FIRST RIDE: 2014 HUSQVARNA LINE
Husqvarna hasn’t had a mini in, well, forever. Now, with the
TC85, that has changed.
The U.S. Husqvarna line will consist of 10 models. Each
has a counterpart in the existing KTM lineup, but
Husqvarnas will be sold through a separate dealer network. Those dealers will be a combination of existing
Husky dealers and Husaberg dealers. So what happens to
Husaberg? The name will disappear in 2015—KTM officials call it a “reunification.” That might hurt some feelings,
but the truth is that Husaberg was a lost soul already.
Back in the late 1990s, KTM saved that company too.
Husaberg was formed by former Husqvarna employees
and had advanced four-stroke technology at the time, but
it never had the resources to produce more than a handful
of bikes a year. KTM purchased Husaberg for its technology, then kept it as a separate line out of respect more than
anything else. It would have been totally impractical to
keep two former Swedish brands alive, and the Husqvarna
name is more valuable. So, bye-bye Husaberg.
At Uddevalla, Sweden, we got to ride all the new
Huskys prior to their arrival in the U.S. Here’s the rundown
of a few models.
HUSQVARNA FC450 MOTOCROSSER: Like all the
new Huskys, this bike is constructed mostly of parts from
the KTM warehouse. Remember, KTM only acquired the
Husky brand about seven months ago. Making something
completely new would have been impossible, and producing more bikes at the existing Husky factory was never an
option. So, the FC450 is a 450SX-F with a composite sub-frame/airbox from the Husaberg line.
If you know anything about the 450SX-F, you know that
the Husky couldn’t have a better brother. The two
machines now share the distinction of being the fastest
production motocross bikes you can buy. The FC450 is a
mauler, but the power delivery is still manageable. We’ve
ridden bikes that made less power and were more unman-
ageable, but you still have to treat the throttle with
respect. The bike has electric start, but doesn’t feel any
heavier than other 450s.
As with the KTM, the Husky’s weak point is a little
harshness in the front suspension. If you want an accurate
picture of how the FC stacks up to other 450s, you could
take a look at the December 2013 issue of Dirt Bike and
overlay the Husky on the KTM SX results. The bike has a
different feel, but not that different.