Swedish military bicycle

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The first officially designated bicycle of the Swedish military.
This is the second issued bicycle of the Swedish military. Most were manufactured by Nymans (Hermes). Parts were supplied by Husqvarna, Rex, and others.
The third issued bicycle to the Swedish military. It was manufactured in Finland with some parts supplied by Monark. This is also an officially designated Finnish military bicycle.
This is the 4th issued bicycle of the Swedish military. All were manufactured by Husqvarna. Identical parts were supplied by Nymans (Hermes), Rex, and others to insure an ample supply of parts and to speed up mass production across the board. A tool box and pump holder was added to the carrier, the tool bags were discontinued, and on some, a carrying handle was added to the frame.
This fifth-generation, military-issued bicycle was manufactured by Monark. The carrier, wheels and hubs were supplied by Husqvarna and the frame/fork assembly is of an earlier Crescent bicycle design dating back to the late 1930s. The frame, fork, fenders, and handlebars are also found on civilian examples of Husqvarna-badged Monark bicycles of the 60s.
A Swedish army bicycle (m/104A) in use at Norrbottens regemente, Boden, in 2004.
The unique chain-operated front brake of the m/42.
This sixth military issued bicycle was manufactured by Monark with a beefier frame/fork assembly. Bars are leftover stock from Monark's acquisition of Crescent and the rest of the parts are from Monark's acquisition of Husqvarna's bicycle business in exchange for its chainsaw business. The rear hub is Sachs.
This folding Swedish military bicycle trailer,a 1945 Husqvarna S/78, was issued for use with the M/42, M/104A, and M/105A to transport injured troops on stretchers that were made to mount to it. It was also used for other cargo. They were manufactured in such large quantities by Husqvarna in the 40s that the supply lasted into the 70s when they were sold off into surplus.
A Swedish military officer standing with his m/1901.

Swedish military bicycles (Swedish: militärcykel), or Swedish army bicycles, have been used in the Swedish military for over a century.

History[edit]

The first bicycles in the Swedish military were privately owned or bought for testing purposes. Bicycle infantry were first introduced in 1901, when a Gotlandic infantry regiment, I 27 in Visby, replaced its cavalry complement with bicycle-mounted troops. By 1942, there were six bicycle infantry regiments in the Swedish Army, operating mainly m/30s and m/42s. However, there were also examples of undesignated tandem bicycles for use by field radio operators and specially fitted pairs of bicycles designed for mounting a stretcher between the lead's rack and the rear's steer tube.[1]

Following World War II, in 1947, the decision was made to decommission the bicycle infantry regiments. They were gradually removed from the Army between 1948 and 1952. Following this decision, the role of the bicycle shifted away from a combat one to a more utilitarian one, with special bicycle transport groups being formed. However, bicycle rifle battalions (Swedish: cykelskyttebataljon) continued to exist into the late 1980s.[1]

Models[edit]

  • m/1901 - A safety bicycle, it was the first officially designated bicycle in the Swedish army.[1]
  • m/1927 - An Italian-manufactured Bianchi military bicycle bought by the Swedish military in 1930 to supplement the shortage of m/30s. This bicycle was able to be folded and carried on the soldiers back in rugged terrain.[1]
  • m/30 - This bicycle was very similar to the later issued m/42, except the pump was frame-mounted, the tools were stored in a frame-mounted leather bag, the carrier was the same sans the tool box, and although equipped with a front drum brake hub, there was no provision to use it. On the civilian model, the front drum brake was actuated by a brake cable connected to a brake handle. This bicycle was nothing like the German m/30, spoon brake-equipped, balloon-tired roadster, it is often mistaken as.. It was based around an agreement with several large Swedish manufacturers regarding the interchangeability of parts, with most being assembled by Nymans (Hermes). Wheel size was 26 × 1½ inch (584 mm) and was equipped with a rear coaster-brake hub. Weight: ca. 23.5 kg (52 lb.)[1]
  • m/finsk - A Nymans-manufactured bicycle without chainguard. The label finsk is the Swedish word for Finnish.[1]
  • m/42 - The most well-known Swedish military bicycle. It was produced by several large Swedish bicycle manufacturers (Rex, Husqvarna, Monark, Nymans) from the 1940s to the 1950s with a maximum of interchangeable parts.[1] It uses a rear, one-speed Novo C coaster brake hub, and a Husqvarna-produced front drum brake (chain-operated by an integrated right-hand lever). In addition, it has a large, sturdy rack with a tool box and storage tube for a short frame pump. Weight: up to 26 kg (57 lb.)
  • m/104A - 28 × ½ inch (635 mm) wheels with Novo CN coaster-brake rear hub and uses the same carrier as the m/42.[1]
  • m/105A - 26 × 1½ inch (584 mm) wheels with Sachs Torpedo rear hub and uses the same carrier as the m/42.[1]
  • m/111 - Post-1971. 28 × ½  inch wheel with Sachs Torpedo rear hub. This is the rarest model, lacks the tool kit holder, and uses a carrier similar to Crescent-badged bicycles of the time.[1]
A company of m1901s assembled and ready to march in 1914.
A company of m42s on the march in Sweden in the 40s.

Tools[edit]

The following tools were issued with the bicycles as pictured in this section.

These are the tools and accessories issued to the m/30.
These are the tools and accessories issued to the m/42.
These are the tools and accessories issued to the m/104a and m/105a.

Civilian use[edit]

The civilian version of the m/42 is a Kronan Herrcykel (Men's Cycle) pictured here.
Further information: Kronan (bicycle)

Beginning in the 1970s, the Army began to sell its m/42s, m/104as, and m/105as as military surplus. They became very popular as cheap and low-maintenance transportation, especially among students. Responding to its popularity and finite supply, an entirely new company, Kronan, was founded in 1997 by three students in Uppsala in order to produce a modernized replica of the m/42. These come in a variety of colors, compared to the matte green and gray of the surplus models, and can even be purchased with three-speed SRAM hubs and front brakes.[2] Unlike the military surplus m/42s, these have been widely exported to other countries.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ekström, Gert; Husberg, Ola (2001). Älskade cykel (in Swedish) (1st ed.). Stockholm: Prisma. ISBN 91-518-3906-7. 
  2. ^ "Om Kronan" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2006-07-16. [dead link]

External links[edit]