Husqvarna‘s Crossover Supermoto-Scrambler SMQ

[this site in German]

In Husqvarna's ‘Centro Stile’ was developed in cooperation with BMW plant manager Rainer Thoma a new type of motorcycle. Under the direction of designer Raffaele Zaccagnini Husqvara created a bike named SMQ.

Since 2013 when the old Husqvarna facilities have been sold to Pierer Group (KTM) the old workforce around Ampelio Macchi have founded SWM. Raffaele is now working there: at the same design office.

This bike looks like a new generation of bikes. It highly polarized, but above all intended to provide driving pleasure for everyone. An extravagant wind shield, an inflated exhaust, a slim tank-seat- line, this is the SMQ. A bike that is light and airy, which makes no ambitions to load luggage, but has a slender tail. If you want to see retro elements: the SMQ most remind to a scrambler of the 1950s and 60s. Just 140 kg is her weight. The SMQ is rolling on wide tires, and is fired by the strong 450 cc single cylinder engine from the BMW G 450 X. For Husqvarna recalls that the SMQ is merely a concept to explore how motorcyclists react to something unusual. 

Interview with the ‘Centro Stile’ from Husqvarna: Raffaele Zaccagnini

files/picts/06_reportage/Husqvarna_SMQ/Raffaele Zaccagnini-2.jpg
Date: June 9, 1968
Nationality: Italian
2000 > Husqvarna 570 NOX
2004 > Aprilia 450/550 V Motor und Modelle SXV / RXV / MXV

What ideas do you want to realize with the SMQ?
RZ: Basic idea was to give birth to a complete new kind of motorcycle. Quite a break from any other model in actual Husqvarna’s range for sure. Clear and crisp architecture together with rigorous design were tell-tale of Husqvarna’s lineage, whereas a well balanced mix of vintage flavor and modern but unusual technology praised the model with, let me say, a Vintech look. Character had to be naughty too.

MR: What are the key messages of the SMQ-concept?
RZ: Husqvarna is a cool brand, Husqvarna is an astounding brand, Husqvarna is a nonconformist brand, Husqvarna is a bold brand. These were the key messages.

MR: Will the SMQ still become a production-ready bike?
RZ: SMQ has got a strong response and opposing opinions from the public. Although it’s a concept, many many people still today are curious and talk on it, fifteen months far from its presentation, was EICMA 2008. Even people seem to grow up interest on SMQ. We are still investigating on its future. For us it’s an ideas workshop which customers will get on next two years new models.

MR: What roles plays the design-line and the color (painting) concept in your studies?
RZ: Husqvarna has a strong vision of own design identity and it keeps that following some easy and clear rules that we call Stilemi. It doesn’t mean we have always to work on the some shapes and architecture. This means instead that we must invent new shapes, new solutions and always concerning on new ideas but in a consistent way to our design history. I believe that design consistency is the winning choice for every brand especially for Husqvarna as it has a so prestigious background. Graphics, trim and colors are quite important too. Bodywork and graphic red/white/black layout well conveys to customers and fans the Husqvarna’s racing soul as they quickly recognise our bikes from the competitors. They really feel themselves part of our brand.

MR: In which cases do you see the purpose of a motorcycle like the SMQ? Is it a pure fun-bike, a supermoto or a motorcycle, with which we can drive to work, in the city or even go on trips? Would you create new motorcycle species?
RZ: Concept first hand was to get an Urban Commuter. This is the SMQ main purpose. Simply to be lighter, more agile and more of 360° bike than the current 450cc single on the market. Exciting and easy to ride, with great handling and excellent manoeuvrability, incredibly light and fun. Everyone will enjoy riding the SMQ, thanks to its low seat, tight body and power-to-weight ratio.”

MR: In which way Husqvarna analyzes responses to their concept studies?
RZ: Mainly we get information from focus groups, forum groups on the net, dealers and importers, visitors and our customers during the main exhibitions.

MR: Which cases are having influence on you while creating a new Design-/Concept- studies?
RZ: Really several issues about that! As examples, in order to build something that doesn’t look like as standard or previously known motorcycles. The need to explore new solutions or to understand and to anticipate the market demands too. Finding new ways to share and to improve riding passion we have. Or simply in order to invent the bike that still doesn’t exist! Keeping always in mind that functionality is a must because Husqvarna’s motorcycles have to be winning racing machine before all. In any case one “think tank” of mine and of my team is that Husqvarna’s bikes have to look like no other one, of course!

MR: How often Husqvarna builds such prototypes?
RZ: Research is always running!! Show motorcycles and advanced prototypes allow us to try out forefront solutions without any links to production requirements. Every year we work on one concept bike at least, what fun!!!

MR: Thank you very much Raffaele.