I had the opportunity to get out to the Clermont-Ferrand area of France for three days riding with the mad Molson crew and it was the perfect trip to test the 390. The going would be fast and flowing with a mix of technical climbs and fun, fast n’ wet trails. Couple this with a few trips out to The Marsh and some riding at Surfing Life HQ with Fordy, Goldwing and Uncle D and the 30-odd hours in the saddle have given me a good insight into the world of the baby Berg…
After Spain I was a fan of the 390 and this connection with the blue and yellow has grown in the extra time I’ve been on board since my return. Another good side to getting out riding with your pals is the fact they can have a shot on the bike and give their own insight into the ride. This can sometimes lead to some vehicular damage but that is all part of a thorough DBR test.
With a generator fitted to the Berg that could power a small town the electric start never dies, it keeps on cranking without any drama no matter how many stop/starts you are having. The bike I had for the test didn’t have a fan fitted so it got hot on one occasion. Very little fluid was lost but if you’re going into any situation where low-speed technical riding is on the cards then a fan kit would be the first thing I would fit.
At over 6 foot 2 I never felt cramped on the bike, even on the long days. The comfort level is high on the bike even though the seat foam did feel a little soft just back from the mid point of the seat. But maybe that’s just my fat ass! Handlebars stayed comfy and hands stayed blister free with the excellent bend and flexibility. The stock bars also did well when Martin ‘Buzz Lightyear’ Tucker made an ill-fated attempt at the final tech climb of the three days in France. I have never seen a bike go to infinity and beyond before and I have to say it was a sight to behold!
The Berg showed great strength to stay (almost) together after such a maahoosive bit of unpiloted airtime. This ‘little’ crash from Buzz showed the strength of the Berg and also one small weakness. The e-starter button wires were damaged in the crash so the kickstartless machine had to be bump-started for the final hour’s ride back to base. This taught me a lesson in wire protection and if I was racing the Berg a spare e-starter button assembly would be in my bumbag and I would be running some protection on the wire.
At absolutely every point in time on the trails of France the bike was a pleasure to ride and if I am honest at the end of every day I felt fresh as a daisy as the bike’s balanced design and ease of ride means your body does not take the usual punishment of a normal long day in the woods and on the trails. To say this bike is easy to ride at any speed on the trails is an understatement.
Back to Blighty and it was time to get the Berg out to Marshfield for some laps of the MX track and the enduro loop as well as down to Cornwall for a thrash at the Surfing Life facility. The 390 took a few laps to get into the MX circuit but the harder I pushed it on the rough track the better it and I felt. Yes, it’s way too soft for me to ride MX on and, yes, it’s not as quick as an MX bike around there but it performed at absolute maximum and it does feel good to get on a bike and be able to ride it as hard as it will go.
The bike stays planted and firm on the track and jumps pretty well for a bike with lights on but it comes into its own on my enduro loop and at Fordy’s where there’s a technical mix of singletrack and cambers to sling it at. So with some tight and technical going, steps, streams, rocks, roots and grass cambers the test was complete.
The most fun about the bike is the lack of engine braking compared to a lot of the enduro four-strokes. The Husaberg 390 offers a great little crossover to a slightly two-stroke feel and it loves to be hammered.
So to sum up the FE390 after over 30 hours of hard riding - superb, strong and a whole lot of fun.