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Make ModelHusaberg FE 650e
Engine: Liquid cooled, four stroke, single cylinder, OHC, 4 valves per cylinder.
Bore x Stroke: 100 x 82 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Induction: Keihin MX FCR 41 TPS
Ignition / Starting: Kokusan digital / electric & kick
ClutchWet multiplate clutch
Transmission / Drive: 6 Speed / chain
Frame: Magura SX Alu conified
Front Suspension: WP USD 4860 MA Husaberg Enduro
Rear Suspension: WP PDS 5018 MCC Husaberg Enduro
Front Brakes: Single 260mm disc
Rear Brakes: Single 220mm disc
Front Tire: : 90/90 -21
Rear Tire: : 140/80 -18
930 mm / 36.6 in
Dry-Weight: 109 kg / 240.3 lb
Fuel Capacity: 10.5 Litres
DOES IT GO?
Having conscientiously listed all the negative aspects of this motorcycle we will now regale you with its indisputably positive aspects. Yes, there are some.
In the first place, it handles like a bike half its size. The FE650e is a 450 with a lot more power. If you position your Weight: properly it will tip easily into corners and you soon forget that this is the world’s most powerful dirt bike. You also forget about the alleged mass. It might look big when it’s parked in your concubine’s driveway but once the thing is moving it feels balanced and stable. Even on single-lane trails it’s certainly not the handful we expected. It’s also slowed by brakes that have that admirable combination of power with feel.
We thought the steering was very accurate, and for a big bike with a lot of power the Berger seems to get a lot of it to the ground. Wheelspin under acceleration during a power-slide on gravel is minimal. That says a lot for chassis.
And we can’t say enough about that Engine: . God Almighty this thing hauls! If KTM did indeed buy Husaberg to get the Engine: technology, this could be the Engine: that sealed the deal. Crack the throttle and you get a noticeable Induction: noise. You also get a burst of acceleration that feels like Pethidine in reverse.
Only it’s not rip-your-kidneys-out acceleration. With the stock 45-15 gearing there’s a rapid but smooth accretion of velocity that you can meter precisely with the throttle, almost down to single rpm, or at least that’s how it feels. It might be God Almighty fast but the power is predictable and hell fun to play with. This is a drop-dead brilliant thing to ride. Throttle response is excellent and the grunt just keeps on coming. A standard FE650e should top out somewhere around 160kph so you won’t have any trouble keeping up with all those bum-knuckles on the freeway.
On the road it’s actually quite civilised. Vibration isn’t too bad until you hit 100kph, the seat is comfortable for short spurts on tarmac, and the Engine: ‘s prodigious midrange and top-end will enable, if not downright encourage you, to pass anything. We had reason to suspect that the odometer on the test bike was inaccurate so our fuel consumption figures may be a bit dodgy. Consumption on the trails was an indicated 10.9km/litre, and we can believe that, but consumption on-road was allegedly 20km/litre and we can’t believe that. (In hitting that old lady we must have startled the odometer).
This bike is a conundrum, and has minor faults the Japanese eradicated from their bikes Year: s ago. But to be honest, we loved it. For the sheer pleasure of riding something that handles well and has this much power, you can’t beat it. They sell about 50 FE650s a Year: in Australia. But for the feeling among dirt riders that KTM bought Husaberg for its Engine: technology and then lost interest, they might have sold a lot more.
IS IT RELIABLE?
This is the Big Question with all Husabergs and not even Eddie McGuire knows the answer. We know riders who think Bergers are more reliable than concrete. We also know one KTM dealer who surrendered his Husaberg franchise, and another who refused to sell them, both because of recurring Engine: problems and irate customers
To make sense of this mista-wee, here are the facts as we know them:
Husaberg Engine: s that are well looked after generally experience no cylinder, piston or valve problems. They can be reliable and durable
But not if they’re noisy. Don’t buy a secondhand Husaberg if the Engine: has what mechanics call ‘primary Engine: noise’. Any Husaberg with a noisy Engine: has a good chance of suffering main bearing failure. This was an endemic problem in early models
03/04 crankshafts were poorly machined, a problem that also provoked bearing failure
Water-pump seals are known to leak, though the fix is simple
Husabergs gearboxes are big and strong. The clutch is okay too but will complain if slipped excessively in tough terrain. Clutch-scrunch is your Husaberg talking and it will do it for the first 1000 kays
Starter-motors in 03/05 models were often dodgy but in later models seem to be more reliable
The potential vulnerability in a single radiator is offset by the rider’s Capacity: to repair the problem with anything sticky enough to plug a hole. (Bits of that old lady perhaps).
There’s another contender in this class too, the Husaberg FE650 ‘Works Replica’. (There’s also a 550e, but not in this issue). The 650 as far as we know is the biggest dirt bike on the market, and in the past 12 months has been upgraded in small but significant ways. Here’s that menu:
For improved service life, tolerance values have been improved on the crankshaft
The gearbox has been strengthened to survive ‘hard forces’ on the shifter
There’s a new one-piece counter-balancer
The water-pump seal is now made of more durable material
The triple-clamp is CNC machined and has adjustable offset
The aluminium in the steering stem has been upgraded