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2104 FE501 - Rally, Dual Sport, Race Bike - Anything Else?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by pilo, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    After riding a Honda 450x for the past few years, a few months ago I bought one of these.
    [​IMG]

    It is a Husaberg FE501, and except for the linkage is the same as the new Husky FE501 (Husky has a linkage). They are basically KTM XC-W 500s with different plastic, rear subframe, and the fancier 4CS forks. I plan to use this as a do everything bike like I've been using the 450x. I did not find another thread on ADV for the new Berg/Huskys, so I'm going to try to document some of the progress/discovery here.

    Before riding the bike I pulled it apart a bit to add some grease. Like most new bikes, the bearings have way less grease than makes me feel comfortable.
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    While hunting around on it I found there are FOUR plugs under the seat. Without documentation I can only guess their purpose. 1 - ECU reprogram, 2 - handlebar switch for FI mapping, 3 street legal wiring harness? 4- ? Who knows what the rest of them are for?

    [​IMG]

    More pictures
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    After getting it back together, I rode it for an hour or so and changed the oil. There was very little metal on the magnet and on the screens. Way different than what I've seen on these bikes before. Perhaps KTM is getting closer on their tolerances?

    The first ride I noticed immediately it felt soft compared to the 450x (I was +1 on the springs on that bike) but I also noticed how compliant the forks felt. Way better than the Honda setup that I have been running for years. On a negative note though, I've spent 15+ riding hours trying to get the rear of the bike to work even close to the Honda in the whoops. Simply said, the rear seems to work ok, but if never feels planted like the Honda and in the whoops the rear rebounds quickly and always sends the nose down. From all of the talk of the KTM's I thought I'd immediately fall in love with this bike (like I did my 950 and the Honda) but I have to say I have mixed feelings. The motor is amazing. No crazy power...just electric magic. The forks are excellent and the handling is spot on, but this "planted" feeling the Honda gives me, especially in the whoops, is missing. Anyone else out there experience the same?

    After a few hours I noticed mud in the airbox. Evidently Husaberg (and now Husky) add factory holes between the tire area and the airbox. After some unsatisfying conversations with the dealer I was told "put some silicone in it, we spoke to KTM and they say 'that's the way it is'". It's not a huge deal, but pretty irritating regardless.
    [​IMG]

    I fed a big white zip tie through the hole...
    [​IMG]

    More to come...
    #1
  2. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    [​IMG]

    Just got the smaller brother, FE450

    .
    #2
  3. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    Interested in your assessment of the Husa..

    I've been looking very closely at the Husky FE501 and am at a stalemate for details and info regarding a larger fuel capacity tank (like the 5.3 gl Acerbis) and suitable method for hauling overnight accommodations and a tool kit for day use.

    Seems that the Kreiga US5 tail bag might work with the Husa/Husky subframe using their rack loops.
    http://www.kriega.us/rack-loop-enduro-dual-sport-dirt-bike-luggage-mounts/

    I've also viewed a photo of a large tank on the Husky FE501 owned by Zipty Racing but am unsure of any necessary mods to make it fit.

    I thought you could download the owners manual and shop manual from the manufacture's website with the appropriate info (vin #) which may answer some questions on the wiring harness.

    I have spent a short period of time on the 14 500 exc but did not push the bike to the extent of really testing the suspension since it wasn't mine. The bike did impress me with the short ride however.


    From what I've been told the mapping is not locked on the Husa/Husky like the KTM EXC and XCW which would allow easier engine performance mods.
    #3
  4. Bowhunter

    Bowhunter Single Trackin' & Stick & Stringin'

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    Subscribed

    :lurk
    #4
  5. JTucker

    JTucker Long timer

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    Your less planted feeling is the PDS, they've made it work fine but it seems to be finicky, bucks more and just feels less planted than linkage.
    As for the air box, my friend who recently bought a KTM summed it up the airbox nicely as a screen door. :lol3

    They make a great off road bike but like everything they have issues.
    #5
  6. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    @pistole - Not sure the FE450 is truly a little brother, just a different brother. Honestly I don't think the power of the FE501 is much fatter than my 450x. My x had the TRX head that was cleaned up, but other than that it was mostly stock. I'm sure the FE450, like the KTM is awesome.

