Husaberg FS 650e Supermoto
Husaberg FS 650e Supermoto
2004 - 05
Four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 4 valves
644 cc / 39.6 cu-in
Bore x Stroke
100 x 82 mm
Keihin CVR 32
Pressure circulation, trochoit oil pump
Electric & Kick
Wet multi-disc clutch, operated hydraulically
WP USD 4860 MA
WP PDS 5018 MCC
Single 260mm disc
Single 220mm disc
1490 mm / 58.7 in
950 mm / 37.4 in
113 kg / 249 lbs
10.5 Litres / 2.7 US gal
Pure mischief lies in the heart of this bike.
Wheelies, stoppies, power slides; if it can get you a traffic ticket, this bike
can do it. Not being much of hooligan myself, I wondered how I would like the
Husaberg. The short answer is that I loved this bike despite being humbled by
Husabergs are a new return to the US market. Founded in 1988, former Husqvarna
employees found themselves without work after Cagiva had taken over and
Husqvarna and then promptly replaced all the Husky parts with Cagiva bits. Well,
our heroes wanted to restore pride to the Nordic tradition of off-road bikes,
thus was born Husaberg. They have been campaigned successfully in Europe for
some time. Now, ironically the Husaberg has been bought by KTM but rest assured
the engineering wing of Husaberg remains planted firmly in Sweden.
Our test mule is the FS 650e Super Moto bike. The Super Moto style of racing
combines the light, agile bikes of motocross with a tight road course and short
dirt section. Not a battle of horsepower, it is instead a test of agility and
handling. A skilled rider will often slide his bike into a corner à la flat
track racing. Based on their enduro model, this literally is a race bike with a
license plate attached. This is not a slogan, it’s the truth. Lacking the
refined civility of a machine intended for mass consumption, the FS 650e is raw
and hard edged. It likes to be ridden hard and will perform at a level beyond
most riders. Even the obligatory warning sticker bears witness to this. And I
quote, “This machine is intended for MAINLY competition use.” The street version
is built with a kit from the standard race bike.
Husaberg is unapologetic for the hard-edged competitive nature of their
machines. The brochure I read unabashedly proclaimed they are not a “lifestyle”
company. You get a high-tuned motorcycle available in one-color. If that doesn’t
work for you, a Husaberg isn’t the bike you’re looking for.
Husaberg has defined itself as a four-stroke company. Their line-up contains 3
variations of the same, single cylinder motor. The FS650e is the largest of the
family, using a hugely over-square bore of 100mm x 80mm to achieve a
displacement of 628cc. This ultra compact motor is a marvel of well thought out
design. The cases are very narrow; hardly any of the motor extends past the
lower portion of the frame. There are no external oil lines to snag or smash off
,and the coolant hoses are adequately tucked out of harm’s way. Husaberg didn’t
give us any specs on horsepower but the informed say power is in the range of
65hp at the rear wheel. The model we tested did have an electric start. It was a
nice feature even if it does add a few pounds to the bike.
The big single can be hard starting due to its high compression ratio. This is
alleviated by a compression release located on the bars. The choke was located
in a rather difficult spot to reach under the tank. Once started the motor warms
quickly. To help with hot starts, a second choke button is also located on the
carb, which opens a different air passage. Not a motor to be babied, you’re best
advised to grab a hand full of throttle and feather the clutch on take offs.
Both Sev and I killed the motor like a pair of rookies before we got the hang of
The motor is carried on a simple and elegant chrome-moly steel frame. I actually
got see and lift a stripped frame. It’s super-light, maybe 30-35 pounds, and
uses the main backbone of the frame as the airbox. Genius. The rear swing-arm is
a very long ,cast aluminum piece. It was obvious for the length of the swing arm
and the size of the rear shock that the Husaberg has huge suspension travel;
over 10.8” in the front and 11.3” in the rear.
So, how do they build a Super Moto? Hang from the aforementioned motor, some
minimalist bodywork, and some high end WP suspension units. The bodywork is
standard motocross-style plastic, with a few Husaberg touches. It’s light and
cheap to replace for the racing crowd. The suspension, on the other hand, is
first rate all the way. Up front are inverted shocks with full adjustments
including high speed rebound dampening, an adjustment only found top shelf
components. In back the Husaberg has a monstrous WP mono shock that features all
the adjustability of the front. Put massive brakes front and rear with trick
wave rotors. To finish it off, lace up some fat Behr rims and spoon on stick
Michelin radial tires.
