MotoOnline.com.au rides and reviews the 2015 Husqvarna FE 501.
Before arriving at the picturesque location of the 2015 Husqvarna world launch in Lulea, Sweden, I had previously not swung a leg over an enduro bike above the 450cc mark. This meant that the chance to ride the 2015 Husqvarna FE 501 would be a totally new experience; one that I was in two minds about. Would the bike be too gnarly to handle on the tight trails? Or would I totally enjoy the abundance of power and fall in love? Read on to find out.
Just like the rest of the 2015 MY15 Husqvarna range, the FE 501 features a range of updates throughout the bike. Once again, the WP 4CS (four chamber system) fork is featured up front with on-the-fly adjustment and impressive overall performance. The fork is setup to feel very plush and forgiving, perfect for smashing through rocky sections or hopping over tree roots.
New CNC machined triple clamps are featured on the 2015 FE 501. The clamps have been revised for MY15 with accurate and confidence inspiring feedback the main aim. By controlling the flex of the fork and creating a uniform clamping of the leg, Husqvarna engineers have created just that. Four handlebar positions are also available to fine-tune the bike to your specific riding style and size.
The rear linkage system is paired up with a WP DDC (Dual Compression Control) rear shock to ensure the back of the bike matches the front’s strong level of performance at all times. The rear of the bike is much the same as the front, super plush and forgiving. Overall the suspension on the FE 501 handled a broad range of tasks with ease.
Weighing in at approximately 113.5kg without fuel, the 2015 Husqvarna FE 501 is obviously the heftiest model within the MY15 range, but luckily the engineers have created a big-bore machine that remains quite nimble and manageable. This is key to the FE 501 – with all of that power and weight, the bike could have easily become a serious handful.
The FE 501’s weight feels very centralised and low down on the machine. This central weight distribution and low centre of gravity creates a confidence-inspiring ride. It allows you to actually use a large chunk of the power on offer without scaring yourself to death.
Obviously the FE 501 hasn’t been put together with any outrageous technology that the rest of the MY15 range hasn’t received. It’s the fact that the 501cc engine, with all of its inertia and weight, needs to be housed within a well-designed motorcycle in order to work correctly – big-bore engines are great at revealing badly designed bikes. Luckily for Husqvarna, they’ve nailed it!
The FE 501 engine, featuring a DDS clutch, electric start, Pankl crankshaft and conrod, pressure die cast crankcases and Keihin electronic fuel injection is a torque monster, no two ways about it.
But thanks to the 42mm throttle body which has been tuned for enduro-style power delivery, it’s very useable and really a breeze to ride. But I must warn, open it up and you’ll soon realise it’s got power for days, it just keeps going and going.
Keep track of your speed on the FE 501 is a new speedometer for 2015. The speedo has been redesigned with a more elegant cover that hides all warning lights when not in use. This gives the display a cleaner look, and also ensures less distraction for the rider. The two-component handguard mould has also been revised for better impact resistence.
Ergonomically the FE 501 feels slim and sleek for 2015, they’ve really got the bodywork and control placement perfected. The shroud and side number plate design creates a seemless flow of plastic which puts a stop to any chances of catching your boot on a protruding section. Oh, did I also mention the bike looks awesome?
With a new headlight and front fender, which has been taken from the MY15 motocross range, the 2015 Husqvarna FE 501 looks mean. The fresh front end design has been paired with revised graphics and a new seat cover. The enduro range varies from the motocross range in the graphics department which is a very unique touch.
The updated seat cover features a harder and more durable material. This material offers more grip, a firmer feel and improved comfort. Seats can be a real deciding factor on the overall ergos of a bike, and Husqvarna have nailed it for 2015.
For 2015 Husqvarna have created an awesome big-bore enduro machine. Combining amazing power with a high performing, nimble and comfortable chassis design, this bike is a real winner. It will surprise each and every rider who swings a leg over it with minimal big-bore enduro experience.
Click here for a complete overview of the each and every model in the 2015 Husqvarna motocross range direct from the world media launch held in Lulea, Sweden.