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August 24th, 2016, 08:13 PM   #11
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From: Perth Western Australia

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I Ride: FE 501
Hi there guys,
I had clocked up nothing short of 600+ hours on the 04 550 , I have also rode a few 650s 07-08 on short runs.

I enjoyed the 550 very much, as above mentioned, quite a bottom end and a mid range that would stick it to most bikes.

If you are new to offroad bikes and in tight hard going , I would say both the 550/650 , it is not for you, especially with poor throttle control, it will wear you down quickly, until you hone your riding skills. Good however, for open stuff for the thrills of ripping on the throttle, knocking through gears, you cant go wrong.

A more experienced rider on the 550 ,will hone their riding technic , with counter steer , body positioning, suspension set up and brake use into tighter more snottier of corners and more challenging terrain, I found that is where it really comes into play , especially with some pace on ,short shifting off the bottom , it does change direction quite well when its set up , and not being in the right gear or to higher gear can work in your favour at times. In hard going I personally found less rpm , less throttle input , it was really tractable not so fatiguing, and you would ride faster.

The 650 on the few times I rode , I found the bottom end punch bigger again, compared to the 550 , and had a smooth run off the bottom right up to the top end. The 550 seemed like it had a bigger more noticeable hit of mid range power.

The 650 was definitely plenty controllable in tight stuff for me , but there was a slight noticeable difference in handling in tight stuff, some of that may be due to riding a borrowed bike and not getting the time to completely test and adjust my riding style. It was definitely smooth power, but manageable, with speed on up top, it really gets into it , no doubt. It is deceptively fast up top due to the smooth release of power.

Time again, for my purpose, the 550 would be my choice again.
Thanks from pollo and tourist
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August 25th, 2016, 06:57 AM   #12
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I Ride: 2006 FS650e, 2007 FE550e, 2016 Ktm500Exc
Good stuff from people who have ridden both bikes.

Thanks.
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August 31st, 2016, 11:51 PM   #13
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I Ride: FS650 '08/FS650 '04/FE501 '03/FX470 '02
Thanks to everyone who posted their experiences here. I have been wondering for a while what other people thought of the two bikes, and it seems everyone else has had similar experience with the 550 vs the 650 as me.

Off the bat the 550 did feel a lot faster than the 650, and I agree that is because the 550 is a more revvier motor, and I've come to the conclusion that the 550 is actually the best bike for me, because of the balance of power vs torque. But any one of them is a very capable bike in any terrain from supermoto to desert to technical terrain. All my bikes are geared quite tall. My bikes also get changed between SM and offroad trim as my mood changes. On the 501 I run 15/48 gearing and that is currently in offroad trim. I don't change the gear ratios between desert racing and technical riding. The 501 makes enough torque to allow me to still lug her like a tractor on a rocky technical hillclimb, the only drawback with the tall gearing I have is not lots of stalling, but my minimum speed is very high. When I had the 650 in offroad trim, I was running 14/42 gearing, and once again, enough torque to run that gearing even in very technical terrain but with a uncomfortable high speed at idle. But improving my fitness and my skill would allow me to ride at that speed without changing the gearing. For racing I would definitely choose the 550, I think the smaller inertial mass of the engine will make the bike easier to handle and less tiring. In supermoto I found the 650 to have a tendency to go wider under hard acceleration in corners, and I have to fight to keep the bike leaning over through the corner. The 450 I could bang wide open through the same corner without the bike wanting to come upright as the revs go up. Then again, tweaking the suspension will reduce that effect a bit. At the end of the day, both bikes are pretty much equally fast, but the 550 is closer to the 'manageable' part of the spectrum, in some situations 'too much power' is far better than 'waaay too much power'.

I've dabbled with 500 twostrokes and I abandoned that shite the moment I got my first 650 Berg. Sold the CR500 and bought the 501, and they felt about matched power wise.

I'm planning on getting me a 550 as well sometime...
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September 2nd, 2016, 05:09 PM   #14
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I Ride: '07Exc 525 & '07 FS 550.Just sold ' 08 Ktm 450 sxf.
Another excellent comparo!

I am really glad that I found this topic. I was looking for Fe 650, got Fs 550 put knobbies on. It has rebuilt engine. Now I'm in process of purchasing 08 Fe 550 in showroom condition, just couldn't walk past this one. I am still looking for Fe 650 but I'm not so sad that I haven't found one yet.
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September 8th, 2016, 04:01 PM   #15
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From: Woodland, ca

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I Ride: 2016 Beta 500RS, 2006 FE550e
I've not ridden the FE650, but I had an XR650R, and now have a Beta 500rs (478cc). I now laugh when people refer to the "500s" (ktm, husky, Beta) as big bores. The only thing the Beta has on the FE550 is topend, but at that point it is really over-rev. Just shift the berg and it keeps going. I could start in 2nd at the base of a huge sand hill and end in 4th on the 550. On the Beta I wasn't even sure it would make it! The Beta feels gutless compared to the 550. I couldn't imagine the FE650 since it is racier than the XR was and 100 cc's more!

Berg has never let me down. I had to push the Beta back to the truck last week

Glad the Berg hasn't sold yet!
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September 8th, 2016, 05:26 PM   #16
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I Ride: 04 FE650E
i might as well throw another berg in the mix. the early 600. it's like a 550 with more beans. the 650 is easier to control the power than the 600 was.
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September 10th, 2016, 10:47 AM   #17
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I Ride: 2006 FS650e, 2007 FE550e, 2016 Ktm500Exc
I just rode them back to back to back on street to get a feel for both motors.
First of all, the 650 in its form with 16/40 and supermoto trim is a lot faster everywhere
than the 550 15/48 in dirt trim. I expected that.

