Husqvarna is set to release three new street bikes at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy, including two concepts.
If that sounds like deja vu all over again, you’re right; it was only three years ago (in 2011) that Husqvarna was talking about their new street-legal platform at the Paris Motorcycle Show, with the Strada concept bike. Then came the Nuda in 2012, a hot rod built around BMW’s Rotax-sourced parallel twin. Then came Husqvarna’s sale to KTM CEO Stefan Pierer, and those tasty bikes just plain disappeared from the lineup.
That move was pretty disappointing to Husky fans; the new 650 dual sports had quickly gained a lot of popularity, although they never sold many of the Nudas. There was some hope the bikes would still stay in production after BMW sold the company, as those motors (or close copies) are available in other machines than BMWs. Alas, it was not to be, and early adopters of the new bikes were left with oddball machines facing a future of tenuous parts supply.
The rebirth of the Husqvarna lineup under KTM is following a similar pattern to its years under BMW; from a basic lineup, they’re slowly, cautiously expanding, building their new bikes around motors the parent company already produces. Many industry watchers figured KTM was going to keep the brand focused only on off-road bikes after BMW’s foray into street-legal machines ended in disaster, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Last November, Husqvarna unveiled their 701 concept street bike, hinting towards an asphalt-friendly future.
This week, the company announced that future is nearer, saying they’ll unveil three new bikes at EICMA; one will be a street bike, the other two will be concepts. The Husky press release didn’t say exactly what style the new bike would be, but said it’d be a large-displacement single-cylinder with “state-of-the-art technology and a rich sense of heritage.” Could it be the final version of their 701 concept bike, seen above?
Their press release went to great lengths to stress the company actually has a history in roadracing and street bikes, although most motorcyclists wouldn’t remember it, especially here in North America, where the brand has always been known for their dirt bikes.
Now, Husqvarna has already announced it would import the FE 350S and the FE501S supermotos to North America, with street lighting, but they’re really just massaged versions of existing dirt bikes. Husky seems to be saying their new machine will be more than a re-purposed enduro with 17-inch rims. With Editor ‘Arris headed to EICMA this year, we’ll let you know more when the bike is actually shown.