Pierer Industrie AG, the Austrian group that owns KTM, Husaberg and now Husqvarna, recently unveiled the 2014 Husaberg line. We were told these would be last Husabergs brought to market as an “independent make,” underscoring rumors that the company will soon be conglomerated into Husqvarna. This makes sense, as Husqvarna is a century old and still very respected. Husaberg, on the other hand, is only 25 years old, a Husqvarna offspring that materialized when a group of technicians did not want to move to Varese, Italy, when the Swedish make was acquired by the Cagiva Group.
Husaberg’s 2014 lineup is based on seven highly specialized ISDT-enduro bikes—four powered by four-stroke engines (the FE series) and three by two-stroke mills (the TE series), all maintaining a close relationship with their KTM counterparts.
Among the four-strokes, the FE250 has received the most improvements. It gets a new dohc Single that is expected to set the standard in ISDT in power and torque. When you analyze factors such as layout, the design of the combustion chamber, and bore and stroke measurements, it’s natural to assume the new Husaberg 250 unit is essentially the same as KTM’s 250 SX-F motor. Bore and stroke are identical at 78.0 x 52.3mm, but the Husaberg’s compression ratio of 12.8:1 is tame compared to the KTM’s 13.9:1.
Consequently, the Husaberg is less stressed and smoother to respond. Smoothness is also enhanced by the FE250’s 42mm Keihin throttle body, which replaces the 44mm KTM unit. Compared to last year’s engine, the stroke has gone down from 54.8 to 52.3mm, while bore has increased from 76.0 to 78.0mm, thus granting extra room for larger valves. The result? More power, higher torque and extra revvability.
The crankshaft of the FE250 remains of the pressed type, but it now features a larger-diameter crankpin because the main end of the con-rod is now on plain bearings instead of the traditional caged needle bearings. Husaberg says plain bearings ensure extra reliability and longer life. What’s more, the round flywheels of the crankshaft are five percent heavier, smoothing engine response further and improving traction. Power has not been announced, but Husaberg has told us the 2014 Husaberg FE250 tips the scales at a svelte 231.4 pounds.
In other news, all the 2014 Husaberg four-strokes (FE250, FE350, FE450 and FE501), now sport a new clutch assembly that features a solid diaphragm-type spring for lighter actuation effort and superior reliability. These bikes also use a modified frame with thinner-gauge, chrome-moly tubing in the cradle section to reduce the flexional rigidity of the structure while retaining the same torsional strength. This balancing act improves the capability of the frame structure to absorb the snatchy longitudinal loads that the rear wheel dumps on the frame whenever traction is lost and suddenly regained.
In the sole bit of Husaberg two-stroke news for 2014, the TE125, TE250 and TE300 models all benefit from a reshaped combustion chamber and new reed valve.