- Lifting dream
- Husaberg FC 501
- Yamaha YZ 400 F.
- Technical data: Husqvarna TC 610
- Technical data: Husaberg FC 501
- Technical data: Yamaha YZ 400 F
- New sounds on the cross slopes
- Four-stroke versus two-stroke
- CONCLUSION for all three motorcycles
Comparison of the four-stroke crosser
With the Yamaha YZ 400 F, Japan is waking the European specialists from their deep slumber. There’s a rude awakening for the large-capacity competition from Husaberg and Husqvarna?
A nightmare: the Japanese attack Europe. They come with real wonder weapons, state-of-the-art high-tech equipment. Heavy but outdated artillery from Austria, Sweden and Italy can only withstand the yellow overwhelming power for a short time, and the old world has to wave the white flag. But wait, this horror scenario doesn’t have to become reality. The reality for the European off-road specialists does not look quite so bleak yet.
The harbinger of an offensive from the Far East is already here – the Yamaha YZ 400 F. The cross world was turned upside down after Yamaha proved last season that even small four-stroke engines can defeat anything that moves on cross tracks. However, initially with the restriction that this only applies to a hand-carved factory motorcycle made of magnesium, titanium and carbon fiber. How does the production motorcycle fare in comparison to competitors with larger displacement??
The test machines: 400 against 500 and 600 cm³
Still the same: there is no substitute for displacement? To answer this question, the new YZ 400 F was compared with the Husaberg FC 501 and the Husqvarna TC 610. KTM has practically stopped production of the clumsy Cross-LC 4, and Dr. Jekyll just not Mr. Hyde. The fourth preferred candidate would have been Vertemati, but the Italians are badly behind with the start of series production of their premium racer.
The engines: intelligence versus brute force
The key question: Is the performance of the YZ 400 F, which is not very exciting on paper, enough? The answer: 99 percent yes. Five percent of the drivers could find a straight line on ten percent of the routes under certain weather conditions where a few additional horses would be needed. Otherwise, the YZ does not disappoint in any way, although with 50 hp it remains well below the nominal output. For a better understanding, a look at the performance curve helps: From 6000 to over 11,000 revolutions, more than 40 hp are available, the steep increase in the middle range brings the impressive thrust. This means that the performance of the YZ is pretty much on par with a quarter-liter two-stroke engine, and the usable speed range is even wider.
The subjective fun on the slopes also depends on how the performance can be implemented. When it comes to throttle control, the Yamaha sets standards; no other engine in the entire off-road sector can be controlled so easily with the throttle grip. With the five-valve engine running as smooth as silk thanks to the balancer shaft, the cross-beginner can roll around like with a DR 350.
The Husqvarna drive is cut from a completely different cloth: it vibrates, it rattles, it lives, it shakes. And he opposes the small-hearted competitors with the sheer force of the large displacement. If you have the nerves and the stamina, 60 horses can gallop up. However, these are difficult to get up to speed, the husky reluctantly moves into the upper speed range. Occasional hiccups and starting difficulties indicate unsatisfactory mixture preparation. Changing the jets brought little success, only the shutdown of the accelerator pump improved manners. An FP silencer installed as a trial was even more effective. Professionals install a short-stroke throttle for this, for amateurs the original, long-stroke throttle may be useful for carefully metering the tremendous power.
Much livelier is the Husaberg’s 500 engine, which hangs spontaneously and agile on the gas. The lightning-fast revving out of the corner, accompanied by the hammering blow, turns real four-stroke fans on. Even if the Swede is far from the finesse of the YZ. On slippery terrain, the FC often uses too rough, the performance cannot be brought to the ground so elegantly. Like the Yamaha with 51 hp and a full torque curve, however, hardly anyone will be able to complain about top performance.
The chassis: stability versus mobility
Everything is somehow related, including the engine character and chassis of a crosser. The gyroscopic forces of the centrifugal masses, such as the Husky’s six kilogram crank mechanism, stabilize straight-line stability. The moments of inertia keep the TC steadfast like a gyro compass in deep sand waves. The downside: The Husky strives outward when accelerating out of the curve, changes in direction require emphasis.
The Yamaha is different: the driver gives the direction, every command to change course is followed spontaneously. Therefore, even tighter lines can be driven, the YZ turns at right angles from a neighboring area even when pulled. The Husaberg is similarly handy. It can be angled easily and even tends a little to fall into curves. The steering precision suffers as a result. The Husaberg also seems a bit nervous on the brakes. The notorious tendency to flutter is still there in the current model, but it is easier to control. The recipe: never put your weight forward too far, especially stay behind on the brakes. And always think of the handlebars, never let up. The fact that the Husaberg is improving is also due to the WP fork, which responds gently, is extremely stiff and never tends to hit hard. The rear shock is fine-tuned, although the grip could be better here and there.
