2020 Husqvarna FE 350s Evaluation
Editor Rating: 93.0%
Tractoring up the single-track ascent, switchback after switchback with relative ease, just a few ideas ran by my head. One, this factor’s street-legal. Two, it’s kicking ass on this path. Three, two-strokes aren’t the one machines that may be snug doing technical path work. Admittedly, I’ve change into considerably smitten with my very own two-stroke dirtbike, a lot in order that I had forgotten simply how effectively a four-stroke can deal with comparable terrain, regardless of having begun my off-road using profession on a four-stroke 250.
The Husqvarna FE 350s manages to bridge the hole between 250 top-end and 450 grunt whereas sustaining the light-weight dealing with and maneuverability of the previous. The lowercase s within the mannequin’s title denotes it’s street-legal standing. Like different FE fashions, the 350s will get high shelf componentry making it an excellent alternative for these in search of a nimble dual-sport bike. Much like KTM’s EXC-F line, Husqvarna’s 350 is in no way a lower-spec decrease displacement machine; reasonably the FE 350s combines a number of the finest traits of smaller and bigger machines into what would possibly simply be the “goldilocks” bundle for measurement and energy.
The Energy Plant
The 350cc DOHC four-stroke Single makes use of a lot of the structure from the now-defunct FE 250 (Husqvarna will solely supply 350 and 501 “enduro” fashions for 2021), permitting the engine to stay compact and light-weight regardless of the mid-level displacement. The FE’s Single is snug cruising at 60 mph down the freeway whereas nonetheless having slightly umph left to provide must you want it. On the path although, it’s the low- to mid-range torque that retains the FE 350s pulling by technical climbs when one would possibly anticipate a higher-revving Single to flame out.
For 2020, the engine receives slight updates all through. Camshaft timing has been revised, and a spotlight was positioned on lowering friction with a DLC coating added to the finger followers pushing titanium valves. The cylinder head options new cooling structure, and with a brand new head gasket, compression ratio will increase from 12.3:1 to 13.5:1. The solid bridged-box-type aluminum piston additionally retains oscillating mass low, which provides to the motor’s free-spinning nature. The light-weight die-cast casings home the brand new six-speed Pankl Racing Methods gearbox which operates positively and effortlessly with the Dampened Diaphragm Metal (DDS) clutch and Magura hydraulic system. A single diaphragm metal strain plate versus conventional coil springs makes the clutch pull very gentle whereas additionally integrating a damping system for higher traction and sturdiness.
Husqvarna says the engine itself weighs 61.5 kilos, which makes up slightly beneath 1 / 4 of the bike’s whole weight of 254 lbs (absolutely fueled and able to rip).
The Husqvarna FE 350s’ distinctive body design incorporates a two-piece carbon fiber composite subframe – which Husqvarna claims saves 2.2 kilos – to the blue powder coated chromoly metal hydro-formed body. “Whereas retaining the superior geometry of its predecessor, it options a rise in longitudinal and torsional rigidity, for improved rider suggestions, higher power absorption and elevated stability,” says Husqvarna.
As one would possibly anticipate, WP suspenders are used fore and aft. The XPLOR fork that we’ve lauded with reward on many various fashions offers almost 12 inches of journey from its open cartridge format. For these unfamiliar with the XPLOR setup, each fork tubes embody springs, however separate damping features with rebound on the correct and compression on the left. Damping may be simply adjusted by hand by way of the clickers on high of the fork tubes, every of which gives 30 clicks of adjustment. The preload adjusters on every fork leg enable for simpler adjustment with out using instruments, as effectively.
Out again, the WP XACT shock additionally delivers full adjustability and 11.8 inches of journey. Not like lots of its orange brethren, the FE 350s makes use of a linkage-type suspension which is identical system used within the Husqvarna motocross vary. Each excessive and low pace compression damping may be adjusted in addition to preload and rebound, all of which use a typical setup for adjustment.
Magura parts deal with the stopping energy on the 350, with a single 260 mm rotor and dual-piston setup up entrance and a single-piston caliper with a 220 mm rotor on the rear. Each the entrance and rear brake are simply modulated off-road.
There are a number of niceties on fashionable dirtbikes and dual-sports. Electrical begin, or “the magic button” as a few of my older using buddies name it, is one among them. The FE additionally comes with a light-weight lithium-ion battery. Gasoline injection is one other welcome tech improve. The FE 350s makes use of a 42mm Keihin throttle physique that’s positioned to make sure probably the most environment friendly movement into the combustion chamber. The throttle cable is mounted immediately with no throttle linkage to supply fast throttle response and improved really feel. The two.25-gallon tank offers sufficient gasoline for about 130 miles (as all the time… the drill).
Then, after all, you’ve got all the obligatory bits to make the bike street-legal. Flip alerts, license plate holder, mirrors, lights, and many others. The small LCD sprint relays all the normal data you may want (odo, journeys, pace, so on and so forth).
The place the rubber meets the filth
Again to my first ideas. I didn’t get to spend a number of days back-to-back using the FE 350s, however I did handle to log almost 100 miles throughout my day using, virtually all of which was off-road and about 70% Colorado single-track.
After I first set off down the gravel street from camp, the entrance tire would push at even the slightest of turns. It was a slick gravel street, however after just a few miles to the trailhead, I made a decision some work wanted to be finished earlier than we began our journey. The fork tubes have been all the way in which down within the triple clamps so I raised them as much as the very best of the three markers which left simply barely sufficient room to nonetheless be capable to regulate damping and preload. This made an enormous distinction and including slightly preload helped as effectively. The bike was again to being its regular fast dealing with self. I additionally screwed the adjustable steering locks all the way in which in so I’d have most maneuverability whereas we have been dicing by bushes.
