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The Mammas & the papas - Husaberg history throug time

 

This is Grandma:

This is the story 
(told by me, so may differ from official version)



The First Husaberg - Grandma
Husaberg FE501 1989



Here I will tell the Husaberg story to all of you who don't care about wasting time reading this ugly white letters over black background (It's 2 times slower and 10 times more annoying but I always obstinate to make my pages with dark backgrounds.

Since the old grandma Husqvarnas (TE510) and old Mr. Gustavsson (father of both creatures) are important in this story I wil apreciatte any good pictures of both.




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Husqvarna & Pepe Gil
Husqvarna TE510 1988

 

 

 

 

Husaberg's hearts pump blood from him
The heart of the Husky:
Note the water pump already located in the lower part of the engine and how similar it's 
when compared to the '89 Fe501 model.

 

 

 

 

yet another picture of the sweedish Grandma
Husqvarna TE510 1988

Have you ever wondered why your Berg engine looks so similar to the Huskie ones?

Let's know a little bit more of Husqvarna history. 

Husqvarna was born more than 300 years ago. Swedish King Charles XI ordered the construction of a factory on the banks of the Husqvarna River, in Jönköping to product muskets.Water power was harnessed from the Huskvarna River to create the water-powered plant.The name Huskvarna was derived from "house mill", "hus" meaning house and "kvarn" meaning mill. The word itself can be traced back at least to the year 1529. (credits goes to husqvarna.com)

Since then they have made sewing machines, outboards power plants, chainsaws, bicycles... and what we love: Bikes. They began making bikes around 1903 and until late eighties they achieved great success with several world championship won.

They made some of the finest Enduro bikes of this century and also the mother of all (or many) today's 4 strokers. The 510's watercooled engine.

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And now Mr. Thomas Gustavsson (and Mr. Hacmin) contribution to the motorcycle history. 

In Husqvarna facilities these guys were re-inventing the 4s concept. By this time, husqvarna financial figures were bad and the bike section losses worried Swedish group Electrolux who was seeking for a buyer (like BMW is doing with Rover). What happened if, as I said above, they made good and competitive machines? It happened to Bultaco and Montesa and many spanish dirtbikes manofactures. The japanese, too old facilities, high prices, recession and lack of flexibility to survive. They were integrated (non-integrated) inside a large industrial group with a wide range of products, serving diferent markets and this is against one of the non mutables laws of marketing. FOCUS.

Why am I so boring? Sorry, It's only why history repeats and now it can happen again.

Mr. Gustavsson & Hacmin and surely others, were the engineers who developed (Gustavsson also rode it in the European Enduro trials) this engine. And when Electrolux sold the bike division to Cagiva (www.cagiva.it) their creature, their job and also a part of his life went out to the Cagiva corse headquarters.

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Cagiva Enduros and MX bikes. 

Cagiva made the compromise to mantain the swedish name and tradition in their bikes. All the 2s Husqvarnas engines were replaced by the Cagiva ones and after some time same happened with frames and other components. They only model that has remained unaltered (its concept) was the 4s. They use the same frame and the same powerplant (with no drastical changes). I wish all the firms would have done like Cagiva. The Castiglioni are businessmen and also great gentlemen.

Our heroes were without work, and with the latest swedish bike maker lost and their child learning Italian one will surely think about suicide. It was this or the more rational option of seeking some financial support to build a new factory from scracth and desinging a even better 4 strokes enduro bike.

And so they did. They founded Husaberg Motor AB (officially registered in January 1988). Why they called it Husaberg can be founded in the factory web page. For those of you too lazy here it goes: 

"The name of the company is actually a loan from the place of the first pre-production plant; an old cow-shed, situated on the peninsula Husabergs Udde. Although moved from the original location years ago, the company is still in the neighbourhood, just some 30 km Northwest of the northern peak of the lake Vättern. A surrounding more or less designed for dirtbikes (and mooses) and in the heart of the Swedish race tracks and clubs." 

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The body:
MX sizes, a hardened steel frame and a upper "spine" with rectangular section who was also the air intake. (Ram air in the 89?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the 19th of October 1989 the first unit was dispatched. 

The bike engine was based in the original TE 510 design with some improvements, shorter stroke, less weight, a Nickel- Silicium cylinder, a special rod, water pump relocated (operated by the crankshaft). Let's say it was Gustavsson and Hacmin engine V. 1.5. 

Their main objective was to reduce engine weight both internally and externally. As the engine weight affects the overall bike handling and the internal weight steals power and produce more inerce. (less capacity to achieve high revs, more demanding power, engine wear...). And all this objective were acomplished with the best 4 strokes enduro engine ever built.

Such a engine deserves a good body to attach into. And a very light but enormous rigid frame was built with never seen solutions like the air filter location in the main tube (rectangular section) who also is the fresh air conduct in its way to the carb. Any of you devoted to the superbike beast of today will say it's was the Berg Ram air system. Apart from the room saved with this solution the air temperature is lower.

The center of gravity of the berg was lower than any of its competitors. They designed an special fuel tank like the special Honda CR500 of Thorpe and  Malherbe were using. The fuel is located under the pilot's knees. And all the mass is in the same location like the engine.

Franco Acerbis made the fuel tank (8.5 liters, about 100 kms rides). and also the plastics. (Swedish flag graphics).

For the cyclist part they used the White Power 4054 upside down (Fashion rules) and rear shock. Then, and surely because the "need" to make a Swedish bike was more important the final units were using Öhlins shocks. The Rims were Nordisk (Norway ) owned by Hydra Aluminium (aerospace stuff). - a collector's item - brakes were provided by Brembo (everything, included the really bad discs). Clutch lever was Magura (Germany) , throttle was a Hallblax (!!! Sweden )... The only japanese part of grandma Berg was the Mikuni fuel pump. (and the spark plug).

When released in Spain it costed 1.250.000 Spanish Ptas. The most expensive dirt bike ever. (24 % more than a KTM LC 4). Exclusivity has to be paid.

EOF.


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From left to right: Hakan Lunberg, 
Kent Karlsson, Svenerik Jönsson,
 Thomas Gustavsson
Dick Wissel & Mikael Nilsson.

Probably you knew it, probably didn't. 
But this is the story. Soon we will tell you more stories:
  • What dirtbike magazines and enduromen said.
  • How they won their first enduro tittle with this bike.
  • The MX am enduro victories.
  • The range evolution.
  • Husaberg bought by KTM.
  • The 1999 and 2000 facts.

If you want to share some info with us or want to explain your own story write it to this e-mail (include  if possible some pictures):

husabergracing@swissinfo.org 

 

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April 2000

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