Husqvarna Moab | First Look

A digital remix of the bike that made Sweden famous

By Tim Carrithers | Photography by Husqvarna

If James Cameron ever gets around to a digital homage to On Any Sunday, the avatars standing in for Malcolm Smith and Steve McQueen will ride the spiritual successor to Husqvarna's 1970 400 Cross: the Moab. While a plastic facsimile of the 400's flaming-red aluminum gas tank and faux yellow numberplates invoke various amounts of old-school lust, all similarities to the original end there.

It's a design exercise, boys and girls, designed to give the new BMW-owned Husqvarna enough '70s Swedish charisma to trigger the check-writing reflex in riders of a certain vintage. Underneath all that carefully calculated nouveaux nostalgia, the Moab is a thoroughly modern motorcycle. It's a dual-sport that doesn't look like one, thanks to an unobtrusive instrument pod on the handlebar cross-brace, an LED headlight array integrated into the front numberplate and an LED taillight tucked into the back of the seat.

There’s a ubiquitous-looking liquid-cooled four-stroke single standing in for the original 395cc two-stroke. Wrapped in a silver perimeter frame suspended by an inverted fork and single shock, it rolls on 17-inch wire-spoke wheels shod with Pirelli MT60 quasi-knobbies. Husqvarna calls it a “Scrambler”—apparently stripped to its skivvies, but still better suited to city streets and manicured dirt roads than a motocross track.

When or if the Moab will be produced for public consumption remains to be seen at this point, but one thing is clear: This latest generation of designers hasn’t forgotten the motorcycle that made Husqvarna famous, which means they’re on the right track.