Husqvarna’s departure to Italy in 1986 was a blow to devotees of Swedish motorcycles. The last major marque had departed the Scandinavian country, leaving a painful void. Seizing an opportunity, many of the native Husqvarna engineers who were left behind, aspired to preserve Sweden’s position as an active player in the off-road motorcycle manufacturing game. Husaberg was founded in 1987 and, a year later, the first of many competition-worthy four-strokes was introduced to an eager off-road community.
The Husaberg FE550e is the latest in the Swedish lineage. Powered by a four-valve SOHC motor sending the power through a six-speed transmission, this 496cc version of the FE550e is destined to compete in the FIM World Enduro Championships. Virtually a works bike as it stands on the showroom floor, the WEC FE550e has carefully selected performance-enhancing features, including an Akrapovic Racing exhaust system, a handmade aluminum tank from BL Italia, and billet aluminum triple clamps. Standard parts on the FE550e are all first-rate, particularly the Keihin 41mm FCR carburetor with Throttle Position Sensor technology (which links the carb to the digital Kokusan ignition), hydraulic Magura controls, fully adjustable WP suspension, Brembo brake systems and Excel aluminum rims.
TANK. Hand-fabricated by BL Italia in northern Italy, the aluminum tank on the Husaberg FE550e primary function is to improve the bike’s ergonomics by slimming down the midsection. Its striking appearance is merely a welcome side effect. EXHAUST. Akrapovic Racing’s titanium exhaust system was tapped to improve the breathing of the custom 496cc motor. Bozarth’s Offroad Service Specialites in Portland, Oregon race-prepped the factory-modified machine for FIM World Enduro Championship competition.
HELMET. The Arai VX-Pro (DC) is a compact, lightweight, and extremely comfortable off-road helmet. The liner is derived from the RX-7 Corsair. APPAREL. Thor MX’s top-of-the-line Core ants/jersey/gloves array is perfectly suited for dirt riding. It is alternately pliable and protective, as appropriate. BOOTS. Sidi may be known as a maker of premium road racing footwear, but the Italian company also produces state-of-the-art off-road boots. These limited-edition Crossfire Blue TA boots are excellence defined. (Click image to enlarge)