The 2024 Husqvarna FE 350 has the next generation of 350 powerplant which is lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Here's what Geoff Braico thinks of the bike.
By now, you should be aware that the 2024 Husky enduro range is totally new from the ground up and they have really gone over every bike with a fine tooth comb and the list of upgrades is impressive. I particularly liked the all-new 2024 Husqvarna FE 350.
The 2024 Husqvarna FE 350 has the next generation of 350 powerplant which is lighter and more powerful than the previous model. The motor is housed inside a new frame and like all the other MY24 bikes it features the highly anticipated XACT suspension. There is also new plastics, subframe, brakes, swingarm, electronics, airbox, the list is endless it seems. There is actually very little that remains the same from the 2023 to the new 2024 bikes.
OUT ON THE TRACK
As picturesque as the Norwegian landscape was, the riding itself at the launch was a real eye opener. I could not believe just how technical the tracks were that the Husky crew had set out. The amount of rocks and rock shelves that we had to ride over was insane and the layer of top soil is almost non-existent. Where we were riding sure had an element of awesomeness about it yet I remained pretty cautious on the bike because there was about 5cm of top soil before the rock slabs were exposed and they did not look like fun to tuck the front end on.
I saved the FE3 50 until after lunch because I knew it was going to be good. I rode the three two-stroke bikes and the FE 250 before lunch and they each had their own awesome traits. However, from the moment I hopped on the FE 350, I just felt at ease through the gnarly conditions and my smile grew larger under my helmet with every lap.
The new motor is very strong and delivers a super nice, linear power curve and I felt like I could ride forever. Even after riding all morning, I didn’t feel anywhere near as tired on the FE 350 at the end of the loops compared to the other bikes and I had a shit ton of fun every lap.
The big focus for the MY24 bikes is a more balanced ride and the new frame has been manufactured with a lot of emphasis on the bikes anti-squat behaviour. The rear shock has a new mounting point on the frame and unlike the PDS system used for the rear end of KTM EXC’s, the Husky’s run a linkage and the traction generated from the rear wheel is very impressive. You can assure yourself that the FE 350 is going to hook up even in the slipperiest of conditions and the new motor delivers all 350cc to the ground with no problem at all. The bike feels very planted yet it doesn’t feel heavy between your legs in the tight stuff like the 450 and 501 did.
I was also impressed with the small amount of engine breaking that the bike had. The motor itself is very nice and gave me a lot of confidence to push along at a good pace even through the rocky sections. It has a super linear delivery right throughout the rev range and it can be quite lively with a quick flick of the clutch.
I was really impressed with the bottom end pull of the new motor and it has seemingly instant throttle response which allowed me to play ride jumping rocks and logs as well as tackling the super technical climbs and rock gardens with ease. With the new frame and motor shedding some weight for 2024, the bike is even smaller and lighter between the legs which makes it super easy to throw around.
The biggest update for the 2024 bikes is the addition of the new WP XACT closed cartridge fork and XACT shock. Finally, WP have got rid of the old XPLOR fork and put on something that you can actually ride and not have to worry about bottoming out on every big hit. Don’t get me wrong, the XPLOR fork was decent in the techo stuff and handled the really small stuff well, but as soon as you rode at a faster pace, it sat low in the stroke which it feel harsh and obviously, would bottom out.
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. The new XACT CC fork is much firmer than any other fork that WP has offered in stock trim and while some people might not be stoked on that, I was quite happy about it. I would rather have a fork that is a little on the stiffer side in case I do hit an unexpected bump or g-out and have the bike take the impact, rather than buck me off any day of the week. It sits higher in the stroke, has better bottoming resistance and there is a lot more confidence in the front end than in years past.
The bike actually feels balanced now in stock trim which is awesome. The new shock is also firmer than in years past but still sticks to the ground like glue and gets all 350cc of power to the ground with ease. Combined with the new frame and swingarm design, the anti-squat behaviour of the bike is evident and the whole package feels quite planted at all times. Again, some people may not like the overall firmer and stiffer feel of the new bikes but for me, I was a fan.
I like this bike a lot. The FE350 was by far my favourite bike of the new 2024 Husqvarna range. After riding the entire range a few times during the day, whenever I hopped back on the 350, I always seemed to have a big smile every time I rode it.
It’s fast enough to keep you on your toes yet mellow enough to be safe. It’s light and agile yet not too light that it pings and pongs all over the place, and well, it’s just a great all-round package. The firmer overall feel of the new MY24 is good for someone like myself, who likes to push along a trail or cut laps around a track so I’m happy that Husky have gone down that path for the new bikes. If you’re in the market for a bike that will make you happy every time you ride it, I really don’t think you can go past the new 2024 FE350.
For the full feature, check out issue #532 of ADB.
WORDS GEOFF BRAICO || PHOTOS SEBAS ROMERO