2023 Husqvarna FE 501 S takes dual-sport competition by storm

Dual-sport bikes combine the handling and agility of dirt bikes with the go-anywhere attitude of adventure bikes. Since 2015, Husqvarna’s FE 501 S has taken this formula to the Nth degree with a 510.9cc SOHC single-cylinder engine and a competition-worthy chassis. The brand is improving this winning platform in 2023, with some updates taking the FE 501 S to the next level.

Weighing 239 pounds (without fuel), the half-liter dual-sport benefits from a 64.8-pound thumper mated to a lightweight 6-speed transmission and DDS (Dampened Diaphragm Steel) clutch. Husqvarna pairs this lightweight construction with a low-friction DLC-coated rocker arm, mass-centralized crankcase and 12.75:1 compression ratio for an extra dose of performance and ride comfort.

A chrome-molybdenum steel frame proves to be both durable and capable, with optimized longitudinal flex and torsional behavior that provides the best rider feedback, energy absorption and straight-line stability. Frame guards provide extra off-road strength, and the in-frame radiator keeps the single-cylinder mill cool while minimizing plumbing and weight.

Husqvarna’s two-piece 2.2-pound carbon composite subframe uses a blend of 70% polyamide and 30% carbon fiber to take even more fat out of the FE 501 S. The WP XPLOR front end 48 puts all those weight savings to good use with an open cartridge layout and 30 clicks of adjustment on each fork leg. The WP XACT shock works in concert with the fully adjustable front end, thanks to the same linkage progression found on Husqvarna motocross bikes and 11.8 inches of rear wheel travel.

The highly responsive Braketec braking system and 260mm front and 220mm rear GSK Wave discs provide more than enough bite on and off road. In the cockpit, ProTaper handlebars, thin contact points, a flat saddle and a textured saddle cover maintain rider control and comfort in all conditions. For 2023, the FE 501 S defaults to traditional Husqvarna colors with distinctive new dark blue graphics and electric yellow accents. Dual-sport riders can nab a 2023 Husqvarna FE 501 S for $12,649 with $485 freight.

Sara R. Cicero