Now this is a Husqvarna

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If Husqvarna is going to be BMW’s youth brand, it needs street products that are more than me-too KTM wannabes. Products like this Husqvarna Moab concept. With mechanical configuration and purpose loosely based around the idea of an updated ‘60s or ‘70s desert sled, the styling manages to reference motorcycling’s golden age without shamelessly copying bikes of old. Equipped with a 650cc single and wide, semi-knobby tires, it should go a long way to capturing those old bikes’ broad capabilities too.

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Here’s the thing with straight-up retros: combining modern powertrains with classic looks is a great way to get the style with none of the headache, but something typically goes missing in the process. A modern Bonneville, for instance, will never have half the character of the original and, saddled with skinny tires and mechanicals chosen for their looks, it’ll never have half the performance of a modern bike either. By referencing history rather than shamelessly repeating it, Husqvarna frees itself of those burdens, enabling the creation of any bike it wishes.

And this Moab concept does reference classic bikes, specifically the H400 that some dude named Harvey Mushman used to race. But, despite the low-hanging-fruit nature of that choice, Husqvarna has successfully translated classic colors and conventions into something distinctly contemporary. This LED headlight/numberboard is fucking wonderful, for instance.

Of the design, Husqvarna states, “The lines are fluid but combine to create a decisive form. The
shape of the tank blends with the seat and rear section, creating a fluidity and immediately
distinctive style. This design feature follows the lead of the latest generation of Husqvarna models, such as the concave shape of the front and rear mudguards, and the front number holder. Tradition and high-tech innovation are successfully blended in the details of the new Concept MOAB: the digital instrument panel that is situated in the upper crossbar or the LEDs on the front number holder and the tail-light. The colour scheme, down to every last detail, both in bodywork and mechanics, is taken from Steve McQueen’s immortal H400. The unique form and colours give the MOAB an exhilaratingly vintage look.”

The result is a bike with broad purpose. Equally at home parked outside a bar, on the commute or exploring fire roads. In short, what most motorcycles used to be before they got all hyper-specialized.

Big, comfy seat; big, white plastics; bright colors. This is how you reference and translate retro into something appealing and contemporary and unique.

“The riding position is comfortable and commanding, with high and wide handlebars, a bulky tank that the legs can hug with ease and the long seat that allows freedom of movement. The end result is a cool bike, ideal for use both in the city and on dirt tracks, which is easy to ride
and handle, even for female biking fans.”

While that’s a bit awkwardly phrased, the sentiment has a lot of merit. This is exactly the translation of classic attributes into modern forms and an accessible package that can really sell the romance of riding to a new generation of rider. Put this into production, give it an accessible price (hopefully the 650GS engine is an indicator of that), give it some actual marketing (for god’s sake, please, someone at BMW look up marketing in the Yellow Pages and call a professional) and it’ll sell like those proverbial hot cakes.

  • http://www.twowheelsplus.com/ Anders

    Wow. So much cooler than the Nuda. The only thing I dislike with this is that the tank and exhaust make it look too heavy. Husqvarna’s should look light and agile.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I thought the same thing initially, then I figured scale into it. Look at the engine for reference, this is a small, low motorcycle.

      • http://www.twowheelsplus.com/ Anders

        Yeah, it does looks small. I’d seriously consider this..

        • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

          Look at the worktable in photo 6. The tabletop is exactly flat as seen from the camera, which means the height of the camera is the same as the height of the table, and therefore, an imaginary line drawn from the camera to the table would be perfectly horizontal. Then note that the seat of the vintage motorcycle is on this imaginary line. Therefore, the motorcycle seat is as tall as the worktable. Now compare the inseam of the man to the table.

          If the concept is the same size of the vintage, they are both very low.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      The tank and rear fairing look like they were squeezed out of a Play-Doh playset.

  • szu

    This thing looks ubercool. Like Yamaha MT-03 on steroids.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cheese302 Cheese302

      for this reason, if it were in the states, i would seriously look into it.

      • ursus

        Yes. This is fantastic design and I want one. Did you catch the use of Husqvarna symbol for sidestand footplate?

  • oldblue

    Like very much indeedy!

  • Dani Peral

    I really like that number holder/led light.

    Also, the bike looks quite production-ready, doesnt it? I wonder if it they will make it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cheese302 Cheese302

      taking another look, i agree. this does look pretty ready to go.

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    Thats awesome!

    • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

      that trailer teaser whatever is terrrrible though – plus i have to plus one the notion that the exhaust sucks.

  • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

    Looks a whole lot like the BMW X-Country. That’s a good thing. That was a great bike that never took off. Maybe a more blatant retro treatment is the thing it needed.

  • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

    Oh, hello there beautiful.

  • JC

    So sick! Looks like some hooligan fun on the street and sideways dirt riding goodness

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      Seriously, that thing looks more fun than a clown on fire.

      • ike6116

        You sure can turn a phrase mark, I fuckin like it.

  • Patrick from Astoria

    The LED arrangement and origami front fender are both too cute by half, but fair enough on a showbike. Otherwise it completely rocks. Also would make a great thumper standard after different tires and…well, not much – which is part of the appeal.

  • John

    If they put it into production, I would buy one.

    • Restless Lip Syndrome

      Me too.

      • The other Joe

        If they put it into production, and I had any money, I would buy one.

        I’d love to blast some dirt roads on that thing. It’s exactly the sort of thing i’ve been trying to create with my KLX650R.

  • Filipe

    omg. my new dream bike, without a doubt.

  • jonoabq

    funky, but in a good way. this is one bike I’d really like to see in 3d and throw a leg over.

  • Tommy

    Yes, now here is a modern bike that I wont have to be ashamed of riding up to a pack of hipster girls in echo park on.

    Love it.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      How’s that Versys with the laydeez?

      • Tommy

        Haha. Some bike is better than no bike. They don’t get picky when you offer a ride. I’m doin alright. Atleast it’s more comfortable for them than the fzr.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheese302 Cheese302

    i would really enjoy taking this for a spin. I have been looking at some type of dual purpose/enduro/supermoto/street bike that would be fun and different. this is what i think a company even maybe harley could use to get some fresh riders into the world. This bike reminds me of the MT-03, and the BMW BCC concept from 08. What will it cost?

  • tomwito

    Chock full of speed holes. It’s pretty damn cool though.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      LOL!

  • pplassm

    Very nice. Hopefully it’ll make it to market.

  • parkwood60

    I like it. I don’t understand why on a bike with off road pretensions you would leave a big gap for mud and dirt between the rear fender and the number plate though. Mine would have most of that number plate cut off and a universal number plate fitted between whats left and the frame, maybe even an oval one like the original bike.

    Unless I’m wrong, isn’t that gap on other dirt bike something the FMX guys just have as a hand hold for pulling tricks?

  • Jon B.

    Build it, build it, build it and then ship it to America. Please.

  • DAVID

    “A modern Bonneville, for instance, will never have half the character of the original”.

    if by character you mean problems.
    A modern triumph will always start, won’t leak, won’t short out in the rain.

    But that husky is a nice looking bike.

    • Devin

      First thing my old man asked me when I showed him my Bonnie was if they still used Lucas electricals.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Sure, but I like my motorcycles to be more than sewing machines.

      • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

        Very much a sewing machine with the stock pipes. Put a quality exhaust on along with a few other basic mods, and you have a bike you can have fun on.

  • Ben

    PLEASE build this and sell it in the U.S. I’ll buy two!

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    drooooool…
    wow, that is a rad looking bike.

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    Fantastic evolution of the H400 into the modern world. My former employer had an H400 in the lobby and I’d pass by that thing several times a day, always craning my neck to get as long a look as I could. It’s a great source from a great era. They’ve managed to update it very successfully here which is impressive given the larger, water-cooled engine and mono shock. Best of all they’ve proportioned its elements very well, keeping the character of the original. Surely there is no need for the number plates on this bike so, while true to the original, it rings a bit falsely on this version and I have no idea how much pre-mix got into their coffee cups when they designed the front fender. But those are very minor points in the grand scheme. I give it 95/100. I want one. Badly.

  • Beale

    Jeez, BMW feels it needs to infect Husky with their stupid obsession with asymmetric headlights as well?

  • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

    Overall a great idea and well executed.
    I grew up reading the race reports in the back of Hot Rod, Cycle and various other magazines about the Baja 500 races run in the late 60′s/early 70′s and the desert sled is a great do ‘most of it’ all bike in my mind. I prefer the rounder tank of the older bike in the background and could see a less angular tank on the bike along with removing the forward slope of the otherwise flat seat (to make a more Bonnie/UJM style level seat) the only changes needed for me to go down to the bank and withdraw some cashola.
    From the front the radiator just looks too wide for such a small tank and I personally have never liked all of the angular parts on naked bikes when the round gas tank is what people imagine when they think of motorcycle gas tanks.
    I’d like to see the ergos on it too. 6’3″ with long legs scream for a bike of that style but if it is set up with my knees folded in half or my balls crushed up against the tank than I’ll have to stick with my late 80′s/early 90′s bikes.
    Go for it Husky.

    And are those Pirelli rain tires or Sumo tires or…….?

  • Denzel

    Attn Husqvarna! If you’re reading this… green light this thing.

  • Thom

    THIS

    Looks like a potential winner

    So make the damn thing Husky , sell it at a reasonable and affordable price and get on with it

    Hell , I know of more than a few ‘ Old Guys ‘ that’d buy one , never mind the youth crowd .

    • Joel

      Yeah, actually looks like fun. Reminds me of my Honda XL-80, except grown up.

      • The other Joe

        Not familiar with the 80, my first bike was a Honda XL75

  • Coreyvwc

    A set of wide knobbies does amazing things to a motorcycles personality. Upon further examination, it’s really the only thing I like about it. Implied fun.

    • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

      Dunlop D616′s my friend, check em out. Makes my Zephyr 1100 look like a dirt tracker, has the same compound as sticky Dunlops, gets 6000+ miles from the rear easily and is by far the best rain tire I’ve ever used. Rooster tails down the expressways. Only available in 17″ 120/180/190 sizes though.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Dear Husqvarna,

    Please build this motorcycle so that I can buy it. Yeah I know you will have to put an awful taillight assembly and reflectors and other bullshit on it but that’s cool. I will put all that junk straight in the trash where it belongs. Probably I’ll do it at the same time I put the Akra pipe on, give baby a chance to breathe.

    If it’s all the same to you I’d prefer a single high-intensity headlamp instead of the extruded LEDs, but whatever. As long as you keep the number plate I’m happy to give you my money. Knowing you it’ll be be quite a lot for a 650cc bike but it’s worth it. So, so worth it.

    Please build it. xox -c-

  • daniel

    This Rotax motor has been floating around in BMW bikes since 2001 and that is a good thing. I put 20,000 miles on mine and only changed the oil/filter, checked the valves, never adjusted those valves, and never added oil! It was bulletproof and never skipped a beat during a 5 month diet of Mexican/Central America gas. Its only down fall was that it was a bore after the big trip. If Husqvarna tarts this motor up it will be a great bike.

    For reference the G650GS has a MSRP of $7,850.00 (same motor).

    A Triumph Scrambler (equally as anemic as the G650GS) retails for $8,799.00.

    If they come between those numbers, I will be making room in the garage.

  • Thom

    Watching the video for the second time : everything about this M/C is saying ;

    ” Sit yer ass in the saddle .. to hell with what the roads and the weather are like and ……. RIDE damn it , RIDE ! ”

    Have to say its been a very long time since anything but some of the customs of late have spoken to me like this one does .

    So again Husky

    BUILD THIS !

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Holy shit, even Thom likes it. BMW, are you listening?

    • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

      Thom, agree 100%. Like i posted earlier, in my mind it is a modern single cyl. UJM and should be built. Shame the US $ sucks ass because they would be a $5000 bike all day if our money was actually worth something outside of the States still. But even for $7000-$7500 it is would be a great buy.

  • Noah

    Beautiful. This would make a darn fine city commuter.

  • paul

    Beautiful design, I really hope it makes it into production without changing too much from this concept.

  • Thom

    47 comments

    Of those , from old and young guys both , myself ( old guy ) included ;

    41 of them positive and ‘Build It ‘

    Question is ;

    Is anyone from Husqvarna looking in ?

    If not , they should be .

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      And one more.
      This thing is quite something, they have to do it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheese302 Cheese302

    anyone on here work for bmw motorrad?

    • Patrick

      apparently everyone considering the positive comments.

  • John2

    So what became of the Derbi 659 Mulhacen…?
    http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2011/03/derbi-leaving-spain/
    They have some very similar charms.

  • ike6116

    Can we all murder the first person who says “This looks awesome, can’t wait to buy it used in x years”

    Please?

    Also the list of things BMW does wrong is mighty short by my estimation.

    • http://www.mcfw.com/ quint7

      I would say that the number of wrongs by BMW totals 40218. That is how many “C” models they built according to Wikipedia. Their attempt at building “cruisers” was painful. Think James Bond bike. BARF. (but other than that you’re right)

      • Thom

        Errr nope !

        You’re wrong on the Cruiser ! R1200C

        Owned one . Loved it . Best riding Cruiser I’ve ever sat my ass down on . Did everything right . Comfortable as all get out .

        Why’d I buy it ? Cause it was the only Cruiser that after the dealer did a couple of minor fitting adjustments for the test ride my Bum said ” I could sit here quite nicely for 600 miles a day or so ”

        So forget the Bond references and have a go on one yourself . The R1200C is what all Cruisers SHOULD be but are not. BMW ought to bring that one back into the lineup

    • nick2ny

      I’d like to buy an old Husky today. How’s that, weirdo?

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    I would somehow find a way to buy this bike brand new.

  • Campisi

    “On any Sunday, stretchin’ up, reachin’ high…”

  • filly-fuzz

    Mother Of All Bikes?

  • Ryan

    Beautiful. I even like the LED headlight.

  • Chuck

    I’d have one.

  • goodcat8

    If this bike had a vagina I’d put my penis in it.

    Respectfully of course.

  • John Meredith

    I’ll buy it the day it arrives at the dealership if it’s got ABS and hits the pricepoint of the g650gs.

  • fazer6

    I’ll buy it the day it arrives at the dealership if it’s got ABS and hits the pricepoint of the g650gs.

  • Cristobal Roig

    Is it out yet?