Spoiler – time for a bit of a rant on my part, so bear with me just a bit.
When did Husky become the beginning and end all of dirt bikes and why do so many people want to co-opt that legacy to their own benefit?
I sort of get it from the previous owner BMW perspective. They buy up the Husky name, but only have second tier product to sell, so they do this huge campaign of Husky legacy indoctrination as a sort of smoke and mirrors show. Remember all those never to be built design ideas that they pranced out? Some were so ridiculous as to be laughable. Yet the press jumped hook-line-sinker on the bait, while I got ridiculed for saying the emperor had no clothes.
So BMW and all their nonsense is gone. Husky is now owned by a proper dirt bike lot and there are some real dirt bikes on the showroom floor. The kind of bikes that can win a race anywhere, no excuses needed. But I can’t help but cringe when I see the same pattern of borrowing the Husky legacy by the new KTM group owners. This campaign didn’t work for BMW, so why is it so important to KTM? You don’t need it, it isn’t your history.
60 years of Husky history simply is what it is. If you know it great. If you don’t, I don’t think a school lesson is going to sell more motorcycles. Unless you are a vintage racer, few things in the world are so important to the here and now as a new, as yet unavailable, next year model, dirt bike. Like eastern European women, they typically don’t age well, so you are always on the look out for the next one.
If history is so important to motorcycle sales, how come there is not a vintage photo to be found anywhere in KTM’s own official propaganda? It is because you have Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen, the future of motorcycling, on hand to sell your brand.
Okay, end of rant, thanks for your indulgence. Time for a new subject.
As to the future of Husqvarna, I really could not venture a guess. Things are happening so fast at KTM, it would be impossible to judge. KTM street bike growth is about to skyrocket I feel. The Bajaj Indian bikes could blow the ceiling off of things. They are selling so fast and in such great numbers. As improbable as it sounds, Husky could be the real dirt bike group as KTM moves to the street. Where the US is the world’s leading dirt bike market, we are poor cousins when it comes to entry level street bikes.
“More than 30,000 of the 125/200/390 models have been sold in the past 12 months, which is a really impressive number of street motorcycles for the formerly dirt-oriented KTM. These contributed to a 28% increase in sales over the past six months (70,500 units), and June 2014 was the best month of sales in the company’s history. Streetbikes now account for 50% of KTM’s revenues.” (motorcycle.com)
Regardless of my misgivings about some of these things. There is a very nice piece on Bengt Åberg on the Husky Good Ol Times page. It is worth a read.