Off we went. Virtually instantly, I used to be confronted with switchback after switchback as we gained elevation quickly. I used to be ready to be utilizing a number of clutch for the tight uphill single-track however was pleasantly shocked that the motor would lug down fairly low with out feeling prefer it was going to stall. Moreover, round every uphill hairpin flip, the motor had loads of grunt at low rpm to loft the entrance wheel for tight pivot turns.
Throughout a very enjoyable path snaking by Aspens, it additionally turned evident simply how fast and nimble the FE 350s might deal with a good flowing path. The bike soaked up bumps like a Cadillac and remained composed whereas effortlessly darting between bushes. That was one of many sooner trails of the day and the bike dealt with it very well.
Later within the day within the day we hit a path that was new to all of us because of a brand new path plan carried out just a few months in the past. The brand new path proved to be steep and unrelenting all the way in which to the highest. Once more, the Husqvarna FE 350s left me questioning why it had been so lengthy since I’d ridden a four-stroke on tight single-track. The suspension dealt with the sluggish going steep climbs very effectively retaining the tires planted and biting throughout the ascent. Boulders and rock ledges between and in the course of switchbacks have been no match for the Husqvarna. Even throughout all the sluggish going, the bike by no means managed to boil its fuel or spit coolant. Whereas I had began the day worrying about frying the clutch as a result of inventory gearing, I ended up having zero points.
“Man,” I believed to myself throughout the aforementioned new path, “this bike has actually shocked me.” As I discussed to start with, one of the best a part of all of this was that the FE 350s is street-legal and kicking ass on even probably the most technical trails we rode that day.
With all of that adoration heaped on the white bike, might it get higher? The reply to that query is sure. I dialed within the suspension damping a bit at each ends to higher swimsuit the using we have been doing, and whereas I didn’t deviate removed from the producer specs, that was most likely extra of a results of the terrain suiting the suspension than vice versa. I think about the 350s would have felt smooth within the California desert’s broad open expanses at pace.
Getting a license plate on a motorcycle just like the 350 requires extra than simply slapping flip alerts and lights on a motorcycle and calling it good. Regulatory emissions requirements should be thought of from the engine itself, to the exhaust, to how a lot noise the tires make on the bottom and efficiency is nearly all the time misplaced at this expense. When you don’t want a plate and also you need extra efficiency, the FE mannequin (sans s) ought to do the trick.
For technical using, if I have been to buy the FE 350s, there could be a small handful of mods that I might make earlier than I ever hit the path. One of many first issues I might do could be altering the ultimate drive gearing. Dropping one tooth on the countershaft sprocket and including two or 4 to the rear. Additionally, a tire swap could be required. The TKC80s are tremendous should you’re doing largely avenue or fireplace roads, however for something extra, the advantages of full knobbies can’t be overstated. I’d positively swap out the inventory mirrors for one thing rather less intrusive – and doubtless solely use one. Wrap round handguards I’ve additionally discovered to be a necessity (extra on that in an upcoming story). I might get out and journey it in a few of my favourite areas earlier than doing any suspension work, however for my functions, which embody as little avenue and fireplace street as potential, I’d most likely bump up the suspension’s spring charges.
As we all the time say although, your mileage might differ. When you see your self utilizing the bike for commuting, going to highschool, some trails, and many others., you’ll most likely be tremendous leaving the bike bone inventory. All of it relies upon what you’re planning on doing with it. Apart from Husqvarna throwing some propper knobbies on it, I rode the bike in inventory type and it impressed me a lot that my using buddies have been most likely uninterested in listening to about it at every snack cease. The FE 350s is a superb platform that I totally loved off-road – and it’s street-legal! At $11,099, the worth of admission isn’t low cost, however you’d be onerous pressed to discover a bike that handles almost each state of affairs in addition to the FE 350s does.
|2020 Husqvarna FE350s Specs|
|Engine kind||Single cylinder, 4-stroke, 4-valve DOHC with finger followers|
|Bore x Stroke||88 mm x 57.5 mm|
|Starter/Battery||Electrical starter / 12V 2Ah|
|Gasoline System||Keihin EFI, throttle physique 42 mm|
|Lubrication||Strain lubrication with 2 oil pumps|
|Gear ratios||14:32 16:26 20:25 22:23 25:22 26:20|
|Clutch||DDS moist multi-disc clutch, Magura hydraulics|
|Body||Central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4|
|Subframe||Carbon fiber strengthened polyamide|
|Handlebar||Professional Taper, Alumnium Ø 28/22 mm|
|Entrance Suspension||WP USD Xplor 48, 11.8 inches of journey 11.8 inches of journey|
|Rear Suspension||WP-Monoshock with linkage, 11.8 inches of journey|
|Entrance Brakes||Disc brake Ø 260 mm|
|Rear Brakes||Disc brake Ø 220 mm|
|Entrance Wheel||1.60 x 21″|
|Rear Wheel||2.15 x 18″ Large|
|Triple Clamp Offset||0.9 inches|
|Wheelbase||58.5 ± 0.4 inches|
|Floor Clearance||14.2 inches|
|Seat Peak||37.4 inches|
|Gasoline Capability||2.25 gallons|
|Weight||254 kilos (measured)|