MotoOnline.com.au reviews the new 2022 Husqvarna FE models.
Words: Trent Maher
Each year the bike launch season marks a sense of excitement and Husqvarna did not disappoint in delivering its 2022 FE range to a premium standard. And following an ideal day of enduro, there’s little doubt that the latest FE 250, FE 350 and FE 450 are as good as it gets.
Upon arriving at in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, we were met with the 2022 FE range, aside from the FE 501 on this particular outing. Boasting a fresh grey colourway, Michelin Enduro tyres and Braktec clutch and brake hydraulic systems, there are some integral changes that have been made for the new model year.
The FE range also features a dual map switch on the handlebars including a traction control button, as well as the WP Suspension Xplor forks featuring adjusters at the top in order to provide the ultimate adjustability out on the trails. Also note that the shock is WP’s Xact model complete with linkage, rather than the Xplor/PDS option that is on the KTMs.
As for Kenilworth, a wide range of riding terrain from tight, rocky, rutted with some tree roots single trail to some open fire trails with jumps along the way provided a great platform to get a good feel for the bikes. Complete information on the entire FE range can be found in this previous Detailed article, as here we delve deeper into the feedback each model provided when ridden.
Beginning with the smallest machine in the fleet, the 2022 Husqvarna FE 250 was enjoyable to ride in the tighter single-trail sections and more technical parts of the ride. You have to work harder, understandably, but the rewards are evident when you are able to get the most out of the bike.
I experimented with the two available map settings on the bar switch and ending up going to a more aggressive setting to help accelerate out of gullies with my weight. While this aggressive setting was a notable improvement, I still felt the FE 250 lacked a bit of bottom-end, which could be improved with a slip-on exhaust.
The chassis on the entire FE range was comfortable though and provided a great feel in the cockpit when it comes to ergonomics, however, with the 250 being a lighter machine it was much easy to manoeuvre through the tighter sections. Being a heavier rider for a 250, I added pre-load to the forks, which helped increase stability.
On the topic of the new Braktec brakes and clutch components, the performance was quality as you’d expect on this premium model, taking over from Magura that were featured on last year’s models. In our time at the test, I wasn’t able to fault the transition of brands.
Moving up to the FE 350, this was a bike I spent a lot of time on as I really wanted to play with all the map settings to find the capabilities of the motor. The mellower engine map takes a lot of the aggression out of it and makes it feel more like a quicker 250, however, I really enjoyed map two, which provided a little more bottom-end to help with hopping over obstacles.
Having never used traction control before, I was previously under the impression that the benefits of using it on a dirt bike were somewhat a myth. I was absolutely mistaken though, since I could really feel the TC kick in and retard the engine to stop the rear tyre slipping, putting it to the test on the loose gravel on the fire trails.
One other thing I learned was, in order to get the true effect of the TC working, you have to commit to staying on the throttle. I could also feel it working impressively up slippery rocky climbs, so rest assured that it’s no gimmick and comes stock on the Husky range.
The only downside of the FE 350 was that I felt I was in between gears all day. Second gear would rev too high and upset the chassis, while third didn’t quite pull like I felt it needed to. That could be easily fixed by adding an extra tooth to the rear sprocket.
Chassis-wise, the feel of the 350 was very similar to that of the FE 250. Updated settings in the WP Suspension felt much more suited to this model, with slightly extra weight making it feel more planted to the ground without losing the flick-ability that the 250 has.
Finally, we rode the FE 450 and this bike, I actually fell in love with. Being a regular 450 rider I am always excited to see how each manufacturer’s bike stacks up and I was very impressed with the Husqvarna in off-road trim.
The engine was very user-friendly, having the two maps like all the Husky models come with, it was very easy to adjust to the type of terrain that I encountered throughout the day. Regarding the traction control, again the FE 450 impressed as Husqvarna engineers have done a tremendous job setting these machines up for the everyday rider.
It was the chassis that really stood out to me on the FE 450 as it was able to maintain similar handling characteristics as the lower capacity models in the FE range. I was impressed with it in the tighter single-trail and it took a lot less energy to do so, making it a lot more enjoyable to ride and enables a rider to ride longer throughout the day.
The development team did a fantastic job with the base setting of the FE 450 with its WP Suspension, as I played all day to see if I could improve it any and by the end of the day I ended up back at the base setting. That’s saying something!
In summary, the latest FE range is well-suited to the average consumer. All the adjustments at your fingertips make this range very appealing to the tech-savvy rider that wants to adjust their bike to suit the way and conditions they ride, yet it also suits riders who just want to wheel the bike off the showroom floor and get into it.
If you were to ask me my pick of the range it’s pretty easy to see they were all great machines, but – as you could probably guess! – the FE 450 was the one for me… I wanted to sneak it
home with me after the day. I’d be curious to see what the FE 501 is like, which we may do at a later date, but for now, I’m all for the 450.
The entire range of 2022 Husqvarna FE models really impressed me with all the technology they come with as standard, plus with a host of Technical Accessories available in the brand’s parts catalogue, Husqvarna will have you covered.
Engine type (FE 250): 249.9cc single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore/stroke (FE 250): 78mm x 52.3mm
Engine type (FE 350): 349.7cc single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore/stroke (FE 350): 88mm x 57.5mm
Engine type (FE 450): 449.9cc ingle-cylinder four-stroke
Bore stroke (FE 450): 95mmx 63.4mm
Clutch: Wet multi-disc DDS clutch, Braktec hydraulics
Front suspension: WP Xplor USD fork, 48 mm
Rear suspension: WP Xact-Monoshock with linkage
Front brake: Braktec disc 260mm
Rear brake: Braktec disc 220mm
Tyres: Michelin Enduro
Weight (FE 250): 106kg (without fuel)
Weight (FE 350): 106.8kg (without fuel)
Weight (FE 450): 108.3kg (without fuel)
Availability: Available now
Further information: www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com