If you’re a dirt bike enthusiast, it is highly likely that you’ve heard of Husqvarna – one of the most reputable brands in the industry. Their two-wheel off-road machines are known for their impressive performance, durability, and innovative designs. But do you know how it all started? Join us as we take a dive into the rich history of Husqvarna dirt bikes.
The Early Years
The story of Husqvarna dirt bikes started in 1903 when the Husqvarna brand was founded. Originally, the company started as a weapons manufacturer but shifted its focus to sewing machines, bicycles, and motorcycles. In 1920, Husqvarna began to manufacture dirt bikes, which were initially considered a luxury item for the wealthy. However, as technology advanced, Husqvarna dirt bikes became more accessible to the general public, and people started to realize their potential as a recreational and competitive sport.
In the 1950s and 60s, Husqvarna dirt bikes emerged as a powerhouse in the industry, winning numerous championships and dominating races around the world. The bikes’ success came from their unique features, such as the lightweight frame, innovative suspension system, and high-performance two-stroke engines. Some of the legendary models from that time include the Silver Arrow, the Viking, and the 360 Enduro.
In the 1970s, Husqvarna dirt bikes faced some challenges, particularly in the American market, where Japanese manufacturers like Yamaha and Honda began to steal the spotlight. However, Husqvarna remained focused on innovation and continued to introduce new models that incorporated cutting-edge technology, such as the automatic transmission and the first-ever rear monoshock suspension system.
In 1986, Husqvarna merged with Italian motorcycle brand Cagiva and shifted its focus to more street-oriented bikes. Although the brand continued to produce dirt bikes, it no longer remained the powerhouse in the industry that it once was. In 2013, KTM took over Husqvarna and reintroduced it as a separate brand, independent of Cagiva. Under KTM’s ownership, Husqvarna dirt bikes have once again gained popularity and recognition, thanks to their exceptional performance, unique design, and competitive pricing.
Today, Husqvarna dirt bikes are considered some of the best in the market, with models like the TE 300i, the FE 501s, and the TC 125 leading the charge. The brand has come a long way since its humble beginnings, but it continues to hold on to its roots of innovation, design, and performance.
Changes Of Ownership
Husqvarna began producing motorcycles in the early 1900s and by 1930, it began making lightweight dirt bikes. In the 1940s, it developed its first motocross bike, able to climb hills and navigate rough terrain with ease. In the 1950s, it won world championships in the 500cc class, earning it international recognition and fame.
In 1972, the brand was purchased by the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Cagiva, which helped Husqvarna become more modernized and diversified. While Cagiva owned Husqvarna, the company introduced new models with improved innovation. Husqvarna began using lighter materials and better technology, which made their dirt bikes unmatched in speed and agility.
Ten years later, Husqvarna passed to another company, MV Agusta, which introduced new models, including high-performance motorcycles built with carbon fiber technology and the use of multi-valve head engine. It was also in this period that Husqvarna expanded their range of off-road motorcycles to make them more user-friendly with electric start and front-disc brakes.
In 2013, Husqvarna was bought by the KTM Group, which brought significant changes to the company. As a result, the brand shifted its focus on producing lightweight, nimble bikes, and commercializing lower-end models with a more affordable price. They introduced the Husqvarna TC, FC, and TE, which embraced the special features that dirt riders require, such as modern suspended forks and more advanced rear shocks.
Today, Husqvarna dirt bikes continue being one of the most successful brands worldwide. They are well known for their outstanding performance and technological innovations that make them the top choice for bikers and trail racers, whether for racing or adventure riding.
In 1903, The Husqvarna Company was founded as a weapons factory that manufactured muskets for the Swedish Army. During World War 1, the company was contracted to produce bikes and motorcycles. This opportunity allowed the factory to invest in motorcycles which led to a massive spike in Husqvarna bike production. The company’s first Dirt bike model was unveiled in the 1930s, and it was called the “Silverpilen” (Silver Arrow). With its lightweight feel, the Silverpilen was an instant hit among enthusiasts, leading to the disbandment of the company’s traditional motorcycle models line-up. In the 1950s, the Husqvarna team took the racing world by storm, winning multiple World Championship titles in Motocross.
The Swedish brand continued to dominate the motocross scene into the ‘70s and ‘80s, and their Husqvarna motorcycles became legendary. The models such as the CR 250, CR 390, and CR 430 paved the way to make the brand more recognizable among dirt bike enthusiasts. The Husqvarna brand underwent major transformations in the 1980s, with some big changes applied to the company’s manufacturing and marketing strategies. The brand was bought by the Italian Cagiva group, and production moved to Italy, together with the marketing and branding campaigns.
