Husqvarna SM 510R


Make Model

Husqvarna SM 510R


2005 - 06


Four stroke, single cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves


501 cc / 30.5 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 97 x 67.8 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 12.5;1


41mm Keihin MX carburetor


Battery 12 V - 6 Ah
Starting Electric

Max Power

59.8 hp / 44 kW @ 8000 rpm

Max Torque

49 Nm / 56 lb-ft @ 6400 rpm
Clutch Wet / Multiplate / 6 spd


6 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Gear Ratio 1st 2.000 (28/14), 2nd 1.611 (29/18), 3rd 1.333 (24/18), 4th 1.086 (25/23), 5th 0.920 (23/25), 6th 0.814 (22/27)

Steel single tube cradle (round tubes); rear frame in light alloy

Front Suspension

45mm Marzocchi Inverted telescopic hydraulic adjustable fork

Rear Suspension

SACHS Progressive "Soft Damp" with Hydraulic Adjustable Single Shock Absorber

Front Brakes

Single 320mm disc

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc

Front Tyre

120/70 -17

Rear Tyre

150/60 -17
Wheelbase 1497 mm / 58.9 in
Seat Height 920 mm / 36.2 in

Dry Weight

109.3 kg / 241.0 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

9.2 Litres / 2.4 US GAL

Rob Smith of Motorcycle Trader magazines seems to have got in touch quickly and happily with his inner hooligan when he jumped on board Husqvarna’s latest supermoto and pressed the "Go" button...

About two days into the Husky test I happened to park up next to a Yamaha XTZ660X. On reflection I realised that despite Yamaha's worthy intention to produce a supermoto for the masses and the fact that the XTZ is a far better every day motorcycle for it, they might just have missed the point. Where the Yam says, "Come with me. We'll go for a ride and it'll be fun," the Husky spits in your face and promises a ride that'll be anything but dull.

Now here's the irony - according to the brochure blurb the new Husqvarna supermoto range has had an injection of civility aimed at increasing the all round capability. I quote: "Purpose built for the race track they are also comfortable commuters." Oh sure! Only if you like sitting on a razorblade. Don't get me wrong, you could commute, but that bit about the race track is far more valid. Like all "proper" supermotos this thing is all about neck-snap acceleration, crackerjack reflexes and heart attack brakes.

So what makes the Husky such a delightfully nasty piece of work? For starters there's the looks. Tell me it's not pretty. Then there's the weight, or the fact that there's so little of it at 119.7kg dry (more than 20kg lighter than its SM 610 sibling). And there's the all-new 501cc engine. Yes, I know it says 510 on the side, but there's clearly some numerical dyslexia at the factory. With no official max power figures from the factory we're working with a reliable estimate of close to 60 horses.

You don't need to be a mathematician to realise that the power/weight numbers add up to perky performance. The new engines have been redesigned to kill the old concerns regarding reliability and improve power at the same time. Sitting at the top end is a pair of new camshafts operating new titanium valves that have larger stems to increase reliability under hard use.

Fuel is fed by a 41mm Keihin that has been specially calibrated for Husqvarna to provide improved fuel flow under all types of use. There's a welcome electric starter but, for some ridiculous reason, there's no ignition key, meaning the Husky has to be the easiest bike in the world to steal. What are they thinking?

Talking of ignition, the digital CPU is programmable and recognizes both throttle position and gear selection. Ignition timing has been modified to make starting easier and the alternator allows improved charging even from low revs.

Getting away from the engine, a lot of time has been spent by factory riders on the suspension and brakes. The new Sachs rear suspension unit has been reworked to operate cooler and with improved rebound function while the new Brembo brake system features a floating four-caliper 320mm front disc.

So how does all that translate to riding the thing on the road? First up, let's deal with that commuter thing. Starting with the good stuff, the engine is actually very good in day-to-day use. It's way smoother and more sophisticated than the last SOHC 610 I tested a year ago.

It starts easily on the button once you get used to the fact that you shouldn't overdo the throttle for the first few seconds. Otherwise the extra fuel kills it stone dead and it becomes a bit hit or miss whether or not it'll kick off again. Warm-up is fast and you just can't help enjoying the immediacy of the throttle response with every throttle blip.

