The Torture Test - Husaberg/PowersportGrafx Husaberg FE450 - Dirt Rider Magazine

About the bike:
The 2009 Husaberg is an amazing bike in stock form. The 'Berg rewrites the book on 4-stroke handling. The majority of the parts are straight from proven KTM models so "teething" problems are not an issue. The fuel injected FE450 has one of the most powerful, tractable engines on the market. With multiple mapping programs available, you can go from mild to wild with a turn of the mapping switch dial. The closed-loop fuel injection system is flawless and saves hours of set-up time when compared to carburetors.Our focus was to take this remarkable machine to the next level. Taking lessons learned from years of racing KTM's in the eastern US; we have built our first version of a GNCC worthy bike that should be able to do it all. Our goal was to enhance durability with more protection and improve the chassis with proven components. This was accomplished with bolt-on goodies. Even though we have little time with this bike, we do not anticipate the need to make internal engine modifications to the already proven KTM mechanicals.Starting from the top, we replaced the bars with Renthals twinwall. This is a personal preference, but during the last few GNCC seasons, our race team used them exclusively. For most riders we removed or disabled the crossbar to aid rider comfort. Renthal does not recommend this modification, so do this at your own risk. We learned that the twinwall bar was extremely durable, even with the crossbar removed. We made press-in inserts to mount the Enduro Engineering hand guards. This is a bulletproof solution to the expandable inserts common to all hand guard kits. We also used the EE inner mounts that we have had zero failure with since we began using them. Grips were also a personal preference, but our riders preferred the Renthal Kevlar grips so we installed them and then safety wired them for extra measure.Topping off the bars is the new Husaberg steering damper. This damper is very compact and appears to be very high quality. We normally do not use a damper but it sure does look trick.Next up are the Husaberg radiator guards. Crushing a radiator can put an end to a great day of riding so this is a must.The stock brakes are great, but for added performance, we use the Husaberg racing floating front rotor and wave rear rotor. We also install the Enduro Engineering rear brake hose.To protect the chain and rear sprocket, we installed the Enduro Engineering chain guide.Other add-ons include all the billet parts from the Husaberg racing catalog, as well as the frame protectors, carbon fiber pipe guard and aluminum skid plate.To enhance engine performance, we added the adjustable map switch as well as the Acrophobic spark arrestor muffler.The biggest improvement for the 450 was the addition of the race proven WP SXS closed chamber forks. We set them up to the same basic specification that we used for our race team bikes. Taking springs and weight distribution into account. We re-valved the stock rear shock. This basic set-up has proven to be optimal for GNCC and Enduro as well as offering superior comfort for the occasional trail ride.For grip, we use Pirelli tires with Heavy-Duty tubes. In most racing situations, we use solid inserts. The Pirelli tires are a definite advantage "back east".The final piece was to dress the bike in graphics from Powersport Grafx ( We used one of our standard kits with GripZ(tm) on the shrouds and air box. GripZ(tm) offers just enough grip to help you hold on, but not enough to destroy your riding pants. GripZ(tm) really helps going up and down hills with keeping the bike planted while lessening fatigue.The bike was built in the Genuine Dirt Racer shop. This was the same shop that we ran our KTM support, GNCC team from for the last two seasons (51 class wins, 6 GNCC championships).The result has been the basis of a "do-it all" bike for "back east" woods competition and trail riding. It will be interesting to see how it reacts to a lack of trees.Parts and modifications:
Husaberg racing Parts and Wear
Available at your local dealer

Factory Fork MX (SXS) $3278.17
Steering Damper w/mounts $809.97
Misc Billet "Bling" $186.94
Aluminum Skid Plate $179.99
Frame Protectors $30.99
Carbon Pipe Guard $148.99
Acrophobic Ti Silencer $582.97
Map Switch $50.99
Floating Front Rotor $179.99
Wave Rear Disk $126.99_Enduro Engineering 517-393-2421or your local EE dealer_
Hand guards (all parts) $139.25
Rear Brake Hose $39.95_Powersport Grafx 800-903-6764 or you local PG dealer_
Complete Custom GripZ graphic set $232.95
Number Plate Backgrounds $59.95_Genuine Dirt Racer products 336-903-0303_
Suspension Revalve Front $304.20
Suspension Revalve Rear $230.00
Polished Front Fork Springs .48 $159.90
Renthal Twinwall $119.95
Renthal Kevlar grips $19.95
Pirelli MXMS front tire $92.35
Pirelli MXtra rear tire $100.75

Nick Fahringer rips up the Terrain Test on the Husaberg.

