History: What you are looking at here is the first-ever
44-horsepower production 250 four-stroke. Kudos.
Husqvarna’s plastic airbox is totally different from KTM’s.
Our biggest complaint about it is that airflow is severely
restricted by the molded design, but that restriction has
both pluses and minuses. The minuses are that the closed-off airbox hampers throttle response and slows down the
revs. This makes the Husqvarna powerband pull a little longer with a steadier metronome-style power pulse. In
the saddle you can feel the difference between the two—
and most test riders prefer the KTM’s snappier and
quicker rev. However, on the plus side, the timed release
of the Husqvarna power allows the numbers to build
incrementally to a slightly higher-end number; it just
takes longer for all the air to get into the engine. It is also
possible that the aerodynamics and flow characteristics
of the molded airbox lend themselves to processing a
more laminar style of airflow.
Q: WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT ABOUT THE
A: The MXA wrecking crew members are not fans of
Husqvarna’s airbox design—horsepower numbers or not.
It is sealed up tighter than King Tut’s crypt. Husky’s
engineers focused little effort on getting adequate air into
the airbox; instead, they focused on keeping water out. All
well and good for an enduro bike, but this is a motocross
bike. As a test, we jerry-rigged a bracket to hold the rear of
the airbox cover 1 inch away from the airbox. Test riders
did repetitive tests with the stock airbox and propped-open
one. No surprise—the FC250 ran better, revved quicker and
felt stronger on top with the airbox opened up.
Next, we returned to the dyno room and ran back-to-back
tests with the airbox cover in the stock position and with
the cover propped open. The opened-up airbox made a
1/2 horsepower more at every point on the powerband.
Peak horsepower jumped from 44. 38 horsepower to 44. 67
horsepower. Now we have to figure out how to get more
air into the airbox without sucking dirt or wrecking the
Q: HOW DOES THE 2016 HUSQVARNA FC250
RUN ON THE TRACK?
A: What’s the best advice you could give a neophyte
Husqvarna FC250 rider? Don’t shift. There is never a good
reason to short-shift to keep the FC250 engine humming.
You ride the Husky FC250 and its KTM cousin by holding
on for dear life as the rpm climb to 14,000 rpm. If you
are tempted to shift at 11,000 rpm, resist the urge. Why?
Because at 11,000 rpm the Husky FC250 is making 41
horsepower. That’s a very good number and better than
what the Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki or Kawasaki produce. But
if you wait until the rev limiter kicks in at 14,000 rpm, you
will be riding a 44-horsepower bike. Think of it this way:
you could buy 3 extra horses for your Honda CRF250 for
about $2000, or you could just not shift the Husky to get 3
horsepower for free. The choice is yours.
It’s important to note that the Husky FC250 is a top-end-only powerband. Oh, don’t get us wrong, it makes
acceptable low and midrange power; it’s just not what
it does best. This engine wants to frolic in the high-rpm
stratosphere reserved for Chuck Yeager, Commander Cody
and Marvin Musquin. If you are fast, this is the fastest
production bike you will ever race. This is a Pro powerband. It requires Pro speed to get the most out of it. If you
are slow, you will only be fast on the Husky FC250 if you
don’t shift. You gotta make this baby rev to get to where
the wild things are.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE GEARING?
Target: Husky has different valving than KTM, but their
target was still Vets, Novices and regular folk.