Designed on spec for the Swedish Army, the Husqvarna automatic bikes were built to be practical and easy to use. They proved to be interesting enough to survive in the commercial market for 12 years, ending in the late 80s with the 430.
The majority of the autos (including the 420 AE featured here) had a 4-speed auto with 4 centrifugal clutches. When you decelerated, the powerplant went into freewheeling mode, and then when you got back on the throttle, the bike would decide the appropriate gear based on rear wheel speed. For more information on the Husky automatics, check out this profile from BikeEXIF.
Updates for the 420AE from Husqvarna include a “substantially improved transmission free-wheel for greatly improved reliability”, as well as a new tank and seat. The 412cc 2-stroke motor had a 11.5:1 compression ratio. Fueling was handled by a Mikuni 38mm carb, and the whole thing weighed 240 pounds. AE stood for automatic enduro, while there was a sister AXC (automatic cross country). The AXC was 7 pounds lighter as it didn’t have to worry about being street legal with the 12V, 35W lighting system. Another big difference was in the rear suspension – the XC got Koni gas shocks with 11.8″ of travel while the E got Corte Cosso gas shocks with 9.5″.
The seller acquired this example (VIN: WN0003166) because he thought it was be “a really cool bike to ride to [his] local bike night.” He got a street license plate from his DMV, but he noticed that the motor needed a little work so he had it bored and installed a new piston. He made some other fixers and installed Boyesen dual-stage power reeds. Unfortunately, 2 months later the DMV forced him to return the plate, saying this bike should be for off road use only. So now he can’t ride it to bike night, and the compression is so strong after the motor rebuilt that he can’t kick it over.
In his words, “I’m a 65 yr old light weight. The bike is so tall and the kick is very awkward. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it. Maybe a compression release? Whatever, I have several bikes and this one needs to go a bigger fellow.”
Find this auto Husky for sale in Rock Hill, South Carolina with bidding up to $1,525 and the reserve not yet met