    @Fast1 - The ~4 gallon KTM Acerbis tank fits with only a bit of trimming on the front of the seat. I think the 5.3 is the same. You can get a copy of the owner's manual, but the service manual is only available on CD for $30 or so. I need to pick one up. Fortunately I haven't needed to do any service yet, so no need to dig it apart! I'd like to play with the mapping sometime. Surprisingly the throttle is so light and the FI so responsive I've had a couple of whiskey throttle episodes that I never had on the 450X. Just a slight bump of the throttle with my palm on some single track and BOOM I'm off the line. Like I said before, the FI and engine is magic.

    As a side note, when I brought the bike home I put it on the scale --> 239 pounds dry tank.

    I put my rally 450x (with lots of 'stuff' on it) --> 279 pounds dry tank!

    The Berg rides like it is still another 20 pounds lighter. It really feels like different type of vehicle.

    @JTucker - I don't think it's the PDS. I've had PDS bikes before (I'm the front KTM below) and I was the engineer for ATK back when we put PDS on the ATK's even before the KTM's had them (that's me super old school in DR way below). It's something more about the rebound on the shock I think. I'm a little surprised that I haven't heard of anyone else with issues in the whoops (Heck, Caselli never complained) especially since I'm usually not very sensitive to suspension setup. I'll get it dialed...I guess I was just expecting to get on the bike and it to be perfect. Everyone else who gets a KTM/Berg talk about them like they have no faults. Read any magazine review of the EXC500 and you'd think they erupted from the volcano of perfection.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continuing on with the bike. I knew I needed to get some handguards on the bike, and get them up taller to match my odd proportions. So like I've done with all of my bikes in the past few years, I put the best setup I've used by far, the Highway Dirt Bikes guards and riser. These parts are amazing and bomb proof. Since I'm going to be using the HDB rally setup (more to come later) like my 450X, for sure I wanted to start with the first step.

    Guards and Scotts under bar mount
    [​IMG]

    Pretty nice color match on the guard plastic
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    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. reveille

    reveille Displaced Adventurer

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    Subscribed. Great looking bike:clap
    I picked up a FE501 2 weeks ago and just finished the setup this week. Only have 2 hours on her so far since it's been in pieces during setup. What little seat time I've had has been positive. It was running very lean with quite a bit of decel pop so I adjusted the TPS and that seems to have fixed that issue. I had a 2012 TE310 that was very well sorted prior and plan to do more dual sport with this bike. It's a keeper. Added the usual ergo stuff like the tall seat, handguards, Rad braces, BRP submount, G2 dirt tamer throtle tube, ETC. I'm a bit tall at 6'4" so setup takes some time. Here's a current picture.
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    #7
  8. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    @reveille - I love the way the Huskys look. I had a 92 610 that I always thought was the best looking bike with the white/blue/yellow colors. What tall seat did you use? Enduro Engineering? I also spot a brake light switch. I have one sitting on my bench that needs to get installed. The FI on my bike has been perfect so it's interesting to hearing you needed to play with the TPS. I have about 15 hours on the bike now and the engine has worked perfectly.
    #8
  9. reveille

    reveille Displaced Adventurer

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    I added the Sicass rear brake light switch. Easy install, no bleeding needed. I ordered the Husky tall seat from the hard parts book. Actually found one in stock at a Husky dealer in Wisconsin so I bought it from him(Steve @ Keytime) It adds 20mm of height which isn't much but it feels good so far. $123 so I couldn't knock the price for an entire seat. I have a 6.2 rear spring sitting on the shelf I plan to install after I get a few hard off road hours and see if it really needs it or not. I'm close to 240lbs in full gear soooo.:huh I had to add 5mm of additional preload to get the race sag with the stock 5.7 spring.
    #9
  10. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    @reveille - If you want to get rid of that low seat, let me know. I'm looking for a donor to build out a rally seat.

    I've done a little more work and put on a few more hours. I added a brake light switch by pulling apart the stock plug, removing the stock connector prongs, adding in the needed wiring with bullet connectors for the aftermarket brake switch and then heat shrinking the whole mess. It worked out well though it took some messing with the wire routing to get it up to the connector. It ends up close to the exhaust, but not TOO close.

    I've also been testing a prototype steel rear sprocket made by a friends company. It's a tool steel setup similar to what is out there already so there should be no real surprises. After a few hours it's showing no wear, which is how the Ironman sprockets look as well.