Dirt Rider Post Torture Evaluation
Best All-around bike because:
The Husaberg FE450 was Dirt Rider's Bike of the Year (along with its bigger brother the 570). So, it's safe to say that the bike has potential to beat the crap out of everything else. The ingenious engine design makes technical trail situations a breeze and brings two-stroke-like handling back to the thumper ranks. and the Genuine Dirt Racer shop took tons of experience in GNCC and off-road racing into building this bike and it should be the all-inclusive package.Not the best all-around bike because:
This bike was simply too far away from home. The Husaberg, while a revolution in four-stroke handling, doesn't shine in the faster wide open spaces of the great American west. The fast-paces of Rynoland's race-courses were too much for the 'Berg to battle and it fought its weight. The off-road gnarly prowess of the bike only had a couple places to shine and unfortunately its modifications made this bike more distant from stock than it needed to be.Dirt Rider SaysWe love it when gets involved in a project. Usually, they're one of the coolest looking bikes we'll see and Bart and his crew isn't afraid to hang it out in the style department. This Husaberg was no different. With a race-inspired graphic theme the bike looked more exotic than many factory bikes we've seen in a supercross pit. Add in the Factory KTM WP SXS forks, Akrapovich exhaust and generous amounts of Husaberg's own anodized accessories and you've got a big piece of blue eye candy. We couldn't wait to test it.This bike was clearly built for a purpose. That is to kick ass on trails and technical rides in the Eastern half of the country. The bike was built that way from the factory, too. And anyone who's ridden one in the tightest conditions (I have) can tell you that the bike simply rules there. The more slippery, off-camber and switch-backing you can make it, the better the Husaberg performs.Once out in the tests it became clear that Husaberg was here to show it could rail out west, too, and the bike dropped some great times. However, when our slew of DR testers got on board, some of the East side positives turned to West side negatives.California is mostly wide open. Even riding areas like Rynoland are biased towards some sort of speed. Sure, we had super-technical twisties, but they're minor compared to what a normal test ride back East would entail. In our open vastness, the Husaberg seemed to suffer. Its weight showed up and the suspension-while set up ideal for most of the trail situations-didn't perform well at high-speeds and under mass loads like our MX tests and GP trail sections.Likewise, the motor character of the Husaberg-smooth and strong with serious tractor pull-is almost perfect for trail riding. But when you pump it up and try to stretch it out you end up pushing it past it's comfort zone and the whole package suffers (mainly from vibration).This doesn't surprise us and doesn't say anything negative about the brand. After all, Husabergs are built for a purpose, and that is technical trail riding in the toughest conditions. Any time we've tried to stretch this bike in stock trim outside those areas we notice similar shortcomings. So, one that is modified with some weight-gaining parts (skid plate, steering damper, etc) is likely to perform similarly.We were a little surprised that the SXS fork setup didn't deliver some moto-track goodness but what we really want to do is get this thing back east and rip it up!Editor's Note
This year's Dirt Rider Torture Test was set it up like a screening for a reality TV show: Bring what you have and prepare for whatever happens. The idea was to show up at the Torture Test with the best all-around, one-bike-does-it-all off-road dirt bike, with no guidelines or requirements from our side. It was wide open, but everyone knew going in that it would be tough to make the cut to get into the final group of bikes you see in the magazine. Of course, they didn't all make it to the pages of Dirt Rider. Some missed out ever so slightly, some by a longer ways. This is a full test of one of the bikes that missed the final cut. The competition was tough but lurking in this field of bikes you can likely find an example of the perfect bike that fits your needs, or learn what other riders or people in the industry think is the best bike in the whole world. For the people and companies that built each of these bikes, it was the best bike they could deliver.-Jimmy Lewis, Editor Dirt Rider Magazine

Opinions:This bike was just a tad too aggressive for this test, the stock bike would have been better. The pipe made the power snappier and then the suspension was just on the stiff side so the bike bounced a little.
-Jimmy LewisThe Husaberg has very smooth power and is awesome for trail riding. The brakes are awesome, too. The Suspension was very soft for the motocross track and could be made usable from trail to track but overall it was too soft for track use.
-Clint CastleberrySuper smooth powerband and low end power that does not like to be revved out. The suspension doesn't hold up to motocross tracks with big jumps and landings and blows through. However, it never gets harsh and always has a soft feel to it. The Clutch action is smooth and great for the trails and the power tractors up any hill climb.
-Tyler RuizThe Husaberg suspension was really soft. Not so much on the trails but it bottomed out pretty bad on the MX track. The bike vibrated a lot, especially at higher speeds where the revs picked up. The power is not ideal for the track; it has a soft delivery and worked decent for the trails. Handling felt decent all around.
-Chris BarrettIf it weren't for the fact that this bike does not do the track well this bike would have been my #2 choice. This bike absolutely rails in the trails and does everything you would want it to do and then some. It does, however, have a hand-numbing vibration in the upper-rpm that is bothersome but other than that I loved the bike
-Ryan Hanna