As with many motorcycle manufacturers, Husqvarna first began producing bicycles in the late 19th century. In 1903, they made the jump to motorcycle manufacturing. The first "Husky" motorcycles used imported engines, and it wasn't until 1918 that Husqvarna began producing machines built entirely in-house. Around that time they secured a contract with the Swedish Army and began entering cross-country and long-distance motorcycle racing events. In 1920, Husqvarna established its own engine factory and the first engine to be designed was a 550 cc four-stroke 50-degree side-valve V-twin engine, similar to those made by companies like Harley-Davidson and Indian. Although they once made motorcycles for street use, and raced at road circuits such as the Isle of Man TT prior to World War II, they are better known for producing world championship winning motocross and enduro bikes.
It is an exciting time for the Husqvarna brand, as it finds a new home within the KTM family. Reunited in a sense with Husaberg, the remnants of the motorcycle company when it left Sweden for Italy, Husky motorcycles are little more than rebadged Austrian machines at this point in time, though Stefan Pierer and his team would like to change that. We have already seen Husqvarna return to the road with a supermoto model, in the Husqvarna FS 450, as well as the Husqvarna 701 street; and the company has also debuted two intriguing street concepts at the EIMCA motor show (based off the KTM 390 Duke), which may go into production.
Husqvarna seems determined to distinguish itself from KTM, and it is drawing heavily on its past and history for inspiration going forward. It should be interesting to see how the company evolves over the next few years.