Words and photos: Simon Cudby
The 2022 Husqvarna FE501s is a perfectly capable dual sport machine right out of the crate. But let’s just say you want something more… much more. Enter the 501 magician himself, Mike Spurgin from the rapidly growing Taco Moto Co.
We called Mike a few months ago before a Baja dual sport ride, and asked him what we needed to do to make the “choked up” stock 501 into an offroad fire breather. Not only did we get the heart of the bike, the Athena GET ECU, tuned to our 501 configured to work with a beautiful Yoshimura RS12 system, Mike also has many other essential parts for this machine.
So what is the theory behind the Taco Moto Co. product offerings, and why do you need to do this for your own 501? According to Taco Moto owner Mike Spurgin, “It’s for the rider who used to either race moto, or go to the practice track every week when they were a bit younger. Now they want a plated dual sport bike that feel somewhat close to their motocross bike they used to ride, but with more comfortable suspension and a little less big power hit for all day rideability”.
The guys and gals at Taco Moto Co. are really in tune with the rider’s needs. It’s all very well to make a bike feel like a race bike, but if your riding on an 8 day trip to Baja, you need the whole package to work easily and comfortably too. Before we had taken our suspension to Carl’s for a re-valve and tune, we actually took the bike south of the border for a week adventure in northern Baja.
Our friend, ex-Baja 1000 rider Todd “TC” Corbitt, was piloting the 501 for the week, and his impressions of the Taco tuned machine were very favorable. “It’s easy to ride, and it feels like my 450 offroad race bike. It’s strong on the road sections, and cruises nicely at around 75 mph. Offroad it’s very capable and comfortable with plenty of useable power for the hard pack fast sections, and also in the deep sand washes. I didn’t need to fight the bike at all, so that made it a lot of fun on this trip.”
For our suspension needs we went with our local Carl’s Cycles suspension services close to home in Boise, Idaho. Carl’s is renowned for their great set ups on all sorts of offroad bikes, and they are always out testing on new model bikes to get the perfect set up.
After the Carl’s suspension tune up, we took the bike up into the Idaho mountains north of Boise into some different terrain to Baja. This time ex-offroad racer Scott Lantefield was behind the handlebars for a photo shoot to get images for this article. “The single track is no problem on this bike with the suspension and the added horsepower it’s really good” said Scott. Regarding the GET traction control “I could definitely tell a difference when you turned the traction control on. It’s a softer hit, and there are nine settings to choose from. The suspension is great. We got into some embedded rock and some dry slick trails, and it just stuck. It’s a really good setting from Jack Struthers at Carl’s.”
So overall our 501 set up feels like almost the perfect bike. Plenty of useable power, coupled with a great suspension tune. We added more parts from companies like Seat Concepts, Yoshimura, Acerbis, Fastway, MSC Dampers, Shinko tires, Maxima, Decal Works, ProTaper.
All the details of the parts used on this build, and where to get them are listed below.
Huge thanks to Mike at Taco Moto Co. and Jack at Carl’s Cycles for helping us with this build, and Randy Commans (@my1090R) for designing the clean DeCal Works graphics.
Decal Works graphics
Think it. Create it. Custom Graphics with personal style. DeCal Works offers full-custom graphics kits.
We love the high quality, long lasting graphics from Decal Works. Also the fitment is spot on! We had Randy Commans design our 501 graphics, and Decal Works output the final kit.
Carls Cycle’s Suspension service.
The guy’s at Carl’s did a basic revalve for rider weight. They also replaced the stock fork and shock springs with WP springs for rider weight. Race Tech base valves were added to the fork, and a WP bladder kit in the rear shock.
The bike is set up for a wide range of riding, from singletrack to fast BDR style riding.
Athena GET RX1 PRO ECU $799
Taco Mike: “We’re continually testing and perfecting our maps all through the south west deserts, deep Utah forest tight single track and back canyons, technical gnar gnar in high altitude Colorado, Arizona and Idaho, east coast woods and trails, the insanely grueling Baja 1000 and too many local club races and organized rides to mention. Our test riders and development partners have made our maps what they are and that’s second to none.”
