RIDING THE 2020 HUSQVARNA FE350S DUAL-SPORT
Husqvarna updated its dual-sport bikes for 2020 and we already have time on a brand-new FE350S. This year, the “S” suffix returned because there is another FE350 in the line; a new dirt-only version of the same bike. Both variations have the newer frame design and bodywork that were introduced on the motocross bikes two years ago. The dual-sport version is a little quieter and a little cleaner than the all-dirt one and has full DOT equipment. The first questions we get are usually about “unplugging” any dual-sport bike. The Husky still has a reed valve in the air boot for quieter ride-by test compliance. The Husqvarna guys claim this actually benefits low-end power so much so that Jason Anderson tested it for Supercross. He decided against running it in competition, though. We’re sure that many riders will still opt to remove the reed valve anyway, but they should be wary that this will make the bike run poorly unless the EFI system is remapped as well–and that’s very difficult. Riders who do this generally replace the entire intake boot with the one from the motocross bike. On the KTM version (the 350EXC) that particular modification can’t be done. The KTM dual-sport has PDS suspension and a completely different airbox. The Husqvarna dual-sport, however, has linkage rear suspension.
The good news is that the bike runs great without any modifications whatsoever. No joke. The bike starts, idles and doesn’t cough or flame out at all. We can’t even say that about many unrestricted motocross bikes. It’s still fully emissions and noise compliant without any “cheats” like a throttle stop or an inner baffle. I never thought it would be possible. Don’t misunderstand me, though–the FE350F isn’t especially powerful. It’s a good 10 horsepower down compared to the motocross version. The motor is much, much smoother and, in fact, better for off-road applications. For trail riding, you don’t need or want any more power.
We were a little concerned that the new frame wouldn’t work well for a dual-sport or trail bike. It’s much more rigid than the previous version, but the FE350 is still a fairly comfortable bike. The WP XPLOR fork and shock are very soft. It makes for a cushy ride at a casual pace. It might even be over kill. When you grab a handful of front brake the fork dives excessively and when you get into whoops, it’s easy to use up all the rear suspension travel. We get it. Husqvarna is aiming to make this bike a comfy cruiser, and they figure that more aggressive riders will find modifications to suit them. Same goes for the tires. The Continental TKC80 tires were chosen because they are quiet, not because they are good on the trail. You can get away with the rear in the dirt, but the front has to be swapped for a knobby if you want to have any fun. You have to install rim locks, too. Stock, the bike is delivered without them.
Once you have good rubber, the bike handles great. It’s amazingly light for a dual-sport bike. On our scale, it weighs 237 pounds without fuel (but with mirrors). That’s lighter than the Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki 450 motocross bikes. This year, Husqvarna dropped the 250 and the 450 dual-sport bikes, leaving only the 350 and 501. Not too many riders will miss the 250, which was a fun bike but very expensive. The 501 is great, but you have to be a fan of big-bores, which aren’t for everyone. That means the 350 will be the bike that’s right for most riders. It’s a truely great motorcycle that can be taken straight into the dirt in stock form.
If you want to take it to the next level, you’ll want dirt tires (with rim locks and wheel balancing) and stiffer suspension. As far as motor mods, take our advice and leave it alone for a while. If you really decide you want more power, you can go down that road, but be aware that it has to start with EFI modification and that legally turns the bike into a closed-course competition machine. You can keep the DOT equipment in place, even if you convert to dirt-only status. This is one of the first dual-sport test bikes that still has all its blinkers and DOT stuff after a week of riding. Usually, that stuff falls off immediately. So far so good. It looks like the license plate bracket might be the first to go.
HAAKER NOT DEFENDING HIS SUPERENDURO TITLE
This weekend will be the first round of the 2020 FIM Super Enduro Championship in Poland. Unfortunately, defending champion Colton Haaker will not be there. The three-time champion stated on social media that he will be staying home and thanked Husqvarna for past support. Instead, Husqvarna is pinning its hopes on Alfredo Gomez and Billy Bolt. Cody Webb has only been cleared to ride for about two weeks, so he won’t be able to debut his new Sherco until February. America will be represented, though. Ty Cullins will be there on a privateer bike. Taddy Blazusiak will doubtlessly be there for his home crowd. Dirt Bike wandering editor Brandon Krause will be there covering the event for www.dirtbikemagazine.com.
