2nd Place Of The 2019 250F MX Shootout: Husqvarna FC 250
The Husqvarna FC 250 has been a podium contestant in Dirt Rider’s 250F MX Shootout the past few years thanks to its potent engine, neutral handling, high-quality components, and low weight. Still, the bike lacked low-end power, and there was room for improvement on both the suspension and the ergonomics. Husqvarna addressed most of those concerns this year and the FC 250 finished a close second place to its not-so-distant relative, the KTM 250 SX-F. The two Austrian machines are more similar than ever in 2019.
Before we began the shootout, we ran the FC 250 on our in-house Dynojet dynamometer. With a Dunlop D404 street tire mounted on the rear wheel, it churned out 39.27 hp at 13,660 rpm and 19.27 pound-feet of torque at 9,170 rpm—essentially identical to the KTM 250 SX-F. With those numbers, the Husqvarna ranks first among the six bikes in both horsepower and torque. We then installed a fresh set of Dunlop MX33 soft-to-intermediate-terrain tires to ensure consistency in traction among the six competitors through the duration of the test.
The FC 250 engine is excellent. It has moderate bottom-end, a plentiful midrange, and phenomenal top-end and over-rev. The Husky’s power delivery is like the KTM’s, but is slightly less responsive and doesn’t rev as quickly. With its impressive high-rpm power, the Husqvarna requires a minimal amount of shifting as it continues to pull in each gear. It doesn’t have the low-end of the Yamaha YZ250F, but it gets right back into the meat of the powerband with some quick use of its buttery smooth Magura hydraulic clutch. The Husqvarna is also noticeably quieter than the four Japanese bikes and has a minimal amount of engine-braking. The new Pankl transmission makes the Husqvarna and KTM the smoothest-shifting bikes in the class.
The FC 250 has two maps controlled via a switch on the left side of the handlebar. The Husqvarna also offers traction control, which can be used in either map. Map 1 (standard) has average low-end, a strong midrange, and outstanding top-end and over-rev. Map 2 (aggressive) offers better bottom-end, which most test riders preferred. Traction control mellows out the power delivery, but we didn’t use it very much as map 1 is smooth enough in low-grip conditions.
The WP AER 48 fork offers plenty of adjustability with air pressure, compression, and rebound, and the stock settings are great. The fork maintains a plush feel through the stroke and is more progressive than before. It has a supple feel on braking bumps and maintains good bottoming resistance on larger impacts. Still, it doesn’t offer as much plushness or comfort as the KYB Speed Sensitive System fork on the Yamaha YZ250F. The WP shock is well matched to the fork. It’s plush in the initial part of the stroke, tracks well over braking bumps and acceleration chop, and has good hold-up on hard hits.
The FC 250 weighed in at 234 pounds on our automotive scales, which makes it the third-lightest bike in the class and 3 pounds heavier than the KTM. It’s nimble, stable, and corners well. The 2019 frame is more rigid than prior year models and doesn’t offer as much flex. This is an improvement as it enables the bike to handle more precisely. The Husqvarna has a neutral stance and works well with 105mm of shock sag. The ergonomics are very good. The seat has a flat profile and is easy to move around on, but it’s a bit firmer than the KTM’s and slightly less comfortable. The ProTaper handlebar offers more flex than the Neken bar on the 250 SX-F. Like the KTM, the Husqvarna has the strongest brakes in the class with Brembo components front and rear. The two also share excellent ODI lock-on grips.
Why It Should Have Won
It has a powerful engine, very good suspension, a neutral-handling chassis, the strongest brakes, a hydraulic clutch, and is pleasantly quiet.
Why It Didn’t Win
In comparison to the KTM 250 SX-F, it doesn’t rev as quickly and has a firmer, less comfortable seat. It also doesn’t have as much bottom-end power as the Yamaha YZ250F.