Husqvarna has always had that elusive cool factor. Bikes sporting the classic “gun sight” logo have traditionally been fast and good-looking—just like famous owner Steve McQueen, whose weapon of choice in the 1970s was a Husky 400.
Today, that cool factor has just ramped up a couple of notches. Husqvarna has thrown the wraps off two stunning new ‘401’ concepts at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. Created by the industrial design company Kiska, they’re designed to gauge public reaction before possible production.
There are two machines: the Vit Pilen (“White Arrow” in Swedish) and the Svart Pilen (Black Arrow). They take their inspiration from the famed Silver Pilen of 1955—a machine that was lighter, smaller and faster than its competitors.
The 401 concepts are anything but antiquated, though. They’re sporting upside-down WP forks, lightweight trellis frames, and 17-inch wheels with modern rubber. Power comes from a state-of-the-art 400cc water-cooled single. Output is 43hp and the bikes weigh a mere 135 kg (297 pounds).
Kiska’s senior designer Björn Shuster explains the thinking: “The 401s are not recollections of the past. They’re about purity, simplicity of form, and economy of line. Those are the fundamentals of the Husqvarna design language. It doesn’t matter if it was 60 years ago or now, the same mentality remains.”
“A lot of modern machinery has become so hyper-focused, it’s difficult for the customer to inject his or her own style into the bike. So we wanted to create a platform that offers more freedom,” says Björn.
“Maybe you want to run tall bars and a high pipe for some fire-road fun. Or install clip-ons, for more weight over the front end at your next track day. Or perhaps you just prefer one stance to another. It’s up to you.”