The sheets finally came off the new
Husqvarna line in Sweden this week, revealing a line of 10
competition dirt bikes that are bound for the U.S. Since KTM acquired
the 110-year-old brand earlier this year, speculation, rumors and
scuttlebutt have been rampant. The upper brass at KTM was keeping the
info under wraps until the world press could be assembled at the
Uddevalla GP track in western Sweden for a big unveiling when
outsiders would be permitted to test ride the first Austrian-made
Husqvarnas. The line will include both motocross bikes and off-road
models powered by two-stroke and four-stroke engines. Additionally an
85cc MX bike will available. At last, some significant questions have
been answered. Such as …
Q. Will the new Husqvarnas be just
A. Not exactly, but they will be very
similar. Everything in the new Husqvarna line has a blood brother in
the KTM line.
Q. Will Husqvarna replace Husaberg in
KTM's corporate family?
A. Yes. But not in 2014. The two lines
will coexist for a year. The new owners see it as more of a
reunification. Back in 1988, when Husky was relocated from Sweden to
Italy, some disgruntled Swedes formed their own motorcycle company.
That was the origin of Husaberg.
Q. Will the current line of
Italian-made Husqvarnas be discontinued?
A. Yes. Say goodbye to the models that
were produced in Italy, as soon as the current inventory is gone.
These will include some 2014 models. The new owners will be providing
parts and customer service for the Italian line for the foreseeable
The bottom line is that 2014 will be
very confusing, as Husabergs, Italian-made Huskys and Austrian-made
Huskys coexist with KTMs. All that will quickly be reduced to KTM and
Husky, which will be similar but not identical. Husqvarna will be
seen as a high-end line, sold through separate dealers. For 2014,
there will be five motocross bikes (85, 125, 250 two-strokes, 250 and
a 450 four-strokes), and there will be five off-road bikes (250 and
300 two-strokes, and 250, 350 and 450 four-strokes) in the Husky
Riding the new bikes in the area
around the Uddevalla GP track revealed that the new Husqvarnas will,
indeed, have their own identity. The enduro models, in particular,
are unlike anything currently available. They are woods bikes like
the KTM XCWs and Husaberg FEs, but they have linkage like the KTM
motocrossers. The suspension settings are very cushy, and the forks
are the WP 4CS units with the rebound damping in the right leg and
the compression in the left. All of the full-size Huskys will have
composite subframes that are integrated with the airbox, like the
The terrain in Sweden is rocky, muddy
and unforgiving. The new Huskys, while made in faraway Austria, step
into the role of the tough Swede well. It's hard to image bikes that
would be more effective in that type of riding.
So are we better off now that Husky
and KTM are under the same umbrella? Absolutely. Inevitably, some
will say that our choices have been reduced now that Husqvarna has
stopped being an independent brand. But that was going to happen
anyway. Former parent company BMW had clearly lost interest in
Husqvarna, and KTM actually saved the brand by stepping in and taking
over. If this had not happened, there would be no more Husqvarna.
We couldn't be happier with the
results. The bikes are good, they have their own purpose and if
you're a Husqvarna fan, you have a lot to be happy about. Expect the
new models to be in dealers by Spring 2014.