2009 Husaberg FE450 And FE570 Web Impression - Dirt Rider Magazine

Husaberg has always been different. Different intakes, different frames, different power...different everywhere. Now, the company that always goes their own way has thrown a huge wrench into the train of conventional off-road motorcycle thought.With their all-new FE line, Husaberg is changing some rules.

The first rule they looked to break in making the 2009 FE lineup was that four-strokes have to be heavy handling and awkward. With this thought they designed what you're now seeing as reality: an engine that is literally flipped upside-down on itself.Moving the Crankshaft to the center of gravity on the bike isn't an easy thing. But the engineers' goal to eliminate the heavy feel of conventional four-strokes was one they took seriously. So, they simply chopped a Husaberg motor apart in their shop, welded the crank above the transmission and went to testing. The result is this radical 70-degree single overhead cam fuel injected 450 or 570 cc engine.When I break with the first test later this week I'll get into the intricate details of what makes the Husaberg unique (like it's fey, composite subframe, Viking axe shrouds, crazy exhaust header, etc.) but for now, let me give you my first impression after riding it.It's been a couple days since I rode the 'berg. Honestly, I wanted to get this done earlier and I've been excited to start talking about the bike since I knocked the dust out of my goggles from the test. However, the ISDE sort of grabbed me by both arms and drug me around for the past few days. It's a fast-paced event and one I'm still getting used to covering. But let's get back to this Husaberg!Riding in Greece is a lot like the Rocky Mountains of North America or any terrain that transitions from a hotter, flatter valley to decently high, cool peaks of pine-tree filled forests. Our testing course was a mix of fast fire roads and single-track bouncing along the sides of a stream. The soil condition was dry, dry and drier (unless you were on either side of a stream crossing).The Husaberg proved to deliver on the hype of a light-handling, easy-to-ride big-boy enduro bike. You really forget your riding a heavy bike when you get on this thing. It's impressive. I rode the 450 for the majority of our test day and was more than happy with the way it handled. You really notice the benefit when turning quickly or if you need to change directions to avoid something. The bike moves more instinctively, like a small-bore two-stroke, than most four-strokes.The power delivery is still brought with that lovely Husaberg chug. The bike feels like it has plenty of crank mass pumping with the piston movement and is a traction-hungry beast. And it loves to chug! You can tractor this bad-boy like farmer John and just smile your way up nearly any climb. Compression braking is a bit aggressive and is a quick reminder that you're actually riding a four-stroke. Use it to your advantage and it's all good.I also spent a lot of time on the 570. That, my friends is a big dirt bike, and one that all you well-fed American dirt bike lovers will enjoy. It's got the big-bore potency to feed anyone's hunger for displacement. I really enjoyed riding the big bike. It made me feel small again.Suspension action on both of the big thumpers was great at trail riding and medium-to-fast paced enduro loops. Once I tried to really step it up and get aggressive, I was punishing the fork. It's a plushness I didn't really want to give up in the name of speed so I simply slowed down to a more reasonable pace, rode more smoothly and proceeded to go faster than I was with my agro-Americano style.Well, that's the first impression of the Husabergs. Keep your eyes peeled for more on the bikes in the next couple of days.