RIDING THE 2020 HUSQVARNA FE350S DUAL-SPORT–THE WRAP

RIDING THE 2020 HUSQVARNA FE350S DUAL-SPORT

The Husqvarna FE350S  remains one of our favorite dual-sport bikes of the year. This year, it has an “S” suffix because there is another FE350 in the line; a 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.

2020 Husqvarna FE350S
2020 Husqvarna FE350S

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.

The Husky comes with Conti TKC80 tires, mostly for noise compliance.

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.

The Husky FE models come with a radiator fan. Unlike some other off-road bikes, it doesn’t run continuously.

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.

NEW NGPC SCHEDULE–IDAHO ADDED!

The AMA National Grand Prix Championship has tentatively announced a new schedule to complete the 2020 season. It will kick off on 9-11-20 in Cache Valley, Idaho. This will be the first time that the championship has gone to Idaho, and in fact, the first time it has ventured out of the California/Arizona/Nevada area. To be fair, the National Championship status of this series is only in its second year, but it is the best-attended off-road race series in the west. After that, it will continue with two races a month.

HAAKER OUT OF ACTION

It turned out that Colton Haaker has had more setbacks after suffering heat exhaustion at the ToughlikeRorr enduro last month. He has a broken hand, as well, causing him to miss more of the AMA Extreme Enduro Series. After the ToughlikeRorr, he had this to say: “The race was going well and I was having fun till about two hours in and the walls starting closing in. Heat exhaustion isn’t fun. I completely lost my mind panic attacked and thought I was gonna die. With a half a mile left of the race I couldn’t even think or see straight enough to fathom finishing. Physically I felt fine but the heat broke me down and pretty much fried my brain. It’s not easy to openly admit that I lost the ability to control my emotions and mental state. But after some google research it is a common side effect of heat stroke. Have never experienced such a thing. Feel ok now minus a headache and wish this race went differently but it is what it is. Live and learn. Thanks to the spectators and track workers for the help and water. Has anyone had a similar experience with heat stroke or exhaustion? What did you experience? How did you cope or recover and prevent it in the future? I drank plenty of water and electrolytes more than I regularly would in these types of races.”

VEGAS TO RENO UPDATE

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in various states across the country, including Nevada, has given the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pause in making the final decision to sign the permit application for Best In The Desert’s 2020 Maxxis Tires “Casey Folks” Vegas to Reno Presented by Fox.

The event is still planned for August 12-15, 2020 as originally scheduled, but may be postponed until a later date to allow coronavirus cases to subside.

Best In The Desert is sharing this news with its loyal racers, sponsors, and fans to keep them informed and up-to-date on all the details affecting the status of the race. While Best In The Desert staff and organizers have been working tirelessly to plan a safe event following CDC guidelines, positive COVID-19 cases have recently peaked in several southern states including Nevada. Even though cases are currently trending downwards we all must wait to see if the trend continues.

 

LORETTA LYNN’S

The Amateur National Motocross championship will kick off on Tuesday at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Tennessee, more or less as planned. The first class of the week will be 125C, as shown below. It all will be broadcast on RacerTV. Go to MXsports.com for more information.

TUESDAY:

1 125 C 7:30 am
2 450 B 8:00 am
3 Vet (30+) 8:30 am
4 85cc (10-12) Limited 9:00 am
5 Mini Sr. 2 (13-15) 9:30 am
6 Masters (50+) 10:00 am
7 250 B Limited 10:30 am
8 65cc (10-11) Limited 11:00 am
9 250 C 11:30 am
10 65cc (7-9) Limited 12:00 pm
11 Mini Sr. 1 (12-14) 12:30 pm
Intermission 1:00 pm
12 Senior (40+) 1:30 pm
13 Women 2:00 pm
* 250 Pro Sport 2:30 pm
* 250 B 3:00 pm
14 125cc (12-17) B/C 3:30 pm
15 250 C Limited 4:00 pm
16 Junior (25+) 4:30 pm
17 College (18-24) 5:00 pm
18 Girls (11-16) 5:30 pm
19 Supermini 2 (13-16) 6:00 pm
20 250 C Jr. (12-17) Limited 6:30 pm

 

ROCKSTAR SWAG

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.
PRELOAD ADJUSTER
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,

–Ron Lawson

 

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