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The Mammas & the papas - Husaberg history throug time

 

This is Grandma:

This is the story 
( may differ from official version )



The First Husaberg - Grandma
Husaberg FE501 1989
First production model.



In this section we 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.

This page has been updated with Ove Ekengren's notable contribution. He has provided me with all kind of information about Husaberg pioneers, first prototypes and exclusive pictures. Soon a PDF version of this page (with larger pictures and more design friendly) will be avaliable for download. 

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

Husqvarna & Pepe Gil
Husqvarna TE510 1988
Rider is Pepe Gil (SPA)

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 some former Husqvarna's engineers) contribution to the motorcycle history.

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.

 

 

 

 

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

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 have done with Rover). What happened if, as I said above, they made good and competitive machines? It happened to Bultaco and Montesa and many Sanish dirtbikes factories. 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.

 

 

Gustavsson in a Husvarna ad with the '86 TE 510
Thomas Gustavsson and the
'86 "air cooled" Husqvarna.
(picture sent by Ove).


Mr. Gustavsson (HVA engineer and racing rider), Ruben Helmin (HVA Chief engineer) and Urban Larsson (engine),  among others, were the team who developed this bike (Gustavsson also rode it in the European Enduro Champ). 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.

In the left Picture you can see Thomas with the 4 Strokes European Champ throphy. God or nature (whatever applies) gave him extraordinary abilities not only as an outstanding engineer, also as enduro rider.

 

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Cagiva Enduros and MX bikes.

yet another picture of the sweedish Grandma
Husqvarna TE510 1988

 

Cagiva made the compromise to mantain the Swedish name and tradition of husqvarna in their bikes. All the 2s Husqvarnas engines were replaced by the Cagiva ones and after some time the same happened with frames and other components. They only model that has remained unaltered (in its concept) was the 4s as the Italian factory remark in his web page. 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 scratch and desinging a even better 4 strokes enduro bike.

Husaberg Motor is founded

 

The people who founded
 Husaberg Motor, AB

Thomas Gustavsson:

The man behind the Husaberg project

Ruben Helmin:

Former HVA chief engineer and the first Husaberg's managing director.
Urban Larsson: Engine developement.
He left Husaberg last year.
Björn Elwin: Father of test rider Stefan Elwin (Chief HVA test department)
Roland  Söderqwist: A retired small Swedish mechanical firm owner.

 

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." 

Althought Husaberg was the name they finally registered it was not the first denomination. This was HMA ("as opposed to HVA with is Husqvarna" Ove remarks).

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

 

Husaberg engine inside a Husqvarna
The missing link: 
Husaberg engine in a Husqvarna.


Husaberg Prototipe: Click to enlange
This is the HMA "Proto" 
An elder grandma. Rider is Stefan Elvin. (Read text) Photo: Mats Burman

 

 

A 90 model. One of the first unit seen here in Spain.
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?)

 

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 camshaft). Let's say it was Urban Larsson (not Gustavsson as I previously said -sorry for that-) engine V. 1.5. 

On the first picture on the left (send by Ove) you can see a Husaberg engine inside a Husqvarna.

The red (yes RED!) bike on the left is a pre-production unit. Soon you will find more info about it so stay tuned. Click over the picture to see a Higher picture in it's original form since I made some lame retouching to match my background and overall desing.

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 this is Gustavsson's job). Also 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 as Those years are the introduction of these forks) and rear shock. Then, and surely because the "need" to make a Swedish bike was more important the final units were using Öhlins shocks. I got his info from a Spanish dirt bike but Ove told me Öhlins fork were tested and finally rejected due to cost consideration. 

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. (the "nude" beauty on the left is in fact a 90 Spanish market unit, one of the first over here).

EOF.


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Ove and his 89 Husaberg that still keeps in his garage.
Ove Ekengren in his 89 Husaberg
(Frame #11 )

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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