The Brand

What was once a small metalworking business founded over three centuries ago in Huskvarna, Sweden, has evolved and diversified into a variety of fields ranging from the production of muskets for the Swedish Army in the 17th century to the production of industry-leading motorcycles in the 21st century.

1903 was the year Husqvarna began production of their first motorcycles, making it one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers with uninterrupted production. In the first half of the 20th century, when motorcycling heroes chased glory on treacherous early road race courses such as the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, Husqvarna achieved fame throughout Europe thanks to its commitment to street based motorsports.

The post-war era was a turning point for Husqvarna. A severely damaged road network in Europe meant the common, heavy and cumbersome pre-war designed mainstream motorcycles were unable to easily navigate bombed, potholed and rubble strewn streets. This called for lightweight, manoeuvrable, robust and easy-to-ride motorcycles. The subsequent economic climate also called for functional yet affordable machines. Husqvarna’s small engine single-cylinder bikes of the day were the answer.

Offroad motorsports became popular in the 1950s and Husqvarna was the first manufacturer to produce purpose-built motorcycles for these up-and-coming disciplines. The push towards success saw the development of several competition machines with varying displacements and engine layouts, with the first five world titles in motocross conquered between 1960 and 1963 in the 250cc and 500cc categories. Husqvarna’s success spanned several decades, with famous riders such as Torsten Hallman, Malcolm Smith, Swedish enduro heroes like Sven Erik Jonsson and Thomas Gustavsson, as well as Hollywood film actor Steve McQueen, piloting their Husqvarna bikes on the most demanding courses and tracks around the world.

The offroad aura that surrounded Husqvarna gained further consistency in 1983 with the introduction of the first 500cc 4-stroke model. The light and agile Enduro model was a pioneering technological marvel. Featuring all-round lubrication and air cooling, it paved the way for a generation of cutting-edge 4-stroke offroad motorcycles.

The corporate history over the last three decades has been turbulent at times, with the Swedish giant Electrolux selling the motorcycle division to the Italian company Cagiva MV Agusta and subsequently transferring the headquarters and manufacturing to Northern Italy. In 2007, Husqvarna Motorcycles was acquired by the BMW Group.

Today, following relocation to Austria in 2013, under the new ownership of KTM Group Husqvarna Motorcycles is returning to its former glory. 113 years after it started motorcycle production, the glorious brand’s reputation forged in motorsport is once again resplendent. A mixture of heritage, performance and style and high quality standards are evidence of the iconic Swedish brand’s intent, forming the basis for continued growth and a prosperous future.