had 13/50 gearing; this year it has 14/51 gearing. This very
tall gearing might work for a National Pro, but it is way
too tall for a Novice, Vet or Beginner. You should leave the
51 on the rear and put a 13-tooth countershaft sprocket on
the front. The tighter gearing will make it easier to get on
the pipe sooner and develop enough thrust to get full use
out of the high-rpm powerband.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE MULTI-SWITCH?
A: The 2017 Husqvarna FC250 has a rubber-covered
multi-switch on the left side of the bars that activates two
maps (stock and aggressive), launch control and traction
control. What were the best settings?
Map switch. Pressing the rubber-covered button on
the bottom of the multi-switch lights up a number on the
face of the multi-switch. Number one is stock and number
two is aggressive. Every MXA test rider chose to run the
aggressive map. It produced quicker throttle response and
helped jump the power up to the midrange where it does
its best work. There is no mellow map option.
Traction control. For 2017, Husqvarna offers on-de-mand traction control. How does it work? The ECU monitors runaway revs as an indicator of when the rear wheel
is spinning. The computer compares the rpm’s arithmetical
progression to its geometrical progression and retards the
ignition when the two numbers are out of whack. In short,
when the rpm goes haywire, the computer mellows out the
power to stop the rear wheel from spinning. On hardpack
dirt, pavement or clay-style mud, this was the cat’s meow,
but it was irritating on prepped dirt, loam or sand. MXA
test riders used traction control as the mellow map.
Launch control. To engage launch control, the racer
must press the map button and the traction control button
simultaneously until the indicator light behind the front
number plate flashes. Once launch control is engaged, you
must not allow the rpm to drop by more than 30 percent
or launch control will shut off—and you cannot re-engage it
without shutting the engine off. Let’s face it, this is a 250cc
motocross bike. If you need launch control to get it off the
line, you need to find a new sport.
Q: HOW DOES THE 2017 HUSQVARNA FC250
A: From a numbers point of view, the 2017 Husqvarna
FC250 should handle identically to the 2017 KTM 250SXF,
but, it doesn’t. There are two reasons every MXA test
rider felt that the twins were different. (1) Husqvarna’s
three-piece plastic airbox is more resilient than KTM’s
standard-issue aluminum tube structure. The flexier feel of
the plastic makes the Husqvarna feel plusher and softer
when landing from jumps or under heavy torsional loads
in corners. ( 2) The Husky’s slightly mellower power delivery, which develops over a longer time, has the effect of
slowing down reaction times for more overall control. Both
the KTM and the Husky handle like dreams, but most MXA
test riders preferred the plusher feel of the Husqvarna.
Q: WHAT DOES IT WEIGH?
A: The 2017 Husqvarna FC250 hits MXA’s amazingly
accurate scales at 220 pounds sans gas. That is 2 pounds
more than the KTM 250SXF (blame the molded airbox and
beefier brake rotors).
Q: HOW GOOD ARE THE 2017 WP AER FORKS?
A: Kudos to Yamaha. Say what? When Honda,
Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki embraced air-fork technology, Yamaha stuck with its old-school, coil-spring Kayaba
SSS forks. This turned out to be important for the motorcycle industry, because it made it difficult for Showa SFF
TAC air forks or Kayaba PSF air forks to be shoved down
the consumers’ throats. Yamaha made everyone realize
that the emperor had no clothes. By proving that 11-year-
old coil-spring forks were better than the whiz-bang, high-tech, brand-new air forks, Yamaha forced every racer to
re-evaluate what he really wanted from his front forks.
What does this have to do with WP’s new AER air forks?
A lot. WP was able to sit back and watch as Honda, Suzuki
and Kawasaki foisted different air-fork contraptions on
consumers with each new model year, while Yamaha stood
pat with what worked before. WP’s engineers knew that if
they came out with an air fork and they wanted an air fork
to dovetail into their massive weight-loss program, they
needed it to be very good, very simple and very uncomplicated. They didn’t want to make the same mistakes that
Showa and Kayaba had made by building Rube Goldberg
designs that made consumers angry.
WP’s AER air forks are ingenious in their simplicity. They
have an air cartridge, similar in concept to a bicycle pump,
SFF TAC forks. Since the air takes the
place of the two coil springs in the
previous WP 4CS forks, the weight
savings is 3. 6 pounds. All the
damping is handled by the left
fork leg via one compression
clicker and one rebound clicker (they don’t have four different clickers like the Kayaba
PSF- 2 forks). Setup is simple.
Find the proper air pressure
for your speed and then click
in your favorite compression
and rebound settings.
You can race these forks
right off the showroom floor,
and you don’t need an i Tunes app
to make sense of how they work.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Gas cap. It sticks. We’ve had test riders who
couldn’t get it off at the gas station.
( 2) Exhaust. Removing the stock exhaust requires several annoying steps, including removing the shock.
( 3) Sprocket and spokes. Watch the sprocket bolts
and the rear spokes for as long as you own the bike.
( 4) Shock collar. Nylon is for bathing caps, not preload
( 5) Torx bolts. You can’t bleed the forks without a #20
Torx wrench or remove the ODI lock-on grip or right side
panel without a #15. Even the brake and clutch master-cylinder caps are held on with Torx bolts.
( 6) Spacers. There are spacers in the seat-bolt hole and
right side panel that fall out when you remove either of
these two bolts. Shouldered bolts or tolerance-fit spacers
would have solved this problem. We used grip glue.