Husqvarna, an old and diverse manufacturing company in Sweden dating back to 1689 began to manufacture motorcycles in 1903. Their original logo, no longer used, illustrated a gun sight viewed from the end of the barrel. Husqvarna’s first product was firearms, muskets.
Though never distributed in the United States, the 1928 Model 180 Husqvarna we are featuring this week is an exceptionally well designed and detailed machine. Its features are on par with the V-Twin BSA Y13 from England and the J Model from Harley-Davidson, the Scout from Indian. Individual design elements make it a somewhat lighter weight machine, more in the European taste for the time. The tank is housed within top frame tubes as were American bikes of the era. Foot clutch and tank shift along with floorboards are conventional as well. The girder fork offers an interesting alternative springing design.
The year Husky got into motorcycle manufacturing in Sweden, 1903, was a big year for transportation breakthroughs in America. In 1903 William Harley and Arthur Davidson made their first running bike, the Wright brothers flew and Henry Ford made his first car, Indian was two years into production. Husky, as we now refer to it, has roots in arms manufacture much like BSA and Royal Enfield. Their first bike used a small “clip on” engine, but driven by the requirements of Swedish government contracts, Husky began to make its own engines in 1918. The first engine from their new factory was similar to the 550cc side-valve v-twin engine in this motorcycle.
Like most car and motorcycle manufacturers of the time Husky believed racing could help with advancing their engineering and had potential to provide positive publicity. Hiring some of the best riders available, the marque won Grand Prix road races in the 1930’s. But perhaps due to world economy at the time, that decade was the end of the four-stroke Huskies and the company then focused on the development of lightweight, utilitarian two-stroke motorcycles. These would later prove to be extremely successful in motocross and enduro competition, were instrumental in moving away from heavy four-stroke off-road motorcycle design.
The Husky brand has traded ownership a couple of times over the years and is currently one of KTM’s brands, based in Austria. When you visit this summer, before the National Motorcycle Museum closes permanently on September 4, you can take in this rare nearly 100 year old Husky and a couple of motocrossers as well.
- Engine: Side-Valve 50 Degree V -Twin
- Bore & Stroke: 65mm x 75mm
- Displacement: 550cc’s
- Lubrication: Dry Sump / Hand Pump
- Valve-Train: Exposed Lifters & Pushrods
- Carburetion: Amal
- Ignition: Bosch Magneto
- Starting: Kick Lever
- Horsepower: 15HP
- Transmission: Tank Shift 4-Speed
- Clutch: Dry, Foot Operation
- Primary: Chain Driven
- Final Drive: Chain w/ Lubricator
- Frame: Lugged / Steel Tubular
- Front Suspension: Dual Sprung Girder Fork
- Rear Suspension: Rigid w/ Sprung Seat
- Brakes: Band Type, Rear Only
- Wheels/Tires: 3.50 x 19 / 3.50 x 19
- Wheelbase: 59 Inches