You probably haven’t heard of SWM Motorcycles, the off-road brand that carries on where Husqvarna left off in Italy.
Built from the parts that KTM didn’t want when it bought the Swedish brand in 2013, SWM Motorcycles is based outside of Milan, Italy and produces a variety of off-road focused machines using pre-BMW Husqvarna engine designs.
Many members of the company’s team are former Husqvarna employees, including the company’s CEO, Ampelio Macchi – all of whom were left out in the cold when the German brand sold Husqvarna to KTM.
But, with a new production facility, support from the local government and worker unions, along with Chinese financing (from the Shineray Group), SWM Motorcycles has taken on a new life with a promising future.
With 10 models listed on its website, and more planned, this tiny Italian marque is starting to punch above its weight class. As such, SWM Motorcycles is on-track to sell 6,000 units in the 2017 model year.
Most of those machines will be from SWM’s 300cc and 600cc enduro lineup, though the 501cc supermoto certainly has our interest piqued – it helps that it looks suspiciously like a Husqvarna SMR 510 supermoto.
With 60 employees located just a stone’s throw away from the MV Agusta plant in Varese, SWM keeps costs down by sourcing non-critical parts from China, while the design is done in Italy.
All of the off-road motors are made in Italy too, though that might change as new models come to market that don’t continue to use Husqvarna designs. SWM’s classic line is the first to use these Chinese-made power plants.
Helping SWM Motorcycles reach the 6,000 unit mark will hopefully be the US market, as distribution has been setup in the United States, and the bikes are jumping through the necessary hurdles to be sold in the USA.
Priced to sit somewhere between the other European brand and the Japanese brands, SWM could be the answer to an affordable and back-t0-basics motorcycle that enthusiasts have been clamoring for in the market.
It will be interesting to see how SWM continues to grow, and make moves here in the United States.