An SWM that dreamt of being a CL77 scrambler…
Founded in 1971, SWM was an Italian manufacturer of trials, enduro, and motocross bikes in the ’70s and ’80s — a contemporary of such brands as Fantic, Montesa, and Bultaco. The name comes from the abbreviation SV.VM, standing for Sironi Vergani Vimercate Milano.
The company went into liquidation in 1984, but in 2014, a former Cagiva / Aprilia / Husqvarna engineer resurrected the brand, having acquired the Italian factory where BMW-owned Husqvarnas were previously built:
“When KTM bought Husqvarna from BMW in 2013, the Austrians left behind a perfectly good motorcycle manufacturing plant in Italy, where BMW-owned Husqvarnas were last built…. SWM resurfaced after having acquired the Varese, Italy factory, rights and tooling to make what used to be Husqvarna motorcycles again.” –Cycle News
The SWM Superdual, which can trace its ancestry back to the Husky TE630, toes the line between a super-size dual-sport and a lightweight adventure bike — much like the Kawasaki KLR650 (RIP) used to do:
“The KLR’s exodus left a void for those wanting a “lightweight” large-bore single-cylinder adventure bike that is easy to ride, especially on the dirt, yet can chew up the miles in a single seating.” –Cycle News
Recently, we heard from Francesco Campedelli, a Bologna-based electrical engineer who works in the railway industry and remains a tinkerer at heart, working on everything from high-fidelity audio equipment to motorbikes. Francesco was looking for a daily rider with modern performance and vintage style — one he’d have to build himself:
“I wanted an everyday commuting bike with modern performance but with the look of the bikes of my childhood at the start of the ’70s.”
He says his 2017 Superdual scrambler is the story of an “SWM who dreamt to be a Honda CL77.” Taking inspiration from Honda’s iconic scrambler, he set out to create the machine you see here, working out of his home garage and enlisting the help of a neighboring professional builder for the more complex welding and fabrication.
The Superdual, with its 57-hp single-cylinder engine and 8.6″ front / 10.6″ rear suspension travel, is more off-road-ready than most of today’s street-oriented factory scramblers, and Francesco sought to keep its functionality intact while completely transforming the look of the machine:
“I have kept as original the wheels, frame, suspension, engine, and exhaust, to be fully street legal and to keep the possibility to install luggage racks for long travel.
“All the rest — saddle, tank, mudguards, side panels, exhaust thermal cover — has been hand-built from scratch in raw brushed aluminium, since it gives the bike a mixed minimal/racing feel.”
The resulting bike not only has the vintage style that Francesco envisioned, but it’s 30+ pounds lighter than the original. He’s christened his SWM scrambler “Aosagi” (Japanese for Grey Heron):
“In Japan the heron is considered a symbol of wisdom and longevity, I hope to ride long km on it.”
Below, we talk to Francesco for the full story on this vintage-inspired SWM.
SWM Superdual Scrambler: Builder Interview
Tell us about your Bike…
This is an SWM who dreamt to be a Honda CL77…
I wanted an everyday commuting bike with modern performance but with the look of the bikes of my childhood at the start of the ’70s.
I chose a 2017, no ABS, SWM Superdual mainly for the look of the engine and its 57 HP, and the good excursion suspension, to be able to enjoy some off-road and outlying gravel roads more than usual modern scramblers are capable of.
I have kept as original the wheels, frame, suspension, engine, and exhaust, to be fully street legal and to keep the possibility to install luggage racks for long travel.
All the rest — saddle, tank, mudguards, side panels, exhaust thermal cover — has been hand-built from scratch in raw brushed aluminium, since it gives the bike a mixed minimal/racing feel.
Tank, saddle, and the support for front mudguard have been built on my design by a professional customizer (who is well known in Italy also for restoration of historical bikes for museums, etc).
I kept the tank minimal to show the beautiful look of the engine (in Italy we have a soft spot for “Testa Rossa”) and ease of maintenance “on the road.” Globally I achieved about 15 kg in weight reduction from the standard model.
Lights are all COTS [Commercial Off-The-Shelf] LEDs, including the very small turn indicator.
The DRL has been built using the envelope from a small electrolytic capacitor and moving pivot from a cell phone support: it can be used as “courtesy light” at night when you need to look at something, e.g. at maps…
The bike has been christened “Aosagi” (Japanese for Grey Heron) mainly for its slender and light character, reminding me of a flying heron, but also as a “multicultural” tribute to:
- The inspiring Honda CL77 with its wing on the tank, referred by the flying heron on a red moon.
- In Japan the heron is considered a symbol of wisdom and longevity, I hope to ride long km on it.
- The Italian heritage, quoting the lightweight Moto Guzzi Airone.
I think this is the first radical transformation of an SWM Superdual (at least I wasn’t able to find another on the web) — I hope it can inspire also someone else! Since the bike has a very good quality and performance to cost ratio, and it’s not at all difficult to work on it.
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m a certified electrical/electronic engineer currently working in the railway signalling industry, living near Bologna.
Since I was a child in the late ’60s to early ‘70s, I was attracted by bikes; I remember my first toy bikes, some scale models of Agostini’s MV, Guzzi V7, Triumph Six-Says, Electra Glide… Indeed my aesthetic taste has remained more or less imprinted on those now classic lines.
My first ride at 16 was a Benelli 125 2C, at the time one of the fastest small capacity a boy could dream of. I currently own the SWM and an heir of the V7, a Guzzi Jackal (possibly to be soon “personalized” as well).
I’m a global tinkerer, mostly on electronic hi-fi equipment (tube amps, loudspeakers), but of course motorbikes could not elude my attitude.
My garage serves as the workshop, with a column drilling machine, scroll saw, a small grinder, and the usual selection of hand tools, mainly used to work with aluminium.
For welded or more complex parts, based anyway on my design ideas, I ask the support from a neighbouring professional customizer.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the completed bike?
In two words: Fun and Stylish.
As for Fun factor, it has kept the good dynamic qualities of the dual-sport donor bike, which has a very good engine and decent suspension. Moreover, the loss of weight has improved its usability also on medium difficulty off-road trails usually “out of scope” of heavy tarmac enduro bikes.
Equipped with a pillion and GIVI side and top cases, it’s a nice long hauler as well (and cheap: more than 25 km/lt mileage), provided you don’t want to keep going more that 120 km/h on motorways (but hey, motorways are just the way to get to more interesting places — and there are a lot, aren’t there?).
As for Style, the bike is minimal and raw but with a definite vintage look that attracts a lot of attention, curiosity, and questions along the road. I think the bike has a good form-function-look balance, with a very balanced relationship between solid and void, and no exaggerated parts.
Indeed, “Scrambling in Style” would be an appropriate definition: a quasi-classic bike with no excess, as good for mild off-roading as for going to the opera downtown.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
As said above, besides the hard work to realize the aluminium parts, I’m particularly proud of the balanced overall design of the modified bike. Also the pivoting DRL was a nice idea, realized with scrap parts.