Husqvarna’s extremely capable FE 350 S and FE 501 S return with the same updates as its 2016 four-stroke off-road machines.
When it comes time to name the truly off-road worthy dual-sport machines, the ones that you could actually ride to a local off-road race, compete in that race and then ride home (if your butt could take it), Husqvarna is one of few brands on that list. For 2016 the company is once again offering two dual-sport models worthy of consideration by hard-core off-road racers.
2016 Husqvarna FE 350 S
A street-legal dual-sport variant of the FE 350, the 2016 FE 350 S combines power that approaches that of a 450cc off-road motorcycle with the light weight and agility of a 250–the best of both worlds. Just like the off-road only model, the FE 350 S nimble yet stable chassis helps riders tackle rough terrain with confidence. The difference is that the FE 350 S, which is equipped with turn signals, a high/low beam headlight, tail light and an EPA approved on-highway silencer with spark arrestor, is not confined only to the dirt.
2016 Husqvarna FE 501 S
Based on the dirt-only FE 501, the 2016 Husqvarna FE 501 S is designed to deliver a combination of sharp handling, open-class power and the ability to go anywhere. Powered by a 510.4 cc SOHC engine, the FE 501 S can easily eat up miles of tarmac or climb a rock-strewn hill. Street-legal equipment such as turn signals, mirrors and an EPA approved on-highway exhaust allows the FE 501 S to extend the hunt for adventure and new challenges beyond the end of the trail.
2016 Model Updates
Husqvarna made a few specific changes to the FE 350 S and FE 501 S as part of its internal updates of the FE 350 and FE 501 off-road models. For 2016, the FE 350 S’ twin-pump oiling system has been modified to prevent damage from over-filling with oil. The mods were made also to improve lubrication in extreme terrain such as steep climbs or descents. The FE 350 S also gets a new bearing on the input shaft of the transmission for smoother shifts. A new bolt and washer also simplifies mounting of the shift lever.
The FE 501 S receives an upgrade to its DDS (Damped Diaphragm Steel) clutch in the form of an 80 gram lighter clutch basket with an updated pressure plate for better modulation with improved durability. The clutch basket itself is a single-piece CNC machined steel unit that allows the use of thin steel liners to create a thinner profile.
In general, the 2016 Dual-Sport models benefit from a host of changes made to the 2016 Husqvarna off-road model chassis, including a new, lighter 22mm front axle that is 4mm smaller in diameter than the previous axle. The smaller diameter reduces weight by 40 grams and also allows the axle clamps to be tucked in tighter, which increases trail for more stability. Husqvarna also fitted a new, black, CNC-machined triple clamp with a 2mm increase in offset to 22mm, which reduces the trail again in an effort to achieve what Husqvarna calls an optimal balance between agility and stability. The clamp has also been designed to exhibit specific flex characteristics to offer the rider better front end feedback. The clamp also offers the rider the option of setting the handlebar in one of four different positions to tailor ergonomics for a wider variety of rider sizes.
The Husqvarna dual-sport models also feature a WP four-chamber, 4CS fork with revised settings to work with the new front-end geometry. Each model has specific damping settings that Husqvarna says will help improve handling while offering more plushness. Out back, a WP DCC (Dual Compression Control) shock with revised damping matches the geometry and settings of the new front-end. The shock is fully adjustable for rebound damping, high/low speed compression damping and preload.
Husqvarna paid close attention to reducing unsprung weight in 2016, particularly with the wheels. Thus, 2016 models feature lighter spokes for an overall unpsrung weight reduction of 100 grams. Likeweise, a blue anodized Supersprox 2K rear sprocket with an aluminum inner ring reduces unsprung weight by 50% compared to the previous sprocket. The ring is mated to a high-strength steel outer ring of teeth for greater durability than a full aluminum sprocket. The 2016 Huskies also receive new brake discs manufactured by GFK on the front and rear. Husqvarna says that the new discs offer stronger braking power and increased control.
Addressing styling, the 2016 models naturally sport new graphics. The new colors include a dark blue pearl with bright yellow accents. The front fender, rear fender and headlight mask plastics are a bright white to complete the traditional Husqvarna color scheme. The 2016s also receive a new seat cover that is said to improve grip compared to the previous material. Its deep blue color blends right in with the new body colors and graphics. Also, the 2016s receive new fork protectors designed to offer improved access to the fork leg for easier maintenance and cleaning. The protector no longer wraps around the lower leg, which makes for easier replacement. Husqvarna says that the fork legs feature high-quality inmould graphics in white plastic to keep them looking good for a long time.
For more information on the 2016 Husqvarna Dual-Sport models, visit Husqvarna-Motorcycles.com.