But as for the motors and their delivery:

The 550 revs quicker. We all know that. But for me the 550 is all about the mid range hit. The 650 picks up very strong down low and I cant be sure the 550 would beat it there unless I had the same FS setup on it to test. (I have the extra FS wheels). I'm going with 650 down low for now. In the mid I can believe it would out pull the 650. It gives you everything right there , pulling hard.
On top, its 650.

pollo

Last edited by pollo; September 10th, 2016 at 11:28 AM.
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September 10th, 2016, 11:37 AM   #18
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I Ride: 2005 husaberg fe650e and 2007 BMW k1200gt
Originally Posted by pollo View Post
I just rode them back to back to back on street to get a feel for both motors.
First of all, the 650 in its form with 16/40 and supermoto trim is a lot faster everywhere
than the 550 15/48 in dirt trim. I expected that.

But as for the motors and their delivery:

The 550 revs quicker. We all know that. But for me the 550 is all about the mid range hit. The 650 picks up very strong down low and I cant be sure the 550 would beat it there unless I had the same FS setup on it. (I have the extra FS wheels). In the mid I can believe it would out pull the 650. It gives you everything right there , pulling hard.
On top, its 650.

pollo


It makes sense that the short stroke same bore engine will gain rpm faster, even at 87% of the capacity. The shorter distance the piston has to travel gets it back to the power stroke faster at any rpm. Should also be capable of much higher red line, given that other factors such as valve size and porting is equal. Which brings up an interesting aspect of all naturally aspirated engines:

Horsepower is a direct result of an engines ability to flow gasses through it, measured in cft/sec (cubic feet per second).



The higher this number is, the more hp will result. Has little to do with the displacement of an engine, other than larger displacement engines generally are able to flow more, as more cylinders are added etc. But the easiest way to gain horsepower is to increase the size of the carb or FI throttle bodies, enlarge the valves, enlarge, straighten, and polish the intake and exhaust ports, tune the exhaust manifold/pipes/silencer to "extract" exhaust gas.

Rev limits are a result of more factors than just piston speed in ft/sec, a lot of that has to do with the limits of any valve trains design. But with improvement in engineering an engine to be able to achieve higher rpm without valve float etc, an engine with the ability to flow "x" amount of gas with a smaller displacement will rev to the exact rpm where it is moving the same amount of gas through it that a larger displacement engine with the same ability to flow "x" amount of gas at lower rpm, and making maximum equal power at different rpm's. So if the 550 could rev about 1000-1500 rpm higher, it would probably make about the same max horsepower as the 628.

This should help to explain some of the reason why your 550 feels faster in certain regards. You would have to gear them exactly the same to get a real comparison though. The lower gearing of the 550 should give it an advantage until top speeds are reached. The 650 is making more hp because the rev limiter for both engines is the same.


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September 10th, 2016, 12:50 PM   #19
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I Ride: 2006 FS650e, 2007 FE550e, 2016 Ktm500Exc
Yeah it would be interesting to see the same gearing response down low with both bikes. Whether the higher reving 550 could holeshot the 650 and its torque. And particlarly the tall 16/38 or 40 gearing.
Enginenumber who prefers the 550 also noted that the 650 punch was bigger down low than the 550.
Similar to the way I felt the motors.
I could see the 650 getting the jump before the 550 gains ground and the 650 then getting away.
But until then I will just need to set them up for a drag race.
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September 11th, 2016, 02:04 PM   #20
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I Ride: 2006 FS650e, 2007 FE550e, 2016 Ktm500Exc
Originally Posted by berger View Post
My opinion. The 550 is a go fast bike, it revs quickly and pulls hard. The 650 is more of a tractor. It revs a little slower and tends to put the power to the ground a little better. The 650 has a faster top speed but will take just alittle longer to get there. The torque and roost factor is way up on the fun meter. If I was going to race I think I would get the 550. For desert and trail riding I think you have to go with the 650. I tend to enjoy riding the 650 more, it really is a fun bike.
You can not compare a 450 to either one of these bikes. It is not even in the equation.
I quoted Berger here because it mirrors my dirt review today on the 550.
I have put about 300hrs off road on the FE650 15/48 gearing. Today was the first 2 hour ride off road on the FE550 15/48 gearing. I rode fire roads, rocks, and some single track.
I would have to say for the most part the 650 requires a little less effort to ride because of the torque and smoother delivery. The 550 needs a little more throttle control even when ridden at a moderate pace. And that's because it waiting for the crack of the throttle.
The 550 can "Get away" at the crack of the throttle with a burst of energy. I proved that when some guy came up behind me today.
The 650 is no slouch though and can do the same, but there is a point in the mid range of the 550 that feels over the top.
The 550 has less vibration of course. And that feels good.
I was able to turn the 650 quite well. Maybe because I got so used to it. But the 550 did feel a little more nimble in the turns and lighter. My suspension clicker setup felt in range to my liking with the forks at a comfortable height.

So I would say its hard to like the 550 more than the 650 for me. Except maybe racing it or riding it hard. Its very fun there. And I'm not planning to convert my 650 back to enduro. I have my 2016 Ktm 500 as my primary dual sport. The 550 is a great bike and I'm happy to own both of these Husabergs.

pollo
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