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    A curated collection of stories

    Good Old Times

  • 62_TIBBLIN_Sittendorf

    It’s hammer time!

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    After the 1960 season things heated up. Rolf Tibblin finished fourth in the 500cc championship and came fifth in the following year. Having trained harder than ever, he had high hopes for 1962. Straddling his Husqvarna, Tibblin's main opponents came from Sweden, which certainly made the title chase interesting. 

    european champion

    European Champion

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    In the late 1950s, world class riders competed for the European 250cc Motocross Championship. Husqvarna produced 10 factory machines, which were handed out to the six best Swedish riders. They raced against top names from Great Britain, Czechoslovakia and Germany. It was a 13-round series during a four-month chase for this desirable title.

    Dirt track and hill climb

    Dirt Track and Hill Climb

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    By the end of the 1920s, Husqvarna intensified their racing efforts. They hired ace engineer Folke Mannerstedt, who developed magnificent machines. There were the ultimate factory bikes, but then there were also motorcycles for sale to the average racing fan, for dirt track and hill climb. My father was one of them and bought a Husky 350DT in the early 1930s. Here is his story.

    modern times

    Modern Times

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Scrapping their 98cc light-weight machine during the war, Husqvarna took up production again in 1946. A year after WWII came to an end there was a giant need for inexpensive transportation. Therefore, it was decided to start manufacturing a 120 cc machine where footpegs replaced pedals. This economic bike soon developed into being every man's vehicle in Sweden.

    winter enduro titan

    Winter Enduro Titan

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Gunnar Kalén’s career of eleven years was cut short when he met his destiny in Germany in 1934, but the successful Swede had won great victories during his time racing, beating many records. His reputation was elevated from the "Novemberkasan" enduro where Gunnar won for five consecutive years from 1926 to 1930. Later, in the snow of 1933, he topped it off with a sixth victory, riding his factory Husqvarna.

    Gunnar Kalén was a great gentleman of motorsports. His first employer Axel Löfström had him riding Saroléa from 1927 to 1930 and said, “he was an ideal sportsman and so, he became one of our most popular riders in his time".  People described his behaviour as “modest, calm and safe”. Besides the TT, road racing in our time, the Novemberkasan was a favourite with the master.

    Speak Volumes

    Husqvarna Speak Volumes

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Between 1969 and 1970 the Swedes doubled both production and sales over a period of only one year. There were two main reasons for this success – the growing American market and a surge in demand for offroad and desert machines, which represented a huge market. By now, Husqvarna had won their first Baja 1000 and Mint 400 races and, after two motocross world titles by Bengt Aberg, the brand name was highly respected in Europe and all over the globe.

    Final Countdown

    The Final Countdown

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    After a 20-year absence, Husqvarna introduced their 4-stroke big-bore beast. In 1983, it tried establishing the brand as a top player on the bike market. Not only was a new engine presented, but the Swedes also gave up the red/chrome tanks in favour of new all-white machines. However, MX competition from Japan was fierce and Husqvarna did not have the financial resources to keep up with their opponents. Instead, the company looked towards enduro.

    Hurricans Mopeds

    50cc Hurricans

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    In the early 50s, Husqvarna decided to produce folklore machines. New legislation opened up for cheap mopeds that at first were no more than bicycles equipped with an engine. The popularity of this new way of transportation grew quickly. It resulted in whirlwinds, such as the Novolette, the Roulette and the Corona, all Avantgarde pilgrim models…

    Fourth Hallman Title

    Fourth Hallman Title

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Between 1959 and 1966 Husqvarna had conquered four MX championships in the 250cc class. Torsten Hallman had three world titles and Rolf Tibblin one European victory when plans for the 1967 season began. On top of that, the Swedish brand had recently been introduced to the USA, where people fancied both style and quality from the Viking country. So, everything looked promising and Husqvarna decided to double their racing budget, with clever money, for the coming season…

    Enduro is state of the art

    Husqvarna Goes Enduro

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    As the United States embraced the Husqvarna movement in the 60s, development and volumes played a major role at the Swedish factory. Now, the Motorcycle Olympics went from the International Six Days Trial to racing on most any surface. Enduro and desert riding changed motorcycling and paved the way for future Husqvarna success. On home grounds, the brand won almost all "reliability" races at hand…

