250 SML Shootout In-Depth | 2022 Husqvarna FC 250
HUSQVARNA FC 250
RIDER SCORES: 6-6-6-4-3-4
The Husqvarna was the first of the KTM’s siblings, and a couple of years ago, the marque made a conscious effort to differentiate itself with a unique suspension strategy. Initially, Husky bikes came with softer, more compliant settings targeting older or slower riders, but that was replaced the following year with a firmer setup that was designed to offer improved cornering and handling thanks to a lower center of gravity yielded by shorter suspension components with slightly less travel.
The ride and handling differences between the Husqvarna and its Austrian siblings are easy to detect for most riders, and in most cases, the bike draws love-it or hate-it feedback. While other media outlet test panels berate the Husqvarna for its lower ride, most of our test riders enjoyed the feeling that the FC 250 exhibits in corners and rough sections of the track. Compared to the red and orange machines, the Husky tips into corners easier and feels more controlled, especially when the corner exits are rough and choppy. In rough sections of the track, the bike has a very planted, controlled feel that inspires confidence, and we suspect that this is due to the bike’s unique suspension and chassis design.
Power-wise, the Husqvarna has a smooth, broad powerband that is easy to control, but it seems to lack throttle response and overall “snap.” As a result, the engine revs somewhat slowly and has high friction feel with the most engine braking compared to the other bikes in its class. Still, the power comes on strong in the middle of the powerband and pulls forever up top.
The Husqvarna has an excellent ergonomic platform with smooth, slim bodywork that’s easy to maneuver on. The ProTaper handlebar, though, really sets the bike apart from its KTM Group brethren, as it does a superior job of absorbing engine vibration and track feedback. The performance of the brakes – front and rear – is excellent, and the bike has a solid, well-built feel. As does the KTM, the Husky comes with an optional vented airbox cover. Save for torrential downpours and mud races, we’d say that you should install the vented cover and use the stock one as a birdseed feeder in the backyard, as the vented cover offers a better throttle response and overall performance.
TEST RIDER FEEDBACK
“The engine is good, and the power is strong, but the Husky is far from the most exciting bike in the power department. It is easy to ride hard, though, and I think that I could race the FC 250 in bone-stock condition.” – Humberto Baca
“The suspension suits me well because of the lower suspension design. I could feel more confident on the bike in all areas of the track, but especially in corners as it tips in quite easily and stays predictable throughout the apex.” – Humberto Baca
“Just like the 450, the FC 250 sits lower than the other bikes and has a more rigid feel, but not in a bad way. The bike is predictable at high speed and corners well, but I felt the track feedback more than other bikes at lower speeds.” – Kordel Caro
“I really like the Husqvarna, but to race one full-time, I’d need suspension work, mapping, an exhaust, and maybe different bars to suit my preferences. All of the controls are excellent and the bike just looks so cool. Amazing brakes and clutch action, too.” – Kordel Caro
“I am a fan of the lower suspension settings on the Husqvarna line. I feel more in control of the bike with a lower center of gravity. Surprisingly, the rear end felt too low when I first got on the bike, so we raised the shock sag from 104mm to 102mm, and it leveled the bike out nicely. The air fork lacks the plush feel of a mechanical spring fork.” – Chase Curtis
“I think the Husqvarna is the perfect in-between of the race-ready, super-fast KTM and easy to ride, comfortable GASGAS. One thing I noticed during the shootout was how beneficial the Husky bodywork is to good riding technique. The bend of the radiator shroud encourages you to bring your leg up high entering corners.” – Chase Curtis
“The suspension action of the Husqvarna is relatively plush and consistent, offering a pretty smooth ride with decent hold-up, however as a six-foot-tall rider, I don’t appreciate the lower suspension settings as much as a shorter rider would.” – Pat Foster
“Power is smooth, long, and broad. The delivery is mellow and easy to manage down low, however, faster riders may feel that the bottom end is too soft, lethargic, and choked up. The mid is strong and top-end goes forever, but I longed for more snap down low.” – Pat Foster
“The engine performs in the mid-range to top-end. Once you get there, the engine revs freely, but down low, the engine feels a little lethargic with a high friction, slow-revving character. Downshifts are a must, as it takes the bike too long to get going in a taller gear.” – Rene Garcia
“The suspension is very soft for me as delivered, but the bike handles well for me at speed and in the corners. I like the stability that the lower settings deliver. I love the rider triangle, and the handlebar is the best.” – Rene Garcia
“The Husqvarna seemed to be the slowest revving bike in the shootout, and that forced me to ride it more aggressively than the rest, trying to wring the engine out in each gear. And you know what? That worked, and I felt really quick on the FC 250. Map two is a must.” – Donn Maeda
“I like the lower feel of the Husqvarna. To be honest, I feel like a kook saying that I can actually detect a 10mm difference in suspension travel, but the white bike corners and stays in control remarkably well.” – Donn Maeda