The 2011 Husqvarna SM 449 and the 2011 Husqvarna SM 511 are Supermoto racebikes fitted with the necessary equipment to take them from the track onto the street. For the most part, the SM 449 is the same bike as the SM 511 but is powered by a 449.6-cc engine, has a lower seat height, and a shorter wheel base. Interestingly, the SM 511 houses a 477.5-cc engine, but what’s 33.5 cubic centimeters among friends? Both submodels are a carryover from 2010 but upgraded for 2011. Husqvarna (aka Husky) is a Swedish brand and began as a military arsenal founded to produce muskets for the Swedish army. The company began building motorcycles in 1903. Having won over 42 world titles in enduro and motocross events, its bikes are benchmarks for offroad cycles. The 2011 SM 449 and the 2011 SM 559 are produced at the MV Agusta factory in Varese, Italy. The Husqvarna is a hoot to ride. Supermoto bikes in general are every hooligan’s ride of choice. Not much will stand in the way of either SM cycle, except for long distance trips. While the seat provides great buttocks-mobility while throwing the bike from corner to corner, the long and narrow motocross saddle will hamper any trek requiring extended riding distances. That’s acceptable, as there are plenty of sweeping country lanes and tight canyon corners to ride on any given Sunday.
With sticky Pirelli racebike tires mounted on tricked-out rims, Husky SM bikes look the part of a Supermotard and easily accommodate some extreme cornering angles. Unfortunately, Husqvarna is currently being outpaced by its competition in terms of performance, innovation, and value. The one glimmer of innovation on 2011 SM bikes is a new Coaxial Traction System (CTS). While not as innovative as what Husaberg did to its FS 570 design, and actually borrowed (for the most part) from the BMW G450X, the new Husky traction system does promise some novel benefits.
The premise behind the change is weight or mass centralization. The idea is to keep the bike’s weight centralized as closely as possible to the centre of gravity, and along with Husqvarna’s re-designed chassis, the bike will better adapt to rider’s demands on the road and on the track. Husqvarna relocated the fuel tank to the bike’s center and placed the fuel cap at the back of the seat. This arrangement distributes weight better and allows the rider more room to move about.
The CTS design unites the rear wheel swingarm pivot point and the gearbox output shaft-sprocket. With the swingarm pivot and countershaft sprocket relocated on the same centerline, the rear suspension can move freely, unaffected by the final-drive chain’s pull. The entire CTS design eliminates chain length variation during rear suspension movement, thus minimizing the final drive’s effect on the bike’s handling. Just as important as the mass centralization effect is the fact that the new arrangement now accommodates a modern, dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) engine which is mounted closer to the center of gravity. The design also tilts the cylinder and allows a long and straight air-intake path which increases engine efficiency and energy output.