The Husqvarna FC 250 received a few minor mechanical changes for 2018, including updated settings in the WP AER 48 fork and WP shock. Two other minor changes are the new radiator louvers designed to prevent mud from packing into them and new graphics. While the Husqvarna shares most of the same parts as the KTM, the bike has a slightly different feel on the track, meaning it came down to personal preference for each of our test riders when picking between the two Austrian machines.
Since the Husqvarna engine is the same as the KTM’s, it unsurprisingly drew similar numbers on the dyno and had nearly identical power characteristics on the track. As far as raw horsepower numbers go, the FC 250 cranks out 37.4 hp at 13,500 rpm and 18.7 pound-feet of torque at 8,500 rpm. On the track, it quickly becomes apparent that the meat of the powerband is in the top-end and over-rev. Lower in the rpm, the bottom-end is decent and the engine makes good, usable midrange power. Also, the motor is easy to keep in the higher rpm and get it back to the top-end thanks to its smooth-operating Magura hydraulic clutch. The bike shifts easily through the gearbox and, like the KTM, is pleasantly quiet.
One area where the Husqvarna engine differs from the KTM is that it feels like it revs just a bit slower. Of the two maps that can be accessed on the left side of the handlebar, Map 1 (stock) maintains the same power characteristics listed above while Map 2 (aggressive) gives the bike a slightly harder hit in the upper midrange power. Overall, the Husqvarna engine was well liked, especially by those who kept the rpm high and refused to grab a gear until right before hitting the rev limiter.
The Husqvarna’s WP AER 48 fork and WP shock were both highly praised by many test riders. Both units feel very well balanced and have a plush and progressive overall feel that handle both big and small impacts very well. Stiffening or softening the compression doesn’t take away any of the plushness or comfort the fork offers. Also, the compression adjustment knob on the top of the fork is easily accessible and can be adjusted without the use of tools. The WP shock has a very similar feeling to the fork with a plush and comfortable feel with great hold-up on the big G-outs. The shock maintains good control on braking bumps, tracks well on acceleration bumps, and has good bottoming resistance on bigger impacts. Being that the Husqvarna shares the same suspension components as the KTM, a few test riders echoed their comments about how they felt the fork was a bit harsh on the initial part of the stroke, but the overall consensus was that both the front and rear WP units worked great.
The one category where the Husqvarna performs noticeably different than the KTM is in the handling department. The Husqvarna shares the same lightweight feeling, a nimble yet stable chassis that has good cornering ability, and the comfortable and roomy cockpit that the KTM enjoys. The differences, which are almost entirely related to feel, not performance, come from the polycarbonate subframe, different swingarm, ProTaper handlebar, and a different seat cover. The polycarbonate subframe does a better job of absorbing braking bumps and acceleration chop, which becomes especially noticeable as the track gets rougher throughout the course of the day. On the opposite side of the coin, because the subframe deadens impacts, it isn’t as easy to feel what the rear end is doing at any given moment. This isn’t a bad thing; it just depends on rider preference as to what they like. The same can be said for the seat cover. It’s extremely grippy, which some riders felt was a bit too much and others liked because it enabled them to stay seated in the same position under hard acceleration and/or when ascending hills.
The Husqvarna FC 250 is a great bike and is an excellent choice for a racebike. It is unique (except to the KTM) in the way it has an engine that needs to be ridden aggressively and in the higher rpm, has plush suspension, and yet has a very flexible and forgiving chassis with the steel frame and polycarbonate subframe.
For the same reasons as with the KTM, the Husqvarna missed out on the top spot due to its pro-oriented power delivery and a fork that drew a few complaints.
|FC 250 Settings||Stock||Best|
|Shock Low-Speed Compression||15||15|
|Shock High-Speed Compression||2||2.5|
|Shock Sag (mm)||105||105|