Then there's the bad stuff. With a seat height of 915mm, this is not a machine for shorties. Once you get rolling the very first thing that you notice is, of course, the appalling seat. Seriously, calling it a seat implies that you can sit on the thing for some extended period of time. This is like riding with your nadsack pinched in a pair of pliers. Honestly, the twenty-minute commute to the city was all that I could stand. Then there's the stuff like tacky add-on indicators and the feeble lights. Based on my ride home from work in the dark, if you buy one, make sure there's a full moon or plenty of streetlights. Oh, and lets not forget the awful near vertical sidestand that flips up if you sneeze fifty metres away.

Lack of comfort and oddball ancillaries aside, any SM is a gap-snatching traffic terrorist. No matter how you might kid yourself that today you're going to ride sensibly, you might as well give in and admit that it'll be like yesterday and the day before - you'll ride like a wild-eyed loon because you can. But here's the weird thing about a proper SM: once you get out onto the kinds of roads where riding like a loon makes sense, the seat stops being an issue. In truth, the Husky is full-on entertainment in a way other bikes just can't compete with. Yes, I know you must have the exactly right kind of roads - roads with very short straights, savage twists (and really dangerous drops to make sure you stay focussed). But in that setting everything about the bike clicks into place.

I learnt a while ago that when you ride an SM on the road, all that "foot-out" nonsense is just posturing in the same way that sticking your knee out on every street corner, just because you're riding a sportsbike, is nonsense too.

Ridden in the usual manner, the Husky tears between bends with a snarling midrange hunger. It makes the front light as the rear tyre bites hard into the bitumen for grip. The ultra anorexic dimensions lend a delicacy to the act of slicing through bends. It rolls easily over the contact patches of the fat Dunlops. Clumsy, bullying riding results in confusing and unwanted reactions. In fact, even small adjustments to input result in larger than expected responses that can also take a bit of getting used to. However, only when it's ridden with a measured hand do you realise just how well a lightweight Enduro weapon has been transformed in to a lightweight road weapon. Husqvarna has won a long list of supermoto championships for this very reason and it shows not just in the geometry, but in the equipment.

Things like the brakes are shockingly good. That big 320mm Brembo disc coupled to a radial four-piston caliper will stop a charging bull, so standing a feather-light motorcycle on its nose is simplicity itself. With one finger! And it's not all about massive power either. There's just so much control in the system. Then, there's the suspension. Marzocchi, fully-adjustable USD forks are matched to a Sachs, progressive, fully-adjustable monoshock. Once it's adjusted to suit the individual's riding style, the suspension will cope with just about anything; it exhibits the considerable input from Husqvarna's experts. Naturally, there's loads of travel available at both ends, more than enough to absorb all but the most archaeological of pits.

Right at the start I said, perhaps unkindly, that Yamaha might have missed the point with the XTZ660X. The reality is that the Yamaha is a 170kg road bike styled with just enough supermoto to carry off the illusion. By contrast the Husky is a supermoto with just enough road equipment and fuel capacity to carry off the illusion of being a road bike. Like any proper supermoto the Husqvarna SM510R is a machine that rewards real rider involvement richly. It's still a barely acceptable commuter. But that doesn't matter if you have an appreciation of its capabilities. The old bugbears of reliability seem to have been dealt with and, to prove it, there's a two-year warranty. Most importantly, it has a very bad attitude that not everyone will like it, but that's not the point.

When I first picked the bike up from our mates at First Class Motorcycles in Lilydale the front end was super softo. At the same time the back end was almost rock solid. Braking involved a plunge through the entire length of fork travel while steering felt decidedly odd. Unusually, with this setup the bike really didn't want to hold a tight line.

Taking off three clicks from the compression damping on the rear shock helped enormously - not just with the ability to steer and turn, but also with the comfort. (With a supermoto's unforgiving seat, believe me you're looking for every possible boost to comfort after you've been riding for a while.)

Some increased compression damping at the front firmed it up and reduced the dive.

From that moment on the Husky performed the way the designers intended.


Brilliant new engine
Sharp looks
Wickedly good brakes

Uncomfortable seat
Limited tank range
Marginal equipment

Souce Bikepoint.com.au