Founded in 1971, SWM manufactured Trial, Enduro and Motocross bikes with Sachs and Rotax engines until it went into liquidation in 1984. Its honors include several national Trial and Motocross titles as well as a Trial World Championship.
The resurrection of SWM was first announced at the 2014 EICMA Milan show after securing funding from Chinese motorcycle and ATV manufacturer Shineray, a.k.a. China Chongqing Shineray Motorcycle Co.,Ltd. The new company’s CEO is Ampelio Macchi, a former Cagiva, Husqvarna and Aprilia engineer and renowned figure in Italian motorcycling history.
Production is set to begin this month in SWM’s new manufacturing facility in Varese, Italy. The 2016 range presented during the Italian WEC round includes three enduro models, RS300R, RS500R and RS650R, two supermotos, SM500R and SM650R, the Silver Vase 440 scrambler and the Gran Milano 440 roadster.
Shineray acquired the rights to the SWM brand name as a vehicle for expansion to western markets. The Chinese company also bought a factory in Varese, Italy, that produced Husqvarna motorcycles under BMW ownership until 2013, when the Germans sold the brand to KTM. With the Austrians poised to abort operations in Italy, Shineray stepped in to acquire 10 Husqvarna models designed by BMW engineers, a fully operational plant and all the expert personnel required to run it.
The enduro and supermoto models run on older Husqvarna single cylinder engines, updated to 2016 standards by the same R&D engineers that curated them in the pre-KTM period. Frames and most of the running gear come from the relevant BMW-era Huskies as well.
What is more interesting though is the power plant of the scrambler and roadster models. The air cooled, fuel injected, 445 cc single is a novel appearance in Shineray’s European lineup, which until now comprised of small displacement engines between 50 and 250 cc. Since Husqvarna had nothing of the kind in its production line, this is probably the first sighting of a new Shineray unit.
Apparently SWM has big plans for the future. The first model to come out of the Varese production line will be the RS650R on July 8, followed by the SM650R in August, the rest of the enduro and supermoto models in September and the two "classic" 440s in October. May 2016 will see the introduction of a 125 cc model, August will bring a new 250 and there is also a 450 motor in the making. The latter will be an important step for the company, after formally declaring its intention to go Motocross racing in Europe by 2016. And there’s a lot more to come; Shineray envisages a range of off-road racing, street and adventure models, including a 900 cc multi cylinder engine available by 2018. If we are to speculate, an evolution of the Husqvarna Nuda 900 twin inescapably comes to mind.
SWM motorcycles will be initially available in Europe; Australia will be next and North America will follow soon after. In China, South America, Asia and Africa the same motorcycles will be sold under the Shineray logo, which is more recognizable there.
Watch a short presentation from SWM in the following video.