    As I've experienced with other bikes, the HDB setup is working flawlessly. The only catch is the bars are so tall that loading the bike in my van is a serious pain and has been with other bikes as well. I address this by attaching a clamp like the one below to the left fork guard. This allows my to use a tie down connected to the bars to compress the forks and I let the air out with MP fork bleeders. The bike loads with ease.

    [​IMG]

    The suspension is starting to break in and I've been making some more adjustments to the forks in an effort to make the rear stop acting. Increasing the compression a few clicks has kept the forks riding higher in the stroke and seems to help in the rear in some cases. I'm still loving these forks.

    A couple of glamour shots from an early morning ride (seems like sunrise is the only time I can get out...)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And just because they make me smile, pictures of my son and daughter making splashes...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. pilo

    pilo Rhymes with below

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    Is there anyone else out there that despises the "Standard" Honda style kill switch? Everything else on these bikes has been so well designed as a purpose built item, but these little five piece buttons perplex me in how they are the best solution to the problem. I take them off and parts go everywhere (under the lift of course...). I try to put them back on and the little strap flops from the slot and goes wandering before I get a chance to strip the little Phillips head fastener...So on my bikes I find the best solution is to just cut them off! They are sharing some screen time with the crazy over-designed headlight switch that still allowed the spade plugs to the woefully under protected.

    [​IMG]

    HDB and the glorious tidbits parts allow me to solve both problems (and free up the left handlebar for more Rally gear to come...)

    Start/Kill on the right and the headlight switch is now on the dash. Clean clean clean - thanks HDB

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    hi. Great thread.

    What steering damper do you have there ? I may need one ... haha ...

    .
    #12
  13. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    [​IMG]

    the latest addition to the bike.

    Makes for an almighty bark !

    .
    #13
  14. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    So, can you fix the title of this thread? 2014, not 2104?

    Then, can you tell me about the material, design and load capacity of the subframe?

    Finally, what is the alternator output?

    Along with a wide-ratio transmission, to me these are the two critical specs that differentiate between a dirt bike and a dual sport.
    #14
  15. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    the rear subframe is plastic. No comment about load rating.

    alternator : 196 watts

    transmission : 6 speed. Top gear in stock gearing can easily cruise at 70-80 mph

    .
    #15
  16. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    Thank you.
    #16
  17. C/W

    C/W Adventurer

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    Heh, I kind of like the title of this thread. Misspelled as it may.
    #17
  18. natedog39

    natedog39 Borderline Beefcake

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    I've been waiting for this thread.:clap

    I'll have some contributions a little later.:D
    #18
  19. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    Looks like I'll be making some contributions and also learning from this thread much more in the future too..

    Will be picking up a new Husqvarna FE501 tonight!!

    I'll be plating mine, since it is relatively easy in MN.

    My current list of mods are:

    - Acerbis 4.1 gl tank
    - Keyed switch, brake light, blinkers, horn
    - Highway Dirtbike hand guards (taken from my TE630 donor)
    - Euro mapping after ECU reflash
    - Kriega US-5 tail bag using their rack loops for day rides
    - Altrider hemisphere for overnight camping
    - 14 or 15 t counter depending on ride environment
    - shop manual
    - Roc Stompa pegs (if my donor TE630 pegs will work??)

    Will have to build my knowledge base on the front forks and get the suspension sorted. I've told that the bike is set up for 180 lb rider. Is this true?
    #19
  20. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

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    What the Husky website indicates:

    " The lightweight, three-piece polyamide rear subframe has been reinforced with an additional screw on the airbox side that improves the fitment between the left subframe arm and the airbox. The improved seal guarantees better performance and durability. The polyamide subframe is more flexible than a traditional aluminium rear subframe. Combined with the longitudinal flex of the frame and the rear linkage system, this gives riders a more comfortable and confidence-inspiring feeling on the bike, allowing them to push the limits in every condition and on any terrain. The inherent characteristics of the composite subframe allow the engineers to have unlimited opportunities of integrating features such as the airbox, electronics and rear grab handle."

    I've been assured by those that have sold many Husabergs that the rear subframe would easily take another 40 lbs beyond my 185lb ride weight. For me, my overnight kit will be 25lbs including several days of food so I'm covered. My dealer indicated that the reps have never seen the rear subframe break.
    #20