Beautiful and sleek are not adjectives used to describe Husqvarna’s SM series of motorcycles. Instead, try words such as rude, uncomfortable, and, more importantly, fun to ride. But what can one expect when a motorcycle manufacturer’s nickname is Husky? Husqvarna offered two SM models for sale in the United States in 2005: the SM 450 R and the SM 510 R, though 125 cc- and 610 cc-sized engines were available in other countries. The SM 450 R was introduced in 2003, while the SM 510 R is new for 2005. Both are supermotards. Perhaps more than other motorcycles, these bikes carry a rich international history. Husqvarna began manufacturing weapons back in the late 17th century in Husqvarna, Sweden. It manufactured its first motorized bicycle in the early 20th century. In 1987, it became part of the Italian Cargiva family, along with MV Augusta, a motorcycle powerhouse, with manufacturing moved to Varese, Italy. BMW, a German manufacturer of autos and motorcycles, acquired Husqvarna in 2007, with manufacturing remaining in Italy.
Husqvarna only makes off-road, Enduro, and motocross motorcycles – and it does this quite well. For decades the Husky name has peppered the list of racing championships in these categories. The SM 450 R captured the World Supermoto Championship in 2005. Husqvarna then produced the SM 450 RR, a limited edition (only 50 were made), in rider Eddy Seel’s honor. The basic differences between the two SMs are engine size and color: the 450 R is red/white, while the 510 R is yellow/blue. Riders say the seat is rock-hard and uncomfortable. On the other hand, they say these supermotards are such fun to ride, it makes the uncomfortable seat worthwhile. These motorcycles look good, with all motor parts visible. The SMs are not luxurious bikes by any means. The speedometer is tiny, and they have electric and kick starters, but no ignition key – meaning anyone could easily ride off on one. The 510 R is street legal and can hit speeds of up to 80 mph on freeways. The motorcycles come with a two-year warranty.