The motorbike is moving towards essentiality in the pursuit of its historic essence. Among the most striking examples are the Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen/Svartpilen studies prepared in cooperation with Kiska Design. Two proposals for a road and an off-road bike earmarked for production which point to the future of the Swedish brand: more than one hundred years of history and a role of outstanding importance in sporty off-road biking; in 2013 it took the name Husqvarna Motorcycles GmbH, setting itself alongside KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH within KTM Motorrad AG.

“We are working to reposition the Husqvarna brand”, explains Sebastien Stassin, head of transportation design and Chief Creative Officer of Kiska Design, a firm that has worked with KTM for years. “As early as the 701 concept now in production, we defined the philosophy of tradition and the forms which combine ergonomics and function. From this point of view I should like to stress that for us the term “tradition” does not mean styling retro, but respect for certain values”.

Among these values we find the quest for innovation that has enabled Husqvarna to achieve outstanding results. In the case in point the 401 Vitpilen and Svarpilen studies (“white arrow” and “black arrow”) can be viewed as the current reinterpretation of the lean Silverpilen (“ silver arrow”) of the ‘Fifties.

Numerous sketches were done as well as a series of full scale models which spawned the two prototypes. Complex but fascinating work helped by the fact that Kisko Design carries out all the stages of stylistic definition in house, as well as overseeing product development and communication strategies.

“We respected brand dynamics”, Stassin explains, “adding a touch of aggressivity with the taut lines, angles and proportions. The emotional appearance and the ergonomics themselves were achieved without adding anything, indeed we eliminated everything that appeared superfluous and rejected artificial solutions. For example, the circular headlight is a tribute to the formal immediacy of an object that was born like that”.

The result is two proposals abounding in personality, in contrast with the traditional off-road racing positioning of the company, extreme but attentive minimalism where the motorbike is once again an all-round object that doesn’t create any particular problems.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 210