The ride on the Husaberg can be a bit punishing. The seat is about as wide as a
2x4 and about as comfortable. After 30 miles I was ready for a break. The
vibrations from the motor are felt in the bars at high revs. I used it as an
indication I was approaching redline. The controls were a bit of an after
thought. They work but were not well integrated. The gauges consist of a simple
LED readout that has readouts for multiple lap timers, average speed, max speed,
etc. I never completely figured them out. The headlight is sad at best; night
rides should be reserved for full moons. But who cares! This bike weighs only
240 pounds and has 65hp.
All that power is delivered to the ground to sticky radials tires which inspire
confidence. Pick a line and throw it into a corner. It’s almost impossible to
not have fun on this bike. I myself found wishing desperately for tighter
corners. I clicked my riding boots together three times, but wasn’t transported
to Deal’s Gap. The Husaberg and I were stuck firmly in Minnesota.
The corners couldn’t get tight enough for the Husaberg. Cornering clearance is
equal to lying on your side. You run out of tires or crash before anything
starts dragging. On a couple of occasions I even managed to slide the rear wheel
a little into a corner, giggling the whole time. The suspension was very firm
but provided excellent feedback, always letting me know what the wheels were
In the end, I was simply humbled by the Husaberg. It can perform at a level far
above anything I’m capable of. It begs to be ridden hard and I felt bad for not
showing it a better time. A better rider could have made it really sing. Sure I
could lift the front wheel or do a mild stoppie, but my best efforts had the
Husaberg yawning. Is that all you’re going to do?
The model we tested was an ‘05 and the ‘06 do have a few refinements but they
mainly amount to bold new graphics.
For the Super Moto fanatic, this is the bike to buy. The power, weight, and top
quality components make this a hard bike to beat. Those looking for a more
refined street machine should look elsewhere; you will only be disappointed by
the Husaberg’s hard-edged race pedigree. For you urban commuting guerillas this
one is hard to top. And for the Super Moto racers, why spend $16 grand building
a machine that you can buy for $9 grand?
by Sev Pearman
Forty-one…G-G-G-Gug. Forty-two…G-G-G-Gug. Forty-three…G-G-G-Gup-rum-rum-pfff.
C’mon baby…I know you are ready to go…Forty-four…G-G-G-Gug. I fall forward on
the bars, sweating and winded, unable to coax the ferocious 650cc single to
life. Forty-plus jabs on the kickstarter have put a bruise on my left calf that
will mock me for more than a week. I have long ago run the miniscule battery
down and the only way home is via the boot. Either I kickstart this Husaberg or
I am pushing it home.
I had tried three bump-starts earlier, but the stratospheric seat height foiled
me. I recalled the wrath from die Publisher and the $2,000 repair bill when I
dropped another test bike on a gravel parking lot and reluctantly unfolded the
kicker for another series of swings.
A kindly father and former motocross racer takes pity on me and we jumped it. I
thank him for his trouble and quickly roared home to plug in the Battery Tender
and contemplate the beast that is the 2005 Husaberg FS 650e.
Husaberg is a Swedish company created when Italian bike conglomerate Cagiva
purchased legendary motocross manufacturer Husqvarna in 1987. Former Husky
employees formed Husaberg the following year and went back to what they did
before; building monstrous 4-stroke single-cylinder off-road bikes with
lightweight frames and excellent chassis.
The recipe worked and Husaberg enjoyed sales and track success. Dirt bike
manufacturing rival KTM purchased Husaberg in another Euro-brand shuffle in
1995. KTM moved Husaberg assembly to Austria in 2003, but retains Husaberg as a
separate brand and keeps R&D in Sweden.
What is it?
I am riding a 2005 Husaberg FS 650e. It is a purpose-built, track-ready Super
Moto weapon. Super Moto is a growing form of racing combining elements of road
racing, flat track and motocross. Super Moto tracks contain both paved and
unpaved sections. Typical Super Moto machines are modified dirt bikes with
lowered suspensions and different wheels carrying street rubber. Flexibility and
agility are prized more than outright horsepower or top speed.
The FS 650e is Husaberg’s turnkey Super Moto race bike. Derived from their
ferocious Enduro bike, it has all that bike’s power and strength morphed into a
Super Moto package. The engine is a 628cc (100mm x 80mm) liquid-cooled single
with 4-valve OHC head and 11.8:1 compression ratio. It is a cammy screamer that
begs for 3/4 to full throttle.
Once the motor warms enough to turn off the enrichener, you can get down to
business. While this bike can be run at sedate engine speeds it will grumble.
Low-speed bogging is undoubtedly due to EPA strangulation. The Husaberg would
breathe easier with larger pilot jet(s) and a change in needle position. The FS
will fight you below what feels like 5,000 rpm. Above that, the cam kicks in and
it screams out a rorty Bwaaaahhp! – Bwaaaahhp! as you row through the gearbox.