- WiFi com module available for purchase as an add on separate accessory
- Built-in barometric pressure sensor PERFECTLY adjusts fueling for elevation changes (EXCLUSIVE TO THE GET ECU)
- Most bikes will now start without the choke
- Lean cough and stall condition completely eliminated.
- Lets your EXC, XCF-W, FE, FEs run the way the engineers designed it to.
- Loaded with 2 CUSTOM maps created specifically for you.
- Easy installation with some brief syncing and confirming of settings in the app.
- WiFi into your bike to see diagnostic data, trouble codes, tune and modify the fueling and ignition of map 1 & 2 (EXCLUSIVE TO THE GET ECU)
- Fueling can be increased up to 30% and decreased 10% with the easy to use free smart phone app.
- Ignition can be adjusted -30 deg to +5 deg with the easy to use free smart phone app.
- Dyno tested on a 2020 500 EXCF with the reeds removed, Euro intake boot, high flow Twin Air filter, vented air box cover, stock TKC80 tire, 91 pump gas – bike made 56.8hp.
- The rev limiter can be increased up to 500 over stock with the easy to use free smart phone app.
- True traction control ready, not just a ‘weak sauce’ second map like other performance ECU’s available or like on the factory KTM map switch. Requires optional traction control switch.
- One of the most widely used performance ECU on the race track, run by almost all Super Cross teams and on podium bikes in every racing category from GNCC, WORKS, Dakar, EnduroCross, AMA National Enduro and a growing list of class Baja 1000 wins.
ATHENA GET Traction Control Knob $159.00
So now you’ve got all this awesome available power with your GET ecu – but can you use it! That is to say can you get it to the dirt without just shooting roost and spinning the back tire.
The GPA SWITCH is the best ally for Enduro riders. Uncomplicated, straightforward, indestructible, it allows modulating in real-time up to 10 levels of our sophisticated and patented “GPA power assistance” technology.
The ecu senses wheel spin by comparing engine rpm to the TPS and if the algorithm detects wheel spin – power is automatically reduced until it comes back into range then re-applied automatically. This dial switch lets you control the level of that control.
Yoshimura RS-12 Full System. $979.00
Packed with features, the RS-12 Enduro Series offering comes with a USFS approved spark arrestor and massive gains in power. Expect gains of 21.8% peak HP and 15% peak torque on the dyno.
On the trail this translates more raw grunt when you need to get up that rock or over that log. On the street it provides more get up and go to get to the next trailhead.
TIDY TAIL ALL IN ONE REAR LIGHT BY TACO MOTO CO. $108.48
Ditch that enormous rear end on your 20+ Husky 250-501 FEs dirt bike and have run, brake and turn signals all combined into one single light unit.
Our own exclusive in-house Taco Labs design tail light is plug and play simple and installs in less then 25 min.
Take weight and bulk off the tail end of your bike and avoid having eternal signals that break off in a crash, vibrate loose, interfere with bike luggage or cargo racks or melt from the exhaust.
TACO MOTO CO FORK WRAP LED FRONT SIGNALS $99.99
Low profile super clean look.
When upgrading your lighting to LED’s replace your stock signal flasher with an LED Signal Flasher otherwise your signals will flash too fast.
Some bikes may also require an LED specific flasher indicator harness.
MOTHER OF ALL OIL FILTERS BY TACOMOTO CO $219.99
Using some kind of Taco Moto witchcraft, or actually science, this oil filter is a paperless filter that uses rare earth magnet disks installed inside a stainless steel tube with the magnetic north fields aligned together to create bands of super strong radial fields for optimized magnetic strength.
COMPLETE SMOG BUNDLE KIT BY TACO MOTO CO. $99.99
Designed for our Baja 1000 race bikes, if you’re converting your EXCF, XCFW, FE, or FEs machine into a Race Use Competition Use Only bike and want to remove failure points and maintenance issues consider a complete bundle with all the components included in one soup to nuts kit.
20+ kit contains:
- Vapor recovery system delete plugs and caps
- Vapor recovery system delete dongle (piggyback tuner) or dust dongle (GET or Vortex)
- Stainless steel O2 header delete plug
- O2 dust dongle
- Crankcase breather hose
- Check valve tank vent hose
- Kick stand return delete bolt
TACO MOTO CO. SLIM FIT LEFT HAND MASTER SWITCH $54.99
Taco Moto Co’s left hand bar switch is specifically designed to eliminate clutch lever spacing conflicts and is a direct plug and play upgrade for the stock unit. Takes 5 min and no special skills to install.