In the year 1999, the company was acquired by BMW Group, marking a new turning point in the brand’s history. This acquisition led to the introduction of the BMW’s advanced technology leading to the design of new models with top-of-the-line suspensions, lightweight chassis composite materials, and advanced electronics. This allowed Husqvarna dirt bikes to establish themselves as premium off-road models with a huge fan base.
Today with over a century of racing history, Husqvarna Dirt bikes remain a powerhouse in the dirt bike industry. The brand continues to innovate and deliver top-quality designs that cater to the needs of all classes of riders. Their commitment to racing has given brand loyalists the tools to take on any terrain or competition, all while winning titles and international competitions.
The history of Husqvarna dirt bikes is a tale of innovation, determination, and a passion to create high-performance machines that dominate the off-road landscape. From weapons production to racing motorcycles, the brand has undergone a succession of transformations, morphing into a powerhouse in the dirt bike industry. Throughout Husqvarna’s history in dirt bikes, the company has continuously pushed the envelope with new technology and ideas, and it remains a force to be reckoned with today. The success Husqvarna has enjoyed from racing has helped create an intensely loyal following, with riders who swear by the bikes for both off-roading and racing. Simply put, there is no doubt that the legacy of this Swedish company will continue on, representing not only the excellence of dirt bikes but also a symbol of what strong brand recognition and high-quality engineering can achieve
Husqvarna Racing Legends
For many bikers, there are only a few things that compare to the thrill of a good race. If you’re a fan of the sport, you know that when it comes to racing legends, Husqvarna is a brand that has been at the forefront of the industry for decades. In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at three Husqvarna racing legends: Heikki Mikkola, Graham Jarvis, and Steve McQueen. These icons have made a name for themselves in the motorcycle racing world, and their contributions have cemented their place in the racing pantheon. So sit back, grab a drink, and let us delve into the fascinating lives of these legendary riders.
First up is one of the most iconic Husqvarna racers of all time – Heikki Mikkola. Mikkola was a four-time motocross world champion and named one of the best 500cc riders of all time. The Finnish rider was a dominant force on the track in the 1970s, and his partnership with Husqvarna saw him compete on a number of their models – most notably the Husqvarna 400.
Mikkola’s career highlights include four world championships, four Finnish championships, three Swedish championships, and two Trans-AMA championships. In fact, Mikkola was the first non-American rider to win a Trans-AMA championship, which further cemented his status as one of the greats. Even in retirement, Heikki Mikkola remains an iconic name in the world of racers, and his achievements have inspired generations of riders.
Next is Graham Jarvis, who may be better known as the King of Hard Enduro. Born in England in 1975, Jarvis has a long list of accolades, including multiple Scottish Six Days Trials wins, multiple FIM Superenduro titles, and Hard Enduro podium finishes. He has dominated events such as the Erzberg Rodeo, the Romaniacs, and the Red Bull Sea to Sky.
Jarvis’s partnership with Husqvarna started in 2013, and since then, he has been one of their most recognizable ambassadors. He has raced on models such as the Husqvarna TE300 and TE250i, and his skill and dominance have elevated the brand’s reputation in the hard enduro racing world.
Finally, we come to Steve McQueen, who is perhaps more famous for his Hollywood achievements than his racing. Still, the American actor and avid motorcycle enthusiast was a proficient endurance racer, participating in events such as the Elsinore Grand Prix and the Six Days Trials. McQueen bought his first Husqvarna in 1968, and the bike would go on to feature in his 1971 film, “On Any Sunday.”
McQueen’s love of the brand became public knowledge, and his partnership with Husqvarna elevated the company’s status in Hollywood. His influence helped establish Husqvarna as a premium brand for the two-wheeled enthusiast, and for many, McQueen’s love of the brand is as famous as his acting career.
In conclusion, Husqvarna has a long history of association with prominent names in the international motorcycle racing world. Legends, such as Heikki Mikkola, Graham Jarvis, and Steve McQueen, have helped elevate and promote the brand in their own unique way, and their contributions have helped establish the brand’s reputation as a race-winning machine. Together with these icons, Husqvarna will continue to inspire new generations of riders and add to their impressive legacy. So, no matter if you are a seasoned rider or a new enthusiast, know that these legends continue to influence and inspire riders to this day.