Fuel is gulped through a 41mm Keihin FCR-MX carb. Why a carb and not fuel
injection? Factory teams have techs capable of injection mapping. Do you bring
your laptop trackside? This is a machine for real-world racers and Keihin FCRs
are proven and bombproof. FCR-MX models have additional features for off-road
use including a hot start knob in addition to the cold start enrichener.
Burned dinosaurs exit through a beautiful twin-port nickel-plated pipe and trick
aluminum exhaust can. Yes, it is loud. Yes, I forever bitch about loud exhausts.
Call me a hypocrite - I don’t care. I am under the voodoo spell of this evil
beast. Note that you have to snake your left glove over the sizzling header to
reach the enrichener and hot start knobs. Hope you have good gloves.
Full-on singles are delicious. They are slender and easy to move about on. They
are simple. A single is four times as easy to tune than a four, and 1/4 as
costly. They are lightweight. The Husaberg has a claimed weight of only 110 kg
(242.5 lbs) I like a bike that makes 65 hp and weighs less than me.
Combine a powerful motor with little mass and you get the keys to one-wheel
riding. I brought the Hoozy to our pavement skunk works and went to work. Simply
rev to 3,500 rpm and release the clutch. The front end of the Husaberg raises
with zero effort. Owner Brett Donahue of Donahue Harley-Davidson/Buell in Sauk
Rapids cheerfully pulled repeated riding wheelies in the dealership lot. To put
it another way, even your geezer editor can wheelie this motorcycle.
Braking is phenomenal; a perfect blend of easy-to-modulate power and sensitive
feel. Up front, a FTE four-piston radially-mounted floating caliper pinches a
honking 310mm (12.2 in) stainless steel rotor. A Brembo single-piston floating
caliper grabs a 220mm (8.7 in) stainless rotor in the rear. Here’s another
pointer: keep looking well ahead when on only the front wheel.
The Behr wheels are gorgeous; beefy spokes laced to polished aluminum rims. The
front tire is a 120/70-17, the rear wears 160/60-17 rubber. Brake dust and road
grime wipe off easily. I don’t know why every super moto bike I have ever seen
runs spokes over cast wheels. Readers?
The rear shock is a top-of-the-line WP unit, adjustable for spring preload,
rebound, and both high and low-speed compression damping. The shock is
undersprung for my bulk but should be fine for sub-200-pounders. The fork is
also by WP, also adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping.
Both front and rear are fully rebuildable.
While the Super Moto shares the excellent chassis and suspension as the Enduro
model it also shares the seat. The narrow thin perch is well-suited for enduro
riding where you have to slide all over the bike and spend little time in the
saddle. Unfortunately, it makes a terrible seat for the street. In fact, it is,
without question the most painful seat I have ever sat on in twenty-five years
of riding. Tough. Our cruisers are over here, sir.
The sticker on the rear fender says it all: “Mainly for competition use.” There
is no chainguard. There are no passenger provisions. The detachable headlight
sourced from the enduro is a reading light at best. The exhaust, while good for
the track, is l-o-u-d on the street. The Husaberg 650 is buzzy, the seat sucks,
the blinker indicator didn’t work and I never saw a neutral light. I loved every
minute of it.
The starting technique? Make sure the petcocks are open, pull out the
carb-mounted enrichener; disengage the clutch; squeeze the decompression lever
with your left index finger; hit the starter button; let it spin through two or
three cycles; release the decompression lever and mmwwWWAAAARRrrr! The Husaberg
FS 650e will roar to life every time. Once I figured out this technique, I
secured the kickstart lever and never looked back.
Thanks to Donahue Harley-Davidson/Buell in Sauk Rapids, MN for their help in
this review. They are the only Husaberg dealer serving central and southern
Minnesota. Donahue can be reached at 320-251-6980 or www.american-thunder.com.
Wife’s First Reaction: “It looks like a box of crayons.”
Unholy Beast: Raw and unrefined
More lean than you can use or imagine
“One-Wheeled Riding for Dummies”
Summon the Priest: Raw and unrefined.
The Husaberg 650 can smell fear.
Kickstart ritual can make you cry.
By the numbers
Rider: Editor Pearman
5’-10”/250 lbs/32” (height/weight/inseam)
Total miles driven: 3 tankfulls
Fuel consumption: 47mpg
Ducati Hypermotard (2007); Husqvarna SM 610; KTM 625 SMC; Suzuki DR-Z400SM