MOTO MINDED BBS – Bomber Bar Switch EXC/FES Start/Kill $77.00
Free up room & declutter your bars with the KTM/HQV start/kill switch wired to directly plug into your late model KTM/HQV. A ‘plug and ride’ switch that requires no splicing.
The smallest and thinnest of any available start / kill combo switch out there. Our new favorite switch.
MOTO MINDED HEADLIGHT – Epic 7350 lumens 60 watts $515
Light up the night with this Baja Designs LED headlight.
- Highly adjustable tilt for accurate aim.
- Hi / low beam functions for bikes with switch / lighting harness
- PC/PBT Frame = lightweight and rugged.
- Plug and Ride technology (No wiring or splicing).
TACO MOTO CO. ULTRA SLIM OIL FILLER CAP $18.99
Comes with Taco Mike engraving. Worth it for that alone!
The lowest profile ultra thin oil filler plugs out there CNC machined from 6061 billet aluminum and includes a high temp o-ring.
Doubletake Scrambler mirror
We love the design of these Doubletake mirrors that are virtually bulletproof, and fold out of the way easily on tighter trails.
FUEL FILTER/GOLAN QUICK DISCONNECT ULTIMATE FILTER $68.99
The best quick connect tank filter you can buy.
CNC’d from billet aluminum with a serviceable internal 10 Micron stainless steel filter element.
FASTWAY Evolution EXT Footpegs
MSC Axis Steering Damper Kit Down Under Mount $529.99
A vital part of any serious offroad bike, the AXIS steering damper is the latest in steering damper technology with its small compact design featuring 20 clicks of adjustment and Active Return to Centre (RTC) as well as all the standard MSC MOTO quality features like hardened steel long-lasting linkages and anodized billet construction.
As we are running an under the bar damper, we mounted up a set of ProTaper EVO handlebars with the steering damper low bend.
Each part is CNC machined in Australia by the same guys who design, develop, and manufacture the parts. Every part is hand-assembled and checked in-house at the MSC Products Factory before getting shipped out.
We love this product!
Fastway F.I.T hand guards- Version 3
The Fastway Integrated Technology (F.I.T.) Handguard System is designed for performance, function, fit, and finish. Mounting directly to the patented top clamps gives the strongest, cleanest mounting options available. The patented mounting system prevents your handguards from rotating up or down in the event of a crash, providing rock solid protection, all proudly made in the USA!
Easy to install, superior strength, long lifespan and lightweight design are what make these the kickstands of choice for many Factory ISDE and Pro Enduro riders. Designed to stay up and out of the way no matter the riding conditions.
Seat Concepts Comfort Seat
Seat Concepts seats are constructed using a foam material that is a much higher quality than OEM seat foam. The proprietary formula provides a more plush and active ride, while still offering the necessary amount of support.The enhanced comfort feel provides greater enjoyment and increased range on a long ride!
Shinko Tires MX 216 “Fat Tyre Cheater” front, 525 “Cheater”Rear
This tire combo has proven the be a real winner for us. We did 700 miles on our Baja trip, and the rear still has plenty of rubber left, even though they are a soft compound with a ton of grip.
Acerbis USA 3.1 gallon fuel tank $285.95
We love the Acerbis larger tank on the 501. It ups the fuel capacity by almost a gallon, and we think we are good for about a 120 mile fuel range. The fitment is perfect on this product, just like the Acerbis new plastic that we also installed on the bike.
Acerbis X-Grip frame protector $52.95
Not only does the X-Grip protect the frame of your shiny bike, it also has a rubber area that helps your boots grip to the bike for more control.
Acerbis Skid Plate $82.95
We went to Acerbis for this skid plate that offers more protection than stock. Even though it’s a lightweight part, it offered enough protection on our Baja trip. No issues.
Maxima Oils, air filters, lubricants and cleaners.
We use Maxima products in all our bikes, from engine oils to SC1 :new bike in a can”. We also run the pre-oiled ready to use ProFilter air filters.