    Rider from Hell

    A Rider From Hell

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    After his 1969 world title, Bengt Aberg was convinced he would conquer the world again. He was Husqvarna-mounted and both physically and mentally ready, ahead of this gruelling season. 1970 turned out to be a strange one as Aberg's main rival was his neighbour Arne Kring who also had a contract with the weapons factory in Huskvarna. Fasten your seat belt folks – here we go with the bashful Swedes!

    leather to barbour

    From Leather to Barbour Suit

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    When motorcycling was young, people took part in ‘reliability tests’ in order to prove themselves. A little over a hundred years ago, the International Six Days Trial was born. Husqvarna joined the games in 1922 and were successful at their first international event. In the 1950s, the Six-Days evolved into the Olympics of motorcycling. Here's when and how Husqvarna joined the movement of adventures.

    roaring decadence

    1921-30: Roaring Decadence

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Peace upon the world changed everything. Good Old Times had arrived, and people were drinking and dancing. The beginning of the 20s was a decade full of joy and laughter. On the streets you could see motorcycles and other vehicles moving freely. Husqvarna had just introduced their first in-house manufactured two-wheel machine, driven by a nice 550cc V-engine. But the most popular motorcycles were the affordable 250cc bikes, which sold like hot cakes…

    black red or blue

    Black, Red or Blue?

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    The press release announced a novelty made by Husqvarna in Huskvarna. This happened back in 1939 and the machine was the newly developed ‘Angel-Wing’. This 118cc bike would appeal to the masses after it replaced the popular predecessor of 98cc – the small bicycle with a bolt-on power source was now an outdated model. The introduction of the Angel Wing could not have come at a worse time however. The second world war was around the corner and during the coming six years the factory only churned out a couple of 100 of these new motorcycles. However, in the postwar period things changed dramatically…

    So, the roots of this newcomer came from the 98cc machine and was initially nicknamed the ‘Angel-Wing’. Actually, the small 98cc-powerpack was a pre-evolution of the 118cc engine that was included in the new Husqvarna Model 20. It was a product from the factory’s Research & Development department. Gone were the days of the resemblance to a bicycle. Now, it featured a three-speed gearbox, a kick-starter and footpegs. The main reason for its introduction was the new motorcycle legislation – as of 1939, at 16 years of age, you could ride a lightweight bike that did not weigh more than 75 kilos. The vehicle had to be registered and as a rider, you had to have a valid license. Those were the criteria introduced before the war. It should also be mentioned that there was a Model 21, which had a speed limit of 40 km/h and was regarded as the baby brother of the Model 20.

    Competition Magician

    Competition Magician

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    In Husqvarna's Golden Era of motocross, Bror Jaurén was the primary person responsible for handling the factory's tactics in their quest for success. Working as competition manager for the racing department, Jaurén’s leadership led to 14 motocross world championship titles from six different riders during his 33 years at Husqvarna. I met him in the late 70s.

    trouble free travel

    Trouble-Free Travel

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    An advertisement in the summer of 1951 had the following headlines, ‘Prolong your spare time with a Husqvarna – make the most of your evenings, weekends and vacation!’ Twelve years before, in 1939, the newly developed ‘Angel-Wing’ 118cc machine had been presented to the public. It would soon appeal to the masses and give many a rider some adventurous travel experiences.

    Gotland TT

    The 1934 Gotland TT

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    After the great Saxtorp Grand Prix in August 1934, the racers went to the island of Gotland to participate in a Tourist Trophy event. It was a venue full of life - both on and off the track - where the representatives of Husqvarna vibrated with confidence after their success in the big C-class at their previous Saxtorp adventure. Now, the circus was open to new battles, with the Swedish arms factory being held as a favourite. But let's start this amazing story from the beginning...