In contrast, the Yamaha literally sticks to the ground, which brings better acceleration in many situations. It also offers the comfort of a soft enduro. Amazing how well the fork works, which feels quite unsteady when standing. The Husky offers extremely hard material. The fork and shock absorber are overdamped even in the softest setting. Even the many cogs are of no use, there is no leeway to adapt the damping to the driver and the route. It’s a shame, because the Husky could keep up with the Ohlins shock absorber and the earlier, softly tuned Marzocchi fork.
D.around and on: the tried and tested versus the modern
You can see at first glance that the Yamaha has the most modern concept. It is compact, narrow, and its layout is identical to current Cross technology. No testers criticized the seating position or the space. On the Husaberg, smaller drivers tend to feel comfortable, the seating position with the bench sloping forward is unusual. The stocky Husky appeals to the tall, but needs a less cranked handlebar.
Yamaha is also called the favorite when it comes to brakes. The front one looks a bit soft at first, but is easier to dose than the stoppers of the competition. Husaberg and Husky use the same Brembo saddles, but with different effects. The Husaberg brake system packs with more vehemence. In terms of equipment, Europeans can outdo Japan. They come with better tires, O-ring chains, and sturdy Excel rims.
Conclusion: Hectic activity on the drawing board
The YZ 400 F relentlessly reveals that the European material – offshoots of Enduro models from the eighties – is technically no longer up to date. The Yamaha is the motorcycle of the turn of the millennium, word of that has already got around. Husaberg, Husqvarna and KTM have been working feverishly on new motorcycles since last autumn in order to be able to effectively counter the Japanese offensive over the next few years.
Husaberg FC 501
500 cc was the limit in the large class for a long time, until it was raised to 650 cc for four-stroke engines in 1993. Husaberg therefore offers four-stroke fans the choice between the 600 and the 500. MOTORRAD opted for the smaller version because common mortals would rather keep their hands off the ultra brutal, barely controllable 600 series. For 99 percent of cross riders, the 500 is the better choice. An oil pump, which supplies the cylinder head and the crankshaft, should now make the Husaberg engines stable. The cross version is only ventilated through a small air filter under the tank, so regular cleaning is particularly important. In terms of chassis, the Swedes use in-house material: Ohlins was no longer considered for the suspension, instead WP Suspension, which like Husaberg now belongs to the KTM group. The 50 millimeter thick WP “Extreme” fork looks massive, and it should not have contributed to the slight increase in weight compared to earlier models. With a dry weight of 112 kilograms one cannot speak of being overweight for a long time.
Yamaha YZ 400 F.
400 cm³ displacement should be enough against powerful two-stroke engines and large four-stroke engines? Before last season, nobody thought that was possible, but the factory machine proved the opposite. Outwardly, the production model has little in common with this one, but the concept is the same: the extremely short-stroke and correspondingly high-revving engine sits in the chassis of a 250cc Crosser, controlled by five valves and two camshafts. In contrast to the factory racer, a balance shaft ensures silky smooth running. The oil is stored in the frame and circulated by two pumps. The engine management is complex. The map ignition takes into account the position of the throttle slide, a sender on the 39 flat slide carburetor supplies the necessary signals. The chassis and add-on parts come from the two-stroke engine, which makes the YZ incredibly compact and narrow. All dimensions are almost identical to those of the 250. Kayaba builds the suspension elements, the upside-down fork with 46 millimeter stanchions now has an elastomer block as a stop buffer.
Technical data: Husqvarna TC 610
Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, an overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves operated by rocker arms, wet sump lubrication without oil pump, Dellorto round slide carburetor, Ø 40 mm, contactless condenser ignition (CDI), kick starter, four-speed gearbox, bore x stroke 98 x 76.5 mm, displacement 577 cm³ 60 HP chassis Single-loop frame made of tubular steel with split beams and screwed-on rear frame made of aluminum, Marzocchi telescopic fork, o 50 mm, with adjustable rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, Boge central spring strut, articulated via a lever system, with adjustable spring base, tension and Compression damping, spoked wheels with Excel rims, double-piston Brembo disc brakes at the front, o 260 mm, single-piston Brembo disc brakes at the rear, o 220 mm, front suspension travel 300 mm, rear 330 mm, rim size front 1.60 x 21 rear 2.15 x 19, dimensions and weights, steering head angle 62 mmCaster 112 mmWheelbase * 1500 mmSeat height * 940 mmGround clearance * 330 mmWeight without B petrol * 115 kg tank capacity / reserve 8.7 liters price including additional costs xxxxx marks
Technical data: Husaberg FC 501
