Transmoto's Andy Wigan checks in from Spain, where Husaberg has just staged a world launch for their all-new 2013 models.
Confirming what was widely expected, Husaberg has dumped their 70-degree forward-slanting powerplants and embraced cutting-edge KTM technology as a platform for their expanded 2013 model-range - which is now made up of seven machines: the TE125, 250 and 300 two-strokes, plus the FE250, 350, 450 and 501 four-strokes. Capitalising on the advances its parent company, KTM, has made in recent years, the 2013 Husabergs all use new-generation KTM engines and frames, but their subrame, fork, bodywork and accessory spec remains significantly different to what's found on the KTMs.
The most obvious difference between the two Austrian-made bikes is the Bergs' 48mm WP 4CS fork (4 Chamber System - the same specimen that comes on KTM's 2013 Six Days special models) and the glass-fibre reinforced polyamid subframe, which gives the bikes' rear-ends and airbox configuration a very different look to the Katos. The frames are also noticeably different from the subframe junction down to the footpegs, plus access to the Berg's rear shock is improved big-time. Thankfully, you no longer have to remove the thing from the bike to alter spring preload.
As Husaberg's General Manager, Oliver Gohring, explained, "Husaberg is still a niche player in the market, so sharing parts and technical information with our big brother, KTM, was an obvious - almost inevitable - choice for us. It means we can utilise state-of-the-art engine technology that's already available in-house, expand our model range and, in these tough economic times, ensure we get a return on investment."
Gohring goes on to explain how the brand has "returned to its 1988 roots, deep in the woods in Sweden" by focusing purely on enduro machines. And to reinforce the point, "Pure Enduro" has actually been incorporated into the company's logo.
But how do the new Husabergs ride? Well, for anyone who's thrown a leg over a 2012 or 2013 KTM EXC, they feel very familiar. As you'd expect. Even in the snotty, dusty, rock-strewn terrain at the Spanish launch (at a venue where a round of the EWC was held back in April), the machines offer a very predictable, compliant, stable ride. They're noticeably lighter and more agile than their predecessors, and have very user-friendly and responsive powerplants - obviously benefitting from KTM's recent EFI mapping advances. Like the Husaberg's previous twin-chamber WP fork, the 4CS fork delivers a slightly firmer ride than the open-cartridge system, but it's very progressive and creates a confidence-inspiring feel in the front-end. And for those of you who, like me, never felt overly comfortable with the previous Husabergs' arse-heavy weight bias and vague front-end feel on hardpark, you'll love the new chassis. The things look horn, too.
The 2013 Husaberg FE250: The first 250cc 4-stroke model from Husaberg.
The 2013 Husaberg FE350: A return to the Husaberg line-up; in 1991, the FE 350 was Husaberg`s second ever model.
The 2013 Husaberg FE450: State-of-the-art 4-stroke technology, perfectly packaged in a light and manoeuvrable enduro chassis.
The 2013 Husaberg FE501: It all started at Husaberg in 1989 with the FE501.
The 2013 Husaberg TE125: The perfect combination of maximum power and minimum weight in the smallest displacement class.
The 2013 Husaberg TE250: It doesn't always have to be a 4-stroke in the E2 class; the TE 250 is the ultimate proof of that.
The 2013 Husaberg TE300: With a further improved engine and the new chassis, the TE 300 is now even more powerful and more agile than ever.
Unfortunately, the new models won't be available at dealerships until September. While you wait, be sure to study all of the technical details available on the Husaberg website, and check out all of the snaps on Husaberg's Facebook. While you at it, be sure to check out this little video showcasing each model.