No more guessing about what the 2023 Husqvarna motocross bikes will look like: as expected, they’re very similar to the 2022 FC 250 and FC 450 Rockstar Edition models, with more of a Husqvarna feel.
Related: 2023 Husqvarna Cross-Country Bikes First Look
The 2023 Husqvarna FC 250 has been completely revamped with a new frame, subframe, swingarm, bodywork, shock, and engine. For a more detailed look at the specifications on the 2023 FC and TC lineup, check out our 2023 Husqvarna Motocross Bikes First Look story.
2023 Husqvarna FC 250 Engine
With its new larger bore and shorter stroke, the FC 250 engine now measures 81mm across the bore and has a stroke of 48.5mm; that’s versus 78.0 x 52.3mm on the prior-generation model. This provides an increased compression ratio of 14.5:1. The cylinder head has been redesigned with larger 27.5mm exhaust valves. The redesigned clutch basket is now the same as the FC 450′s and has a primary drive ratio of 24:72. The new engine sits 8mm lower in the frame and is tilted two degrees back for better mass centralization.
The electronics package also has some new technical features. Most noticeably is the new quickshift (QS) feature on the all-in-one combination switch on the left side of the ProTaper handlebar. This new compact combo switch controls map selection, traction control (TC), launch control, and the quickshifter.
The changes to the FC 250 engine are precisely what most test riders were asking for. In map 1, there’s more torque and throttle response when riding in lower to midrange rpm. Don’t worry if you liked the aggressive high-revving power, as it’s still there on map 2.
Related: 2023 Husqvarna Motocross Bikes First Look
2023 Husqvarna FC 250 Suspension
The suspension helps the Husqvarna assume its own personality, as the WP Xact 48mm AER fork and WP Xact shock use different internal settings than the FC 250 Rockstar Edition. However, the fork is 10mm shorter. The rear of the bike is lowered 10mm via a different swingarm linkage. Husqvarna feels that the lower suspension helps cornering characteristics, and the internal settings offer the rider more comfort.
2023 Husqvarna FC 250 Chassis/Handling
With its new frame, swingarm, subframe, and engine placement, this chassis is a step away from the previous generation. Footpeg mounting has also been revised, along with all the bodywork, to give the rider better contact points and control of the motorcycle.
Related: 2023 Husqvarna Enduro and Dual Sport Motorcycles First Look
One major frame design change from the previous generation is the shock mounting. A new shock tower is welded to the frame’s side spars, not connected to the frame’s backbone. This helps prevent shock impact forces from being transferred to the rider. While the suspension and seat foam height are lower than the ‘22 FC 250 Rockstar Edition, the ‘23 model feels slightly taller than the standard ‘21 and ‘22 FC 250.
How Does the 2023 Husqvarna FC 250 Ride?
Husqvarna’s new quarter-liter four-stroke motocrosser design is both all-new on paper and very noticeable on the track. Engine power, cornering, suspension, and overall comfort are all improved.
Related: 2023 Husqvarna TC 125 and TC 250 First Ride Review
With its new bore and stroke, the engine’s roll-on power and midrange throttle response are improved. On top of that, the EFI map options have been programmed to show a definite difference when switching from map 1 to map 2. While map 1 is an easier-to-use powerband, map 2 has more aggressive, higher-revving characteristics similar to the 2022 engine. The new QS feature is exciting, and the more we learn about how it reacts, the more confidence we gain in its function.
The chassis is quite different and will take some time to dissect. Ergonomics are similar to the prior generation. On the comparative spectrum of Japanese bike characteristics, it leans a little in the Honda direction. The rider feels a little more on top of this bike, and the bike itself rides like it has a slightly shorter wheelbase. It’s certainly more precise, with improved cornering and more rider comfort. The chassis is a little more responsive to rider input, and body position is more crucial.
The softer and lower Husqvarna suspension settings help get the bike closer to a standard ‘22 model chassis setup compared to the ‘22 FC 250 Rockstar Edition. These are possibly the FC 250′s best attributes. The chassis feels a little lower in the rear and less stink-buggy.
Related: Two-Stroke Enduro vs. Four-Stroke Cross-Country Comparison Test
Overall, if this bike is compared to the early-release ‘22 FC 250 Rockstar Edition, it has a slightly mellower power delivery (possibly because of the different muffler) and increased comfort. One weakness of the Rockstar Edition was its track toughness. We’re hoping that once we get more hours on different tracks and conditions, we can find a good all-around setting for Husky’s ‘23 FC 250. The potential is certainly there.
Helmet: Fly Racing Formula Carbon
Goggle: 100% Racecraft 2
Jersey: Fly Racing Evolution DST
Gloves: Fly Racing Evolution DST
Pants: Fly Racing Evolution DST
Boots: Sidi Crossfire 3 SRS
Front Fender Arch Stickers: DeCal Works
2023 Husqvarna FC 250 Specifications
|Engine:||DOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke:||81.0 x 48.5mm|
|Fuel System:||EFI w/ 44mm throttle body|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate Diaphragm Steel (DS); hydraulic actuation|
|Frame:||Central double-cradle chromoly steel|
|Front Suspension:||WP Xact 48mm fork, air pressure, compression damping, and rebound damping adjustable; 12.0 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||WP Xact shock, spring preload, high/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping adjustable; 11.5 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Brembo 2-piston caliper, 260mm disc|
|Rear Brake:||Brembo 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||Dunlop Geomax MX33; 80/100-21 / 110/90-19|
|Ground Clearance:||13.2 in.|
|Claimed Seat Height:||36.9 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||1.9 gal.|
|Claimed Weight (without fuel):||223 lb.|