarna's Black Arrow and White Arrow Prototypes". Motocross Action Magazine.
  27. ^ von Kuenheim, Hendrik. "The Future of BMW Motorrad - Hendrik von Kuenheim talks to the media in Munich, April 16, 2008". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  28. ^ "Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team Announced". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  29. ^ "Rockstar Energy Racing". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  30. ^ Beeler, Jensen (28 January 2014). "First Look at the "Husqvarna" Moto3 Race Bike". Asphalt and Rubber. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  31. ^ Beeler, Jensen (10 November 2019). "This KTM Moto3 Bike Is Having an Identity Crisis". Asphalt and Rubber. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  32. ^ "Swedish bicycle history". Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  33. ^ Stenqvist, Ake. "A small history of Bicycles in SWEDEN". Archived from the original on 2005-03-25. Retrieved 2011-06-05.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 October 2020, at 22:29
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