Calendar – 2020 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship
Round 1: December 7, 2019 – Krakow, Poland
Round 2: January 4 – Riesa, Germany
Round 3: January 18 – A Coruna, Spain
Round 4: February 1 – Budapest, Hungary
Round 5: March 14 – Lodz, Poland
2020 WORLD ENDURO SUPER SERIES
The World Enduro Super Series schedule for 2020 has been announced. This series has eclipsed the FIM world Enduro Championship in terms of prominence and factory support. So far, we don’t know of any Americans who will be contesting the entire series, but Round three will definitely have Cody Webb and others. The
2020 WESS Enduro World Championship Schedule
Round 1: Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 8-10
Round 2: Trefle Lozerien AMV (France) May 21-23
Round 3: Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble (Austria) June 10-14
Round 4: Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland ) June 27-28
Round 5: Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 21-25
Round 6: Tennessee Knockout (USA) August 15-16
Round 7: Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (UK) September TBC
Round 8: Hixpania Hard Enduro (Spain) October 9-11
WESTERN HARE SCRAMBLES
The AMA Hare Scramble West series is wrapped up with Max Gersten winning his second title. Round eight in Wilseyville took place on November 23 with Joe Wasson getting the win, and the video recap came out last week. Check it out!
THE LAST CHAMPIONSHIP
All of the major titles for 2019 are wrapped up–except one. The Big Six GP series was granted National Championship status by the AMA for this year and renamed the National Grand Prix Championship. Trevor Stewart has been in control of the points from round two onward, but there’s still one race left. Lake Havasu will host the final round next weekend and Zach Bell is coming on strong. Zach missed two rounds but has won the other five. Now, he sits in second place, 15 points behind Stewart. The bottom line is that Stewart must finish fifth or better to keep his number one plate and turn it into his first National Championship. You can sign up for the NGPC series by clicking here.
In case you missed it, early today, Husqvarna released the 2020 Rockstar Edition. Once again, the bike features an FMF exhaust system, upgraded wheels and a number of high-profile parts. There are no major internal engine updates or frame changes, though, meaning that the 2021 FC450 will not be a major year of change for Husqvarna’s production motocross bike. You can check it out by clicking here.
Along with today’s announcement of the 2020 Husqvarna FC450 Rockstar Edition, Husqvarna released its line of casual gear and accessories. Here’s all the stuff you need for looking the part of a rockstar.
RS REPLICA HOODIE
A sports style hoodie that proudly displays the Rockstar Energy Drink and Husqvarna Motorcycles logos, the RS REPLICA HOODIE is an essential every-day item. Featuring high-quality workmanship, it is manufactured from a cotton and polyester mix for long lasting durability.
RS REPLICA FLEECE
A true go-to item for any occasion, the RS REPLICA FLEECE delivers protection from the cold and gives a factory look. From the high, stand-up collar to the closable side and breast pockets it is built to be functional, warm and comfortable.
RS STYLE SHIRT
Proudly displaying the Rockstar Energy Drink and Husqvarna Motorcycles logos the RS STYLE SHIRT brings together sports style and comfort, for a bold and stylish factory look. Designed to be truly comfortable to wear its high-quality workmanship ensures it’s both hard wearing and great looking.
RS REPLICA TEAM SNAPBACK CAP
A simple way to add a little extra style to your outfit, the RS REPLICA TEAM SNAPBACK CAP is guaranteed to keep all Husqvarna Motorcycles’ fans looking good.
RENTHAL TWINWALL HANDLEBAR
The handlebar used by more world champions than any other, Renthal’s renowned Twinwall 996 combines two handlebars in one. Delivering superior levels of strength, the anodised Husqvarna blue exterior both prevents corrosion and ensures a stylish finish. The lightweight inner bar has a special coating with nylon inserts allowing for thinner walls for reduced weight and beneficial flex properties.
BRAKE DISC GUARD
A highly functional part with a true factory look, Husqvarna Motorcycles’ carbon rear brake guard ensures essential, light-weight protection and is designed to prevent solid objects from interfering with braking performance.
BRAKE CALIPER PROTECTION
Made from high-quality carbon for extreme lightness and strength, the brake caliper protection delivers peace of mind due to increased protection of the rear brake caliper. Also adding eye-catching visual impact, it ensures all Husqvarna Motorcycles machines are set for competition.
HINSON OUTER CLUTCH COVER
The world’s most successful clutch cover, Hinson’s outer clutch cover is hard anodised to deliver extreme performance and boot wear resistance. Stronger than the equivalent standard part and made from aircraft quality aluminium the precision engineered covers also improve heat dissipation.
The Husqvarna Motorcycles’ preload adjuster enables fast, precise changes of the rear shock absorber for precise chassis fine-tuning. Easy to use its robust design ensures dirt-resistance and a mechanical drive.
FORK SHOE PROTECTION KIT
A simple and highly-effective kit designed to protect one of the most exposed parts of any offroad motorcycle – the bottom of the front fork legs. Attached in minutes, these durable plastic parts ensure high levels of dependable external armour.
That’s all for today,