2020 Husqvarna FC 250 First Ride Review

Noticeable suspension setting changes for Husqvarna’s 250F motocrosser.

2020 Husqvarna FC 250 riding at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
Riding the 2020 Husqvarna FC 250 at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.Jeff Allen

Last year's 250F Motocross Shootout runner-up, the Husqvarna FC 250 was heavily updated in 2019. A stiffer frame, revised suspension settings, a different header pipe and muffler, a new exhaust camshaft, a new Diaphragm Steel (DS) clutch, and updated bodywork were among the main changes made to the bike for MY19. In 2020, Husqvarna set out to refine that package with different valving in the fork and shock, and including an additional interchangeable airbox cover with the bike, which has six vents to allow more airflow for a sharper throttle response and a more aggressive power delivery. We rode the 2020 Husqvarna FC 250 at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, for a first-ride shakedown and noted the differences made to it for MY20.

Engine

2020 Husqvarna FC 250 posed in front of mountain.
Left: The Husqvarna FC 250 received several updates in 2019. The bike receives a few minor revisions to improve the engine power and suspension comfort for 2020. Right: The stock fork air pressure setting has increased by 0.1 bar, while the rear shock spring rate remains the same at 4.2 kilograms. The setting changes come from the valving in both units.Jeff Allen

The FC 250 engine provides a smooth power delivery from bottom to top. It has decent bottom-end for a 250F, and really begins to come alive in the midrange and pulls all the way to the rev limiter. For that reason, the best time to shift is just before you hit the rev limiter, and no sooner. With that type of high-rpm powerband, it naturally suits intermediate and pro-level riders best, but vet and novice-level riders can make great use of it just as well so long as they can learn to ride it aggressively. The Magura hydraulic clutch has a buttery smooth pull and resists fading throughout the course of a moto, even under heavy use.

2020 Husqvarna FC 250 vented airbox cover.
Like the FC 450 and FC 350, Husqvarna’s 250 four-stroke motocrosser comes with two airbox covers—an optional vented one (pictured) and the stock one, which is the same as last year.Jeff Allen

With the optional ventilated airbox cover installed, throttle response is improved. After we tested the two covers back to back, we left the ventilated unit on as it enabled the bike to rev faster through the rpm range. The two handlebar-mounted maps and traction control are the same as last year. The two maps aren’t drastically different. Map 1 is standard and offers a little bit more bottom-end than map 2. The more aggressive map 2 offers just slightly less bottom-end than map 1, but comes on stronger in the midrange with an improved torque feel. Our preferred choice was map 2.

Suspension, Chassis & Handling

2020 Husqvarna FC 250 jumping in front of mountain.
The WP Xact suspension components have a softer, more comfort-oriented feel with new settings for 2020.Jeff Allen

Husqvarna focused heavily on the settings of the WP Xact air fork and WP Xact shock for 2020. Unlike in years prior when it shared an identical suspension setup to the equivalent KTM models, Husky has stepped out on it own with a North American-specific suspension setup that differs from the orange bikes. The stock fork air pressure setting has increased by 0.1 bar over last year, going from 10.3 bar in 2019 to 10.4 bar in 2020, while the shock spring rate is the same at 4.2 kilograms. The setting changes come from the valving in both units.

The suspension changes made to the 2020 model are immediately noticeable on the track. The fork has a plusher feel that makes it much more compliant in braking bumps and transfers less feedback to the rider’s hands on small impacts. The shock still tracks well through chop but with added comfort over last year’s setting. We went two clicks in (stiffer) on the rebound on the fork and shock to slow down the suspension action and help the bike settle when cornering.

2020 Husqvarna FC 250 maneuvering at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.
The FC 250’s lightweight and nimble chassis makes it easy to maneuver and put where you want it.Jeff Allen

The FC 250 has an excellent chassis. It’s nimble on the ground and in the air, yet retains confidence-inspiring straight-line stability at speed. The Husqvarna’s bodywork is very agreeable and easy to get used to quickly. The Brembo brakes offer amazing stopping power yet are easy to modulate, and the ProTaper handlebar has an agreeable, flat bend. The seat is a bit firm, especially in comparison to the KTM; we’d prefer a softer one.

Overall Impression

In recent years, the Husqvarna FC 250 has offered a slightly more comfortable ride than its not-so-distant relative, the KTM 250 SX-F, with its composite carbon-fiber subframe. Some of that feeling went away when Husqvarna changed the design of its subframe from a three-piece in 2018 and prior to a more rigid two-piece subframe last year. With that, the 2019 Husqvarna FC 250 and KTM 250 SX-F felt more similar than ever. However, with Husqvarna’s country-specific suspension settings for 2020, the FC 250 is beginning to differentiate itself more from KTM. The added plushness and bump absorption of the ’20 model is an improvement, and with more testing, we’ll see how heavier riders gel with the softer setup as well.

Gearbox

2020 Husqvarna FC 250 turning corner.
Throttle response is improved with the optional ventilated airbox cover installed.Jeff Allen

TECH SPEC

PRICE $9,199
ENGINE 249.9cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Steel central double-cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION WP Xact 48mm fork adjustable for air pressure, compression damping, and rebound damping; 12.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION WP Xact shock adjustable for spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 11.8-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo 2-piston caliper, 260mm disc
REAR BRAKE Brembo 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc
WHEELBASE 58.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 37.4 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.9 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 219.4 lb. (w/ all fluids except fuel)
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT husqvarna-motorcycles.com