What will nostalgia-addled trendsetters of the future ride? They might throw a Levi's 511 Slim Fit Commuter over this: a stripped-down Husky with so much Swedish minimalism it should come with an Allen wrench.
This year, at the famed EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Husqvarna unveiled two shockingly futuristic concepts that distill the coolness of dirtbike riding onto the street, bring McQueen's own brand into the 21st century, and might even go into production. That is, if you're just as impressed as we are.
The Husqvarna 401 concepts are a nod towards customization and dirt-scrambler cool -- two things that motorcycle manufacturers (like Ducati) know will get trendy young people riding. And, rightfully so. There's the Vit Pilen, which means "White Arrow" in Swedish, and the Svart Pilen, the "Black Arrow." Both are veiled references to the 1955 Silver Pilen, a bike that drove young dudes in Sweden crazy.
Shine a light.PHOTO BY HUSQVARNA
Our friends at BikeEXIF note that the 401 concepts are "anything but antiquated. They’re sporting upside-down WP forks, lightweight trellis frames, and 17-inch wheels with modern rubber." The 400cc thumper engine is water-cooled and churns out 43 horsepower. On a bike that weighs less than 300 pounds (approximately the same power-to-weight ratio as, say, a Moto Guzzi V7) it'll be just the right amount of fun -- without sucking any eyeballs through the back of one's head.
That's the same sentiment proposed by Björn Shuster of Kiska, the design firm which penned these bikes.
"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," he said. "The 401s are not recollections of the past. They’re about purity, simplicity of form, and economy of line. It doesn’t matter if it was 60 years ago or now, the same mentality remains."
If enough motorcyclists swoon, Husqvarna might just build 'em. And why not? More variety in the motorcycle world is never unwelcome. The trend towards smaller, lighter bikes doesn't mean the style is gone -- in fact, it just means there's more of it. Sure, trendsetters and hipsters are easy targets for this sort of thing, but Shuster is right: some ideas never change.
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