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ENDURO TEST | 2024 HUSQVARNA FE501 | Bike Reviews

Aussies have a love affair with big bores and Husqvarna has a new temptress. We test the 2024 Husqvarna FE501.

I have a special place in my heart for the big-bore off-road bikes, especially the 2024 Husqvarna FE501. There is just something about having that amount of power and torque at your fingertips that makes the ride that much more enjoyable. So much grunt that you can leave them in one gear the entire ride, they’ll chug up any hill you want and when you get out in the open, click through the gears, wind them out and you’ll be travelling along fast as shit with a big smile on your face. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Aussies in particular, love big-bore off-road weapons. I guess we all just love to go fast, right? I mean we have some seriously epic desert races over here where the 500cc four-stroke is easily the bike of choice and it’s been cool to see some new manufacturers add the 500cc platform to their line-up.

It’s not just desert racing that the 500cc bikes shine in. We’ve seen a 500 win the AORC E3 title many times over and  two AORC champions in Daniel Milner and Daniel Sanders have won ISDE overall honours both on 500s. Pretty sweet to see the big-bore bikes on top of the world and it just goes to show that they are not some heavy or cumbersome machine, they are built to race and go fast.

On today’s menu, we have the 2024 Husqvarna FE501 and like all the MY24 off-road models on offer from Husky, this bike is all-new. I was super keen to throw a leg over this new bike because the previous versions were already a weapon and a half.

The secret to its success over the years in my opinion has been the rideability of this machine. Sure, it has a shit ton of power and torque, but Husqvarna have done a brilliant job making that power smooth and useable and overall, it’s a very rider friendly package. I really haven’t met anyone who has ridden a 501 and not liked it, they’re just that much fun.

So, can you tell the difference between the 2023 and 2024 models? Uh yep! Just about every part on the 2024 is new and they look sleek and ready for business.

The new chassis has been tuned and tweaked and they claim it offers a more stable ride with better anti-squat behaviour especially under acceleration. The updated bodywork is also said to give the rider an improved rider triangle and being slimmer than ever, allows the rider to move more freely around the bike when changing from sitting to standing. Keeping on from the previous models, Husky have again stuck with the hybrid polyamide/aluminium subframe, and they give us riders a little more room for some grab handles for when you need to get yourself out of trouble.

As far as the motor department goes, the 2024 Husqvarna FE501 has received a whole host of small but very important changes that has made the motor 300g lighter and more powerful. They’ve also tilted the motor back in the frame two degrees to add to the anti-squat characteristic and this also helps with keeping the weight nice and central within the frame. They’ve made updates to the crankcases, cylinder head, cylinder and piston which also have a big focus in centralising the weight as well as increasing the durability of the more powerful and lighter engine. The exhaust is now more compact and tucks in nicely around the frame so you can count on keeping yourself away from harm if you ever fall.

Finally and most excitingly is the huge update to the suspension. A 48mm Closed Cartridge WP XACT fork is here and everyone is stoked on this. Not sure why it’s taken so long to see this fork come standard on these bikes but there is a lot of happy people to see it come to fruition.

There is a new XACT shock as well which is lighter and shorter than the previous models but because of the new mounting position on the frame, the travel of the shock remains unchanged. On paper, the new suspension should be the best the Husky have ever been so enough of the chit chat, let’s go riding.

The 2024 Husqvarna FE501 was the last bike that I rode at the MY24 launch so the tracks were beat up and I was feeling a little tired and it could not be more unlike Australia if it tried. There were no open roads or desert straights for the 501 to shine through. Norway was tight, snotty, rocky trails with only one long straight to wind it out on so the 501 had a big task ahead of it. Luckily for me, the 501 is a versatile machine and I was just along for the ride and boy was it a nice ride.

The track was gnarly and very technical and somewhere that you kind of expect a big bore to shine but I was impressed with what the 2024 Husqvarna FE501 had to offer. Sure, it is the heaviest bike of the range, and I noticed that right away pulling up after the downhills but the planted feel of the bike and the torque that it produces made everything OK.

I unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to really experience the top end power of the 501 due to the location of the launch but from the small sections of faster trail that were on offer, I could tell this bike would be a serious machine back home on the faster, more desert kind of tracks. It was cool though to experience the 501 on the tighter stuff though as it made it clearer to me just how versatile this bike is.

I wasn’t as much surprised as I was reminded that this engine is amazing, it’s ridiculously smooth and easy to ride. On the smaller bikes, you sort of had to pick your line a bit and feather the clutch, nope not on the 501, pick a line and it will get you there. The traction through and over the rocks is very impressive and it makes you smile.

The new frame feels more rigid than the previous models, but I like the added feedback that is offered by the new platform. You don’t sit into the bike now, it’s firmer and you sit higher and feels like you have more grounded clearance which in the rocks and snot, is not such a bad thing.

The new XACT 48mm CC fork is night and day better than the old XPLOR fork and gives you plenty of confidence so you can hit things hard without worrying about your wrists. Some riders may find that they could possibly be a little plusher on the smaller, squarer chop but I doubt anyone will ride for hours on tracks as blown out as we had to deal with. The new XACT rear shock works well and there is never a shortage of traction with the 501. That rear end feels like it’s glued to the ground and delivers all that smooth, tractable power to the ground nicely. Finally, it feels like the WP suspension package can keep up with the awesome motor package and it was a nice feeling to experience.

I must mention the updated electronics as well on the FE501. All the Husky’s come with a bar mounted map switch that offers two maps, traction control and the new quick shift function that allows you to shift gears under full throttle. There is also the addition of the new Offroad Control Unit (OCU) under the seat which has simplified the wiring harness. Essentially it has eliminated all the unnecessary fuses and replaced them with a small dashboard with five lights for the different circuits so you can diagnose a problem if you ever have one with ease.

The new Braketek brakes and clutch were a big improvement as well. I didn’t experience any brake fade or issues like I have in the past. These bikes have always been known to have the best brakes, so it was a surprise they went away from the Brembo units but now, the Braketek brakes are getting closer to that feel.

Overall, the 2024 Husqvarna FE501 is another step forward in the big bore world. The best bits about the 501 from years past are even better again and the bike just keeps becoming more fun to ride. The power that this motor produces is unbelievable and the way it is delivered is probably its main strength. It’s just so rider friendly and it makes you want to load up with your mates and hit the trails every chance you can.

I am also very happy with the updated or should I say upgraded WP suspension. Now the bikes finally have the suspension they deserve on them and there is no question in my mind that the 2024 Husqvarna FE501 is the best stock version of the bike we’ve ever had.



Type                           Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single -cylinder

Displacement            510.9cc

Bore & Stroke           95mm x 72mm

Fuel metering           Keihin EMS

Tank capacity            8L

Transmission            Six speed

Clutch                         DDS wet multi-disc clutch, Braktec hydraulics



Seat height                952mm

Ground clearance    343mm

Claimed Weight        110.8kg dry


FRONT                      48mm WP XACT USD, 300mm travel

REAR                         WP XACT mono shock 300mm travel


Front                          Braktek,  260mm disc,

Rear                           Braktek, 220mm disc


Handlebar                 NA

Front tyre                  Michelin Enduro

Rear tyre                   Michelin Enduro


RRP: $19,800.00