    The people in Gotland had enjoyed a busy summer with many tourists. This popular island is still an attractive travel destination for both foreigners and Swedes who want to relax and enjoy the sun in the city of Visby. Therefore, in the 30s, there was no big fuss about a motorcycle race among the local inhabitants - it was said to be an interesting break from the daily work in the ‘City of Roses’.

    dd-header

    Daddy's Dream

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    As a young kid, my father Tore was not really into school or education. Instead, he dreamt of famous riders and had early passionate thoughts of becoming a motorcycle man. He was a fan of Husqvarna and his active racing period lasted half a decade. My father began competing by the end of the 20s, continuing through the early 30s – in Husqvarna's initial big-time era in racing.

    a husky man full of smiles

    A Husky Man Full Of Smiles

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    A 10-year Husqvarna career started in 1965 when Uno Palm made his debut in the junior national championship in Sweden. Palm had a 250cc Husqvarna, a brand he cherished with a passion until his two-wheel professional years ended in 1978. By that time Uno Palm had entered the 250cc world championship in nine seasons with his best performance coming in 1972 where he scored fifth place in the final standings. Uno Palm raced for almost 20 years before leaving the MX expert stage.

    era 1911-1920

    Husqvarna Era 1911-1920

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Having spent eight years of pioneering work since their inception in 1903, Husqvarna were ready to take the next step. By 1911, their products developed into being more and more sophisticated, thereby satisfying a starving market. People were hungry for novelties and new design. They also demanded a higher quality to get their money's worth. Speed was suddenly in fashion for everyone.

    Husqvarna sales were a mere 53 units during 1911. In the same year, the collaboration with Motosacoche came to an abrupt end. Simultaneously, the weapons factory increased their business with Moto-Rève. Production turned out a twin-cylinder 298cc V-engine – the Model 65 – which delivered two horsepower performance at the beginning but was tuned to 2.5-3hp during subsequent developments. This model lasted four years before an update was released.

    old style motoring

    Old Style Motoring News

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Every Swedish race fan looked forward to each Friday when a new issue of the country's one and only weekly motoring magazine was published. What had happened during the past weekend was properly reported by journalists and photographers of the time. Husqvarna could count themselves as one of the major advertising clients during the beginning of the 30s when the factory had tremendous success in motorcycle events.

    win at 6-days

    1923 Win at 6-Days ISDT

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    The two phantoms Gustaf Göthe and David Senning each captured a gold medal in the 1922 ISDT in Switzerland. Consequently, in the following year, Sweden hosted the International Six Days Trial. It was run out of the capital city Stockholm for 1,863 kilometres before returning to the finish line. Being there, the local Husqvarna team captured victory, winning the International Trophy.

    But let's start in 1922 when the ISDT was organized by Switzerland. Three Husqvarna riders from Sweden took part in this event, where the competitors had to manage the steep hills of the Alps. It not only strained the engines of the workhorses going uphill, but also put severe pressure on the brakes going down the slopes. And most riders were not used to such obstacles, which of course influenced their performance. Conquering the dwindling passes in the Alps, many a rider got stuck with problems and had to abandon the race. The Husqvarna riders had the disadvantage of the weight of their machines, which caused them to ride with care. The engines tended to overheat as they were used to the limit. In the end the Swedish Husky team came home third in the result sheets - after England and Switzerland.

    brave and strong

    Brave and Strong

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Late in his splendid career Sylvain Geboers switched to Husqvarna, hoping for success. The Belgian had never made it to the top of the podium, forced to be content with runner-up positions as country-man Joel Robert beat him to the finish line. After two second places and three third spots in the 250cc world championship, Geboers set out to try his luck with Husqvarna in 1975. Here's how it happened.

    silver arrow episode 2

    The silver arrow - Episode 2

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    We head back in Husqvarna history to their important Silver Arrow model, which was released in 1955. It was a 175 cc ‘lightweight’ motorcycle with a 2-stroke engine and a three-speed gearbox. This model was manufactured until 1965 and there were 11,300 units made. Here, we take a look on how this ‘Silverpilen’ bike paved the way for the factory's future success in which the Silver Arrow played an important role putting Husqvarna on the world stage.

    silver arrow episode 1

    The silver arrow - Episode 1

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    In all of Husqvarna’s history, probably one of the most important developments is the Silver Arrow, Silverpilen. This 175 cc 2-stroke, three-speed machine paved the way for the company's future success. The Silver Arrow was the basis for a victorious path on track. Husqvarna won 13 individual world championship titles in motocross and many enduro victories from this lightweight machine. The hit started in 1955 when the classic bike was born...

    Message from Husqvarna

    Message from Husqvarna

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    By Kenneth Olausson

    Italian manufacturer Pirelli had their tyre treads marked on bodies of female models as a symbol in their famous 1980s calendars. In the 30s, Husqvarna used its racing success to market their products in advertising. The copy and pictures appealed to people's inspiration and was street smart for increasing sales.