CLASSIC MOTOCROSS IRON: 1974 HUSQVARNA 125CR
By Tom White
The Husqvarna 125CR was produced from 1972 until 1985. It was often hard to tell one model year from another, and our test bike sports 1974 engine numbers on a 1973 frame. Even more confusing, the gas tank logos changed in font and color between 1973 and 1974. At the time of its release, the Husqvarna 125CR was the most expensive 125 motocross bike a rider could buy. Unfortunately for Husky, it was released at almost the same time as the first Yamaha YZ125 (and only preceded the Honda CR125 by a short period of time).
As with many motorcycle manufacturers, Husqvarna first began producing bicycles in the late 19th century. In 1903 it made the jump to motorcycle manufacturing. In 1920 Husqvarna had established its own engine factory, building a 550cc, four-stroke, 50-degree, side-valve V-twin. Although Husqvarna raced to fame on road circuits such as the Isle of Man TT prior to World War II, Husqvarna is best known for its World Championship-winning motocross bikes. In the 1960s Husky’s lightweight two-strokes helped make the once-dominant British four-strokes obsolete. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Husqvarna won 14 World Motocross Championships.
The wheels came off in 1987 when the Swedish brand was sold to Cagiva, which was gobbled up by MV Agusta and, in July of 2007, by BMW for a reported 93 million euros. Eventually, Husqvarna was bought by KTM in 2013 (for what was reportedly pennies on the dollar). Amazingly, the Husqvarna 125CR, now known as the TC125, is still in the Husqvarna lineup.
1974 HUSQVARNA 125CR FACTS
WHAT THEY COST? The 1974 Husqvarna 125CR retailed for $1000 back in 1974. This was at a time when a Japanese 125 could be had for 30 percent less. Even today, vintage Husqvarna 125s are not a hot item on the vintage market and easily sells for under $4000 when fully restored.
MODELS? Husky made close-ratio (CR) and wide-ratio (WR) versions of the 125cc bike from 1972 until 1985. Husqvarna kept the 125WR going and reintroduced the CR again in 1993. When KTM took over they simply shared the KTM 125SX plafform and engine, with new plastic, graphics and a smattering of Magura parts instead of Brembo components
WHAT TO LOOK FOR? Vintage Husqvarna parts can be traded around willy-nilly, so look for the appropriate engine and frame numbers. The 1972 and 1973 engines had prefixes that started with 2022, while the 1974 bikes had a 2035 prefix. Watch for the correct Betor forks, gas tank logos and period fenders. For more info go to the Early Years of Motocross Museum site at www.earlyyearsofmx.com