Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Husqvara makes its first road bike? Not really...

There's been lots of buzz about the forthcoming Husqvarna Nuda road bike, and how this is a first for the Swedish marque (now made in Italy and owned by Germany, but whatever...)

Not really a first. In fact as a quick thumb through good old Tragatsch shows, for the first half of Husky's life, from 1903 into the 1950s, it made almost nothing but road bikes. And some fine ones. As road racers, the Huskies finest days came in the 1934 TT, when Ernie Nott finished on the podium in the Junior and Stan Woods(!) set fastest lap on a 500 in the Senior but failed to finish when he ran out of gas.

Apparently none of the '34 TT bikes survived. This is a sweet replica, which is claimed to be faithful in every detail. It's no Nuda, but it's definitely a naked...

Husky's first real off-road bikes were factory specials developed for the 1929 ISDT. The company focused on off road machines beginning in the '50s, though there were sporadic forays into road racing as late as the 1960s. One interesting story is that in the late '60s when the Husky 250 motocross bikes were dominant, a Swedish road racer convinced Husqvarna to build him a 500cc twin for road racing. Although that bike never fulfilled its promise, the flamboyant American motocross promoter Edison Dye convinced Husky to build a bike with that motor which he entered in the Baja 1000. Malcolm Smith, J.N. Roberts, and two Scandinavian riders teamed up to win the race on it!

So the Nuda, whatever it is, isn't a completely new idea for Husky. Once again I'm reminded of that French quote about, The only things that are new are those that have been forgotten. (And by the way, I was gratified to read that I wasn't the only person who saw a Vincent frame as providing antecedents to Ducati's 'frameless' MotoGP flop. No less an authority than Kevin Cameron noticed the same thing...

1 comment:

  1. Their race bikes of the 1930's were really special. Great looking things, with scalloped solder joints on the bottom edge of the fuel tank (like period Nortons). The one in your photo was from The Garage Co down in SoCal, with Yoshi and the guys cleaning it up for the Half Moon Bay show. Here are some pics of a 1930's street bike: