- Proven technology, attractive prices
- Wheels literally stick to the ground
- Sensitive and easily controllable brakes
- Motocross track, off-road hike, asphalt use
- SWM model range
- SWM Gran Milano 440
- SWM Silver Vase 440
- SWM RS 300/500 R
- SWM SM 650 R
- History of SWM
- Interview with Ampelio Macchi
- The new Husqvarna edition in price comparison
SWM SM 650 R model year 2016: 6,490 euros.
The SWM RS 650 Super Dual will be launched in June 2016.
The price for the SWM RS 650 Super Dual will be between 7,000 and 7,500 euros.
The RS 650 R serves as the basis, so the models are similar in terms of technical key data and engine.
Under the heading "Classics" runs among other things the Gran Milano 440. Price: 5,490 euros.
Another SWM Classic: The Silver Vase 440 for 4,990 euros.
The price for the SWM RS 300 R model year 2016: 5,990 euros.
SWM RS 650 R model year 2016: 6,490 euros.
SWM SM 500 R model year 2016: 6,290 euros.
SWM models 2016 in the driving report
Proven technology, attractive prices
After the brand was sold to KTM, the technology of the earlier Husqvarna off-roaders seemed to have finally died. But the huskies have resurrected: under the name SWM and financed from China.
E.It seemed as if someone had turned back the clock with a long lever. Ampelio Macchi, chief engineer at Husqvarna from 1987 to 2002, eyed the scenery cautiously, ex-Husky project manager Ennio Marchesin raved about the chances of the project, and the former Husqvarna importers in half of Europe were in a good mood about the old days – and a new brand that aims to bring them all back together: SWM.
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SWM models 2016 in the driving report
Proven technology, attractive prices
Low cost instead of high tech
But now the old huskies are suddenly celebrating resurrection. The former head of technology, Macchi, used money from Shineray, one of the largest Chinese motorcycle manufacturers, to buy the factory, which had been renovated and renovated by BMW, including the production facility and the rights to the construction plans (see interview). And now they are there, the new / old ex-huskies. Dejà vu bikes: technology, design, and even the typical red and white colors have been adopted.
Only the recipe for success was changed: low cost instead of high tech. The SWM troop calls for the reincarnated around 6500 euros, around 2500 euros less than the competition. The portfolio comprises two off-road model series: sport enduro bikes (SWM RS 300/500 R) and a hard enduro bike (SWM RS 650 R). There are also Supermoto offshoots. The third family branch, namely retro models, will be produced from November.
Wheels literally stick to the ground
Pictures: SWM models 2016 in the driving report
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SWM from their ancestors. Certainly not a bad basis. Husqvarna had used the 250 and 300 models at the World Cup level in 2013. The only change: The gasoline injection software is now supplied by the Italian off-road specialist Athena instead of Mikuni. The front and rear spring elements now come from the Japanese supplier Kayaba (previously: Sachs / Kayaba). Ultimately, the Chinese influence is only limited to the motor housing and gearbox, which – probably for cost reasons – come from Chinese production.
In this respect, the first seat test is not surprising either. Slim knee closure, flat bench, successful ergonomics. No difference to the ex-huskies. And the SWM RS 300 R that was driven during the presentation documents its genetic makeup with the unmistakable Husqvarna driving experience right from the first few meters. Because traction is what the Italian is still showing off. No matter how greasy the terrain, accelerate and the dohc engine pushes the load forward stoically. Supported by the soft suspension setting, the wheels literally stick to the ground.
Sensitive and easily controllable brakes
Especially in smooth bends, the front really bites into the ground, and the inside track can be precisely scratched with moderate physical effort. The fact that the attractive upside-down fork of the SWM RS 300 R still works with the cheaper open-cartridge technology doesn’t bother in the least when it comes to enduro use. The brakes (Brembo) are also sensitive and easy to adjust. However: The ex-Husky engine still cannot come up with the liveliness expected from a low-displacement engine. The short-stroke engine starts relatively slowly and vibrates noticeably at the upper speeds. Against the background of the increasingly lively competitor drives of late, the 300 has lost ground.
Nevertheless: The SWM RS 300 R does not have to be reduced to mere use in the amateur sector. The TE 310, as the SWM was still called as Husqvarna, proved this not only in the results lists, but also at the shop counter. Just two years ago it was the best-selling Husky sport enduro model – at a list price of 8,500 euros.
Motocross track, off-road hike, asphalt use
The SWM RS 650 R, which was last offered in 2012 under the name Husqvarna TE 630 for 6,900 euros, already retreated from the high-price front during the Husky era. It costs 6500 euros as an SWM. With the engine, which is already 20 years old in its basic features, the 600 cc single is one of the very few current concepts that continues the tradition of the high-displacement hard enduro bikes. And gives himself a soul through and through by this spirit. As always, the fine valve ticking from the dohc cylinder head accompanies the sonorous bass, the single cylinder starts already from low speeds without noticeable hacking, then turns freely up.
Because the universal concept allows a thoughtful ride on the motocross slope as well as an off-road hike or – appropriately modified – the sporty Eckenwetz on asphalt, it could probably guarantee the gray eminence a long life even under new management. That the young SWM initiative can basically hope for. Aside from top-class sport, the combination of proven technology and attractive prices is sure to arouse curiosity. Sometimes it may be enough to just turn the wheel back instead of reinventing it.
SWM model range
In China, Shineray is one of the big names in the motorcycle industry. In this country, the manufacturer has so far only appeared with a 125cc model, which, however, left a mixed impression in terms of quality in MOTORRAD tests. While the technology of the Enduro and Supermoto models of the new SWM machines comes largely from European and Japanese suppliers, the retro models are based on Chinese developments.
However, the classic line is also fully assembled from the parts delivered from China in the new SWM plant on Lake Vares. There, the 400 cc engines are bored out to 445 cubic capacity, the cylinder shape is adapted to the classic appearance, the oil circuit is revised and an injection is applied. Unmistakable: The design originated in Italy.
SWM Gran Milano 440
SWM Gran Milano 440.
With the SWM Gran Milano 440, SWM has put a no-frills cafe racer on spoked wheels. The four-valve single with an overhead camshaft develops 35 hp.
Price: 5490 euros
SWM Silver Vase 440
SWM Silver Vase 440.
The SWM Silver Vase 440 builds on the brand’s off-road history. As with the Gran Milano, the engine and chassis come from Shineray, the design from Italy.
Price: 4990 euros
SWM RS 300/500 R
SWM RS 300/500 R
The technology of the two sport enduro models SWM RS 300 R and SWM RS 500 R has been adopted from the Husqvarna predecessor models. The 500 is also available in a Supermoto version.
Prices: 5990/6090 euros
SWM SM 650 R
SWM SM 650 R
The SWM SM 650 R is the supermoto version of the Hardenduro RS 650 R. The lively, 57 hp 600 cm³ single is made for the road network.
Price: 6490 euros (Enduro and Supermoto)
History of SWM
SWM built off-road bikes for 13 years.
For the resurrection, the brand bought the former Husqvarna factory.
Sironi, Vergani, Vimercate, Moto – at the start of the first small series in 1971, the two company founders Piero Sironi and Fausto Vergani named their motorcycles after the initials of their last names and the location of the small factory SVVM near Milan. But because the bulky abbreviation did not want to be so smoothly over the lips of the fans at the first trade fair appearance, the off-road enthusiasts unceremoniously combined the middle initial and redefined the name: SWM – Speedy Working Motors.
Competitive enduros with Sachs engines initially formed the technical basis. One of the first supported drivers from SWM: the young Franco Acerbis, now a renowned producer of motorcycle plastic parts named after him. The early sporting successes boosted business. Mopeds and trial competition machines soon expanded the model range. The change from Sachs engines to Rotax drive units in 1977 brought the decisive upturn. With the modern rotary valve-controlled two-stroke engines from Austria, the Italians were supposed to set a sales record in the company’s history in the first year of the Austro-Italian cooperation. A total of 6,000 motorcycles were sold this year.
The new technology also had a positive effect on sport. Between 1978 and 1980 SWM won eight European Enduro titles, and in 1981 the overall victory in the World Trials Championship. A model policy frayed by choppers and mopeds, but above all the pressure of competition from Japanese manufacturers, quickly stopped the soaring. SWM had to cease operations as early as 1984.
Interview with Ampelio Macchi
Ampelio Macchi (58) worked as chief developer at Husqvarna from 1987 to 2002. Now the Italian is leading the rebirth of SWM based on Husqvarna technology
MOTORCYCLE: The news that the Chinese manufacturer Shineray is relaunching the SWM brand surprised the industry last autumn. How did this initiative come about??
Ampelio Macchi: Since I left Aprilia (note: Macchi was the technical director of the off-road product line at Aprilia’s parent company Piaggio until 2010), I have devoted myself to designing a small hybrid car. During a business trip to China, I met Daxing Gong, the president of Shineray. When Husqvarna was sold to KTM in early 2013 and production was relocated to Mattighofen, we saw great potential.
MOTORCYCLE: So you bought the Husqvarna production facilities from KTM with Shineray money?
Ampelio Macchi: It is exactly like that. We bought the company building in Biandronno, including the furnishings and the intellectual rights, i.e. the rights to the constructions. Shineray raised 90 percent of the sum, ten percent came from me.
MOTORCYCLE: Did the purchase also include the spare parts store or the remaining stock of Husqvarna machines?
Ampelio Macchi: No. The motorcycles that had already been built but were no longer sold were sold by KTM to the former German Husqvarna importer Zupin and have now largely been sold. The supply of spare parts is also handled by Zupin.
MOTORCYCLE: SWM was an Italian manufacturer that is only known to insiders. Why don’t you actually use the name Shineray??
Ampelio Macchi: Shineray is contributing the capital, but our headquarters are in Italy, the design is Italian, most of the technology comes from Italy and the people involved are Italian. So it is also logical that the brand name must have Italian roots. Plus, the name is clean. That is, he is not burdened with unsuccessful attempts at resuscitation.
MOTORCYCLE: What does the SWM company structure look like in concrete terms??
Ampelio Macchi: We have hired 60 people, almost all of them former Husqvarna employees. They are very familiar with the existing technical facilities, so that we can start series production eight months after the initial planning. This also applies to sales. For the most part, we work with former Husqvarna importers. In Germany, the Zupin company will carry out the import. These people have known Husqvarna technology for decades.
MOTORCYCLE: Which parts of the new SWM come from China??
Ampelio Macchi: For the Enduros and Supermoto, only the motor housing and gearbox are manufactured in China. As already mentioned, 90 percent of the parts come from Italy or from renowned international suppliers.
MOTORCYCLE: And with the retro models?
Ampelio Macchi: The majority of their parts come from Shineray. But we increase the displacement from 400 to 445 cm³, revise the oil supply, apply an injection and determine the design. We also assemble the motorcycles in Italy.
MOTORCYCLE: Back to the enduros. You are offering motorcycles that cost just under 9,000 euros three years ago, now for 6,000 euros. Is that still profitable?
Ampelio Macchi: We only had low development costs and can manage with few staff. For comparison: when BMW was still owned by Husqvarna, 340 people worked there. Our margin is not large, but we can survive with this calculation and can also finance future developments.
MOTORCYCLE: What is specifically planned?
Ampelio Macchi: We will already be presenting a new 125cc machine and a 250cc and 340cc competition enduro at the Milan trade fair in November. In the medium term, we will not be satisfied with single-cylinder engines; we are also planning two-cylinder engines. Talks with Rotax are already ongoing.
MOTORCYCLE: We can already see tendencies as to how retailers will react to the SWM launch?
Ampelio Macchi: The reactions are very positive. There seems to be a great need for inexpensive yet well-engineered motorcycles. We will be building 1500 enduros and supermotos from July. The retro bikes will be launched from November. We have already received 2000 orders for this.
The new Husqvarna edition in price comparison
Used SWM motorcycles in Germany
Old Husqvarna enthusiasts or those just interested should take a look at the used motorcycle market. There are SWM motorcycles in good condition and at a reasonable price. However, the offer is very limited, so get hold of it as soon as possible: Used SWM motorcycles in Germany
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