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Husqvarna Hard Cross 9 MTB | Trail Tested


Husqvarna Hard Cross 9

Price: $6999

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, you already know that pedal-assist is the biggest thing to hit mountain biking since long-travel suspension and dropper seat posts. While initial reception from American consumers was rocky, there is no denying that e-bikes get more people on two wheels and that they also provide more smiles per mile. My personal journey with pedal-assist MTBs was typical: at first, I thought they were lame and didn’t want anything to do with the Turbo Levo that Specialized sent me in 2016 as I was at the time a die-hard cross-country rider who was in it for the “burn.” Once I realized that the Levo could allow me to bring buddies along on rides who otherwise couldn’t keep up, I began to like the idea of the “cheater bike.” When I got my older brother – fresh off a triple bypass heart surgery and a knee replacement – out on the trail with me for the first time in over two decades I was sold! Still, as the only one in my friend group who had an e-bike, it still wasn’t that fun to ride myself… Being the only guy on an e-bike in a big group of “analog” cyclists isn’t actually fun. You do a lot of waiting and endure a ton of insults and ribbing. These days, pedal-assist MTBs are huge, and many of my buddies own e-bikes, which makes group rides an absolute blast. What’s better than ripping down your favorite downhill trail? Ripping down it three or four times because you have an e-bike! 

Husqvarna Bicycles is new to the e-bike market but as one would expect from the KTM Group, the brand made a big splash right from the get-go. Husqvarna Bicycles offers seven pedal-assist MTBs that cover the entire spectrum from kids’ to downhill. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on the top-of-the-line enduro model, the Hard Cross 9.

The Hard Cross 9 boasts a heavy-duty aluminum frame and is equipped with the latest Shimano EP-8 motor, Fox Factory suspension (including the oh-so-amazing 38mm fork with180mm of travel!), powerful Shimano XT four-piston brakes, Shimano XT Di1 electric shifting, and eMTB specific 27.5″ DT Swiss H1700 wheels. While many e-bike manufacturers try to disguise the motor in the frame, the Husqvarna’s frame leaves the Shimano EP-8 motor out in the open with a unique frame design that calls attention to the powerplant. The 630 Wh battery, meanwhile, is integrated into the down tube and maintains a slim overall look. Husqvarna makes its own handlebars, cranks, front chainrings, saddle, and stem.


Since taking delivery of the Hard Cross 9 at the press launch at Vail Lake, we’ve taken the bike to all of our favorite local trails, as well as up to NorCal to ride some of Santa Cruz’s best offerings. Before doing so, however, we made a couple of changes to the bicycle after our initial ride on the HC9. While the Husqvarna-branded saddle and handlebars were included in the bike spec to help keep the bike’s price tag down, we simply couldn’t get along with the amply padded seat or the stiff feel of the narrow 780mm aluminum bars. After swapping the saddle for our familiar spec and adding 800mm wide carbon fiber bars, we also switched the Maxxis DHF tires for a more-aggressive Maxxis Assegai front and Dissector rear with EXO+ casing for a firmer ride with greater sidewall puncture resistance.

The Husqvarna saddle has a nice shape and ample padding, but we swapped it out for a narrower saddle with lighter padding.

Out on the trails, the Husqvarna Hard Cross 9 is an absolute joy to ride. Since our first e-bike ride on the original Turbo Levo we’ve ridden nearly a dozen other pedal-assist MTBs, and the HC9 ranks amongst our favorites. The power and torque of the Shimano EP-8 motor is intuitive and natural feeling, and allows you to get as much of a workout as you desire. Want to get your sweat on? Put the bike in eco and get the max workout. We’d venture to guess that the lowest power setting helps make up for the girth of the e-bike and gives you the most natural-feeling ride, while the trail and boost modes simply make everything easier and more thrilling. One thing we’ve noticed about the new Shimano motor is that some – not all – of.the e-MTBs that utilize it will have a small rattle while coasting or navigating rough terrain. Our particular bike has the rattle, others in the initial group did not. While it is annoying at first, it’s become part of the trail noise to us now that we’ve logged so many miles on the HC9.

Needless to say, the Fox Factory suspension is amazing and delivers a plush ride with excellent control in bigger hits and hard landings. The geometry of the HC9 is aggressive, yet super stable and confidence-inspiring in steep and rough sections. Thanks to the nimble 27.5″ wheels, the HC9 corners quickly and is instantly responsive to rider input, making the Husqvarna much quicker handling than one might expect from a bike with 180mm of suspension travel. 

While the 630Wh battery isn’t the largest available, it has proven to have more than enough range for us as we have yet to drain it completely. We have spent many, many, days in the saddle of the Husqvarna Hard Cross 9 and everyone who has tested it came away with the same great impression of the bicycle. Husqvarna may be a new player in the MTB market, but its product is a great option at an exceptional value. Priced at $6999, the Hard Cross 9 boasts many premium parts (Shimano EP-8 motor, Di2 shifting, Fox Factory Suspension, etc.) that are normally spec’d on bikes in the $10,000 range. In the market for an e-bike? If you’re a motocrosser looking to cross over, the offerings from Husqvarna are a great place to start your search!



  • Frame
    Alloy 6061, Enduro, 180mm, Full Active 4-Link, Skeleton Interface, Integrated Battery, 12x148mm
  • Fork
    Fox Factory Float 38, FOX Float 38 Factory, Grip 2, 180mm, Tapered
  • Shock
    Fox Float X2 Factory, 225×67.5mm, Trunnion
  • Motor
    Shimano 250W 85Nm mid-drive, Shimano EP8, DU-EP8, 250W, 85Nm
  • Battery
    630Wh, Simplo TPS, 630Wh, 36V, 17,5Ah
  • Wheels
    DT Swiss H 1700 SPLINE 35, Tubeless, Centerlock, 15×110/12x148mm
  • Wheel Size
  • Tires
    Maxxis Minion DHF, Exo Protection, Tubeless, 65-584, 27.5×2.60
  • Chain
    KMC, KMC e11S
  • Crank
    Husqvarna, Forged Alloy, 160mm
  • Shifters
    Shimano, Shimano SW-EM800-L
  • Brakeset
    Shimano XT, Shimano Deore XT, BR-M8120, hydr. Disc, 4-piston
  • Handlebar
    Husqvarna MTB35, 780mm, Sweep: 9°, Rise: 20mm
  • Saddle
    Husqvarna MTB
  • Seatpost
    Kind Shock E20i 31.6, Dropper Post, S: 365mm; M/L: 410mm; XL: 480mm
  • Stem
    Husqvarna 35, 40mm, 7°
Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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