EngineWater-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, an overhead, chain-driven camshaft, four valves operated by rocker arms, wet sump lubrication with oil pump, Dellorto round slide carburetor, Ø 40 mm, contactless condenser ignition (CDI), kick starter, six-speed gearboxBore x stroke x mmLine capacity 499 cm³ Steel tube with split beams and bolted rear frame, WP telescopic fork, o 50 mm, with adjustable rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, WP central spring strut, hinged via a lever system, with adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, spoked wheels with Excel rims, double-piston Brembo disc brakes at the front, o 260 mm, single-piston Brembo disc brakes at the rear, o 220 mm, front suspension 300 mm, rear 325 mm, rim size, front 1.60 x 21, rear 2.15 x 19, dimensions and weights, steering head angle 61 degrees, caster wheelbase * 1500 mm, seat height * 940 mm Ground clearance * 355 mm Weight without petrol * 112 kg Tank capacity / reserve e 8.0 liter price including additional costs xxxxx marks
Technical data: Yamaha YZ 400 F
Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, five valves operated by bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication with two oil pumps, Keihin flat slide carburetor, Ø 39 mm, contactless capacitor ignition (CDI), balance shaft, kick starter, five-speed gearbox, bore x stroke 92 x 60.1 mmHub space 399 cm³Nominal output 55 HP ChassisSingle-loop frame made of tubular steel with split beams and bolted rear frame, Kayaba upside-down telescopic fork, o 46 mm, with adjustable rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, Kayaba central spring strut, articulated via a lever system, with adjustable Spring base, rebound and compression damping, spoked wheels, double-piston Nissin disc brake at the front, o 245 mm, single-piston Nissin disc brake at the rear, o 220 mmSpring travel at the front 300 mm at the rear 315 mmRim size at the front 1.60 x 21 at the rear 2.15 x 19 Dimensions and weights Steering head angle 62, 5 degrees caster 121 mm wheelbase * 1495 mm seat height * 950 mm floor clearance * 340 mm G. eweight without petrol * 110 kg tank capacity / reserve 7.8 liters price including additional costs Mark
New sounds on the cross slopes
Subjectively, the muffled sound of the four-stroke engines is perceived as significantly louder compared to the two-stroke engines. How loud are the four-stroke engines really? MOTORRAD put the test to the test: Suzuki RM 250: 101.5 dB (A) Yamaha YZ 400 F: 104.5 dB (A) Husqvarna TC 610: 108.0 dB (A) The measured values are peak levels and apply to accelerating past the rated speed from a distance of 7.5 meters. It should be noted: The Husky is only so loud at maximum speed, the level drops significantly just below that. The Yamaha achieves top values in the middle range, so it appears considerably louder in racing or training.
Four-stroke versus two-stroke
The real opponents of the Yamaha YZ 400 F are the 360 to 500 two-stroke engines and the large four-stroke engines. In the Inter-DM or in amateur races, it can also compete with 250cc, as well as in the USA. The comparison suggests itself anyway, because handling the YZ 400 F is more reminiscent of a quarter-liter two-stroke than the conventional four-stroke. The advantages of the YZ 400 F: · More traction on hard and smooth surfaces · Better handling in most curves · Stable straight-line stability · No steering knocking when braking · Much easier to drive in the long run The advantages of the 250 two-stroke model: · Livelier and faster out of tight corners · Lighter, therefore handling is often better · Swallows deep waves and hard landings better All in all, it comes down to a classic draw. Compared to the powerful half-liter two-stroke machines, the 400 series could lack performance here and there. The lively two-stroke engines also have an advantage on extremely narrow tracks, for example in the indoor cross on natural ground. In the amateur field, the duel on the usual outdoor slopes tends to end in favor of the four-stroke engine, which is considerably easier to drive. In any case, the Yamaha is the motorcycle that the less experienced will immediately have more fun with. And it is the first four-stroke engine that every two-stroke fan can cope with straight away, while other four-stroke engines require a period of getting used to.
CONCLUSION for all three motorcycles
1st placeYamaha YZ 400 FKeep smiling: Anyone who drives the YZ 400 can’t stop laughing. No series crosser, whether two or four-stroke, brings as much fun for beginners as professionals. True size is not exactly reflected in the big biceps, the Yamaha relies more on intelligence. Apart from the stiff clutch, the YZ 400 F is top in all disciplines. The handling is absolutely fantastic, the suspension great, the engine a poem. A motorcycle that opens up new perspectives. 2nd placeHusaberg FC 501 How beneficial a fast can be. In contrast to the wild 600, the FC 501 appears downright tame. The crisp engine hammers loose and does not shy away from high speeds. The fork works great, sometimes more traction at the rear would be desirable. At the limit, the Husaberg is not uncritical, it requires your own driving style. With a little practice, the unpleasant handlebar flutter can be got under control. 3rd place Husqvarna TC 610 The Husky would like to show the weak competitors where the hammer is. But at the moment it is in a deep form. The suspension setup went quite wrong this year, and the engine also needs a bit of fine-tuning. A revised suspension and swapping the exhaust, handlebars and throttle grip would bring the TC back into business. Then she could flex her muscles more often. In many situations there is a lack of liveliness, which even the stubborn straight-line stability cannot compensate for.
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