Husqvarna Silverarrow

In 1953 Husqvarna presented a new 175cc motorcycle that they called "Drömbåge" (Dreambow) or "model 281". The later was used in Husqvarnas brochures. The engine was completely new designed by engineer Olof Edlund and had three gears and the capacity of 9 h.p. (Horsepower) at 6000 r.p.m. The complete bike had a weight of 115kg and didn’t become the success that Husqvarna hoped it would be.

At this time in Sweden there was an age limit on 18years for driving a bike that was over 75kg. So a slow 175cc two stroke wasn’t the choice, it was the heavier English four strokes like Triumph, Matchless BSA and Norton. But the bike was much better to ride in Enduro-races. The first competition that the Husqvarna factory officially participated in was in the "Swedish motor 6-days". A total of 9 bikes stood at the starting line, and the results were fantastic. 7 of the bikes won gold medals and 2 won silver.

In the same year riders entered the ISDT and this time they came home with 6 gold-, 1 silver- and 2 bronze-medals.

Yet another model of the "Dreambow" was presented and this one was called "Model 218 sport". This one had a long saddle and double exhaust pipes, to make the bike a bit more attractive for the younger riders.

The factory riders only used the new bike until 1957.

In 1954 the Husqvarna factory started a new project that they gave the working name "Silverpilen" (Silverarrow). The engine was a further development on the "Dreambow" engine, and yet again it was Olof Edlund that designed it.

Now the bike was going to be under 75kg in total (with oil, petrol and tools). The engine got a cylinder in aluminium with a hard chromed cylinderliner (like the nicasil cylinder you can see today). The base bearing were made more powerful with double row bearings than the "Dreambow" who only got one.

In the autumn of 1954, Morgan Hjalmarsson got the honour, to test-drive the first Silverarrow. This was made with great success. All the following test-drives were then made with the same satisfaction, and the top direction said they should continue their work.

In 1955, Husqvarna Silverarrow entered the Swedish market and became very popular among the young drivers (16yrs) who got the drivers licence for this type of bike.

Even though the suspension wasn’t that advanced, the Silverarrow also became popular within moto-cross circles. With its low weight, it didn’t matter that you only got 9 h.p.

But efforts were made to make the engine bigger. In 1956, Göte Lindström tried to get 236cc out of it, but get problems with the heat.

In the autumn of 1956, Rolf Tibblin was one of the junior competitors in the enduro race "Novemberkåsan" (one of the toughest enduro races in the world). And on a standard Silverarrow he got third place, he bought the bike privately and wasn’t a factory rider at Husqvarna at this time. Bror Jaurén, who was in charge of the competition division on Husqvarna, had full control over the youngsters that was out racing with success on their Silverarrows.

At the Monark factory in Varberg, glances were thrown at their biggest competitor, the Husqvarna factory. It ended with Monark producing a similar bike to the Silverarrow. In 1957 they launched the Blue Stinget, which was a 200cc lightweight bike with a German Ardie engine with four gears.

Rolf Tibblin was competing in lightweight class with a Blue Stinget from Monark and won his class. After becoming first, Rolf Tibblin was offered a contract with the Husqvarna factory and became one of their factory riders in 1957.

Bror Jaurén contacted dipl. engineer H Müller in Germany, who had an engineer bureau in Andernach. Mr Müller was asked to develop a high capacity cylinder to the Silverarrow. The cylinder had 200cc or bore Ø 64mm that together with the standard piston stroke 61,5mm gives 198cc.

About 50 cylinders was made at the Karl Schmit GmbH (KS) in Neckarsulm, West Germany (since 1984 Kolben Schmit AG). This was the same factory that made the original cylinders, cylinderhead and hubs for the Silverarrow.

The Husqvarna factory had now three official factory riders on their 200cc Müller-Husqvarna bikes. It was Lennart Dahlén, Rolf Tibblin and Stig Rickardsson.

They saved the original frame but changed the front and the rearend. In front they tried different Earls-forks and in the rear they built a new rearframe with a horizontal Girling shocks.

In 1958 Husqvarna launched "Guldpilen" (Goldarrow). This was practically a black-painted Silverarrow with 25cc and 1,5 h.p. more power. The Goldarrow also got a different exhaust system, the 1 to 2 pipe system.

In 1959 a new kind of petrol tank was used on both the Goldarrow and the Silverarrow, called the export tank. They used different colours on the tanks otherwise the bikes were identical.

The Swedish government influenced both the Monark and Husqvarna factories so that they stopped making their 200cc bikes. These were considered too powerful.

But Husqvarna continued to produce their Silverarrow.

Dahlén, Tibblin and Rickardsson continued to have great success with their 200cc Silverarrows, so Husqvarna decided to continue the development of the bike and make 3 250cc engines to these riders. All the other riders had to stick to their old Silver and Goldarrows.

There were a lot of other good riders that Bror Jaurén had met out on the Swedish racetracks that he wanted to help. Two of these were Jan "Janne" Johansson and Torsten Hallman.

The Müller cylinders were used officially by Husqvarna on the cross and enduro bikes until the end of 1960. In the season of 1961 they changed to 250cc on the factory bikes.

For the ordinary riders a lot of companies were started which was selling trim-parts and frame- modification kits to Gold and Silverarrow bikes.

The spring units were maybe not the best, but the designers had the total weight of 75kg on their minds the whole time.

Companies that sold suspension units were Lindströms Motor in Limhamn, EG (Egon Gustavsson) in Malmö, SOH in Hedemora, CMB in Borlänge, Lelles in Uppsala and LT in Nol. Among the companies that sold the engines it was especially Lindströms Motor and Flinks Motor in Åmål that were successful, especially with tunings-kit for the engine. Flink also made a special gearbox both for MX and Trial. And especially Lindströms Motor had a good co-operation with Bror Jaurén at the Husqvarna factory.

The Silverarrow was produced between 1955 and 1965 and a total of 9000 bikes were made. The Goldarrow was produced between 1958 and 1959 and the "Dreambow" was produced between 1953-1955.

If you look in the rear-view mirror, the Silverarrow was probably a big reason for the Swedes success in international moto cross. To name a few riders that had international success on a Husqvarna bike we have: Rolf Tibblin, Torsten Hallman, Jan Johansson, Christer Hammargren, Arne Kring, Håkan Andersson, Uno Palm and Bengt-Arne Bonn. When the Silverarrow was introduced it cost about 1900 Swedish crowns, today you can find a good restored bike for about 15 000-25 000 Swedish crowns. There are even Goldarrows from 1959 that has been bought for 45 000 Swedish crowns.

To sum it all, the Silverarrow was the foundation for the enormous success that Husqvarna have had on the moto cross- and enduro-tracks. It’s a shame that they didn’t run the whole distance and introduced the bike on the US market. Maybe then Husqvarna still would be a great moto cross- factory. Bear in mind that the Japanese Motorbike producers that are so popular today weren’t even on the market then.