Swedish Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Hagglunds Military Motorcycles

Manufactured: 1972-1979 by Hägglunds Vehicle AB

Before the fall of communism and the USSR (and long before the rise of Putin) the Swedes had compulsory national service, part of which entailed motorcycle training. It is no accident that so many of the world's top MX riders of the period came from that country - everyone learned to ride off-road motorcycles.

Hagglunds was a major supplier of military equipment to the Swedish armed forces, so in 1971 when the army extended a contract out for supply of a new military motorcycle, Hagglunds was in like Flynn.

In 1972 they presented the XM 72, a highly innovative motorcycle with a single-sided front fork (al la Imme), monocoque frame encompassing the fuel tank, composite pressed-metal wheels, automatic transmission, cardan final drive, and powered by a Sachs 293cc engine.

The machines's CVT (Hagglund/DAF) gearbox is fitted to many of today's scooters, as is the single-sided front suspension. The XM72 had monoshock suspension in the days of almost universal twin-shocks, and it had disc brakes. The single-side swingarm was introduced to BMW's R80GS almost a decade later.

Handling of these early models was reportedly less than optimum - "bizzare" is one of the printable words used by those who rode them.

The second model, the XM74, was developed with the aid of MX world champion Bill Nilson. Powered by a 347cc two-stroke Rotax, it is believed 40 of these were built using more conventional Ceriani forks along with Koni rear suspension units. A few civilian examples were also produced.

A ski-equipped variant was also presented.

In 1975 the Swedish military placed an order with Hagglunds but it seems they had bitten off a bit more than they could chew, and in 1976 the contract was handed to Husqvarna. That machine was the basis of the 1980 Husqvarna 258 Automatic.


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