The all-new Husqvarna Hard Cross models represent the brand’s flagship 2023 range, which has remained largely unchanged since 2019. We had a first look at the aluminium HC5 to give you a summary of the innovations and hard facts. Do Husqvarna’s new ebikes still have motorcycle genes or do cranks and pedals reign supreme?

Husqvarna Hard Cross HC5 | Shimano EP8/720 Wh | 180/170 mm (f/r)
24.6 kg in size M | € 8,199 | Manufacturer’s website

What comes after Light Cross and Mountain Cross? That’s right! Hard Cross – at least according to Husqvarna, one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers. The brand are best known for their motorcycles, lawnmowers, and chainsaws, though they’ve long been established in the ebike segment, calling themselves pioneers in the field. Following last year’s renewal of the Light Cross (LC) and Mountain Cross (MC) models, the time has come for the flagship range to get a makeover. The wheel sizes, travel, geometry, battery size, and design as a whole have changed. The new Hard Cross models now roll on a mullet setup with a 29er up front and 27.5″ wheel on the rear, and the rear travel has reduced by 10 mm. This leaves the new HC range with 180- and 170-mm travel at the front and rear respectively. The batteries of the two top end models, on the other hand, have grown to 720 Wh. The only constant seems to be the Shimano EP8 motor, which isn’t integrated, staying true to Husqvarna’s signature eMTB style. Instead, it’s exposed to cooling fresh air and highlighted, screaming “look at me, I’m an ebike!” But that’s enough of the secrecy: let’s get to the all-important facts and figures of the new 2023 Husqvarna Hard Cross HC.

The 2023 Husqvarna Hard Cross HC5 in detail

If the devil is in the details, Husqvarna’s designers certainly were devilish when developing the bike. The head tube badge functions as a camouflaged ventilation port for the battery in the down tube, promising consistent battery performance. You can access the battery via a large flap in the down tube, which is held in place with the help of a knurled thumb screw. The battery itself is further secured by a lock. The charging port in the bend of the seat stays is rather safe than sorry, imitating the fuel cap design of most cars: open the flap, then remove the cap. Some might find this annoying, but others will think of it as a post-ride ceremony – see you at the charging station!

The battery cover can be removed without tools thanks to the knurled thumb screw. All you need is the right key to unlock the battery.

The two-part cover for the charging port is reminiscent of the fuel cap on a car. It should definitely be nicely sealed and protected.

The badge on the head tube is perforated, thus doubling as a ventilation port for the battery in the down tube. The air flow should transport warm air away from the battery and thus guarantee a consistent energy supply to the motor.

The cable routing on the new Husqvarna HC takes place entirely through the headset. This ensures a clean look and eliminates the need for any cable ports in the front triangle. Compared to the previous Husqvarna Hard Cross 9.0, the chainstay protector is no longer just a short neoprene sleeve, but a firmly attached component of the rear end. However, it still doesn’t offer the most extensive level of protection.

The internally routed cables enter the frame via the Acros headset.

The chainstay protector is a lot better than on the predecessor, but still not that extensive.

One of the standout features is the motor (un)integration. Here, Husqvarna go against the trend of over-integration, leaving the motor exposed and almost floating in the frame, as on their other models. Thus, Husqvarna remain true to their established design language.

Components of the 2023 Husqvarna Hard Cross HC5

The Husqvarna Hard Cross 5 is the top-end model of the new HC range, weighing in at 24.6 kg and available for € 8,199. In return, you get a large 720 Wh battery combined with the 85 Nm Shimano EP8 motor. FOX take care of the suspension, controlling 180 mm travel up front and 170 mm in the rear. The FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 fork, and X2 Factory shock offer a wide range of adjustment options to suit every riding style and trail.

The FOX 38 Factory fork provides 180 mm travel and lots of adjustability.

The FOX X2 shock also features the Kashima coating and a variety of adjustment options.

In contrast to the bike shown, the production model comes specced with Shimano XT four-piston brakes, bringing you reliably to a halt. These are paired with a big 220 mm rotor on the front and a 200 mm version on the rear. The Shimano XTR derailleur is the lightest model in Shimano’s MTB line-up and offers excellent shifting performance. Unfortunately, however, it’s combined with a cheaper and heavier DEORE cassette.

The dinner plate-sized 220 mm brake rotor on the front should provide ample heat dissipation and stopping power.

The robust Super Gravity casings allow you to run low tire pressures without sacrificing puncture protection.

In line with the bike’s targeted use-case, you get a set of robust Schwalbe tires consisting of a 29″ Magic Mary up front and a 27.5″ Hans Dampf on the rear, both relying on the soft rubber compound and thick Super Gravity casing. This allows you to run low tire pressures on the DT Swiss HX 1700 wheels, increasing traction without running the risk of punctures.

Husqvarna Hard Cross HC5

€ 8,199


Motor Shimano EP8 85 Nm
Battery Core S2 720 Wh
Display Shimano SC-EM800
Fork FOX 38 Grip 2 Factory 180 mm
Rear Shock FOX Float X2 Factory 170 mm
Seatpost Husqvarna Pro 150 mm
Brakes Shimano XT M8120 220/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR/DEORE 1x12
Stem Husqvarna 35 mm
Handlebar Husqvarna Riser 780 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss HX 1700 SPLINE 29"/27.5"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary Soft, Super Gravity / Schwalbe Hans Dampf Soft, Super Gravity 2.4"/2.6"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 24.6 kg
Perm. total weight 130 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 105 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

The models of the 2023 Husqvarna HC range

If the Husqvarna HC5 marks the top of the range, there are 4 models below that according to Husqvarna’s nomenclature. With prices ranging from € 8,199 for the flagship model to € 5,499 for the entry-level version, Husqvarna’s top-end bike would be one of the most affordable in our biggest group test to date, consisting of 30 eMTBs. While the entire Hard Cross line-up is exclusively available with aluminium frames, the biggest difference we can spot between the models is the varying battery size. The HC4 and 5 come with the larger 720 Wh battery, whereas the HC3, 2 and 1 models have to make do with a smaller 630 Wh version. When it comes to the remaining components, Husqvarna rely on a wild mix across the model variants. From SRAM G2 RSC brakes on the HC4 to MAGURA MT5s on the HC1, there’s a little bit of everything. The same goes for the drivetrain, where you can find everything from Shimano to SRAM and TEKTRO, depending on the model. The biggest deviation from the norm is the TEKTRO E-Drive RD-M350 derailleur, which offers just 9 gears and therefore inevitably has bigger gear jumps. The remaining drivetrains all have much finer increments thanks to 12 gears.

Husqvarna HC4 | 24.9 kg in (size M, manufacturer’s specs) | € 7,299
Husqvarna HC3 | 24.6 kg (size M, manufacturer’s specs) | € 6,799
Husqvarna HC2 | 25.1 kg (size M, manufacturer’s specs) | € 5,999
Husqvarna HC1 | 25.4 kg (size M, manufacturer’s specs) | € 5,499

The geometry of the 2023 Husqvarna HC5

The Husqvarna Hard Cross has modern geometry with a relatively slack 64.5° head angle and steep 77° seat tube angle. The stack height, i.e. the height of the front, is quite tall at 674 mm. The eMTBs of the Hard Cross range are available in sizes S–XL and should cater to riders from 1.55 to 2 m tall.

Size S M L XL
Top tube 574 mm 604 mm 632 mm 661 mm
Seat tube 410 mm 435 mm 460 mm 485 mm
Head tube 100 mm 115 mm 130 mm 145 mm
Head angle 64.5° 64.5° 64.5° 64.5°
Seat angle 77.4° 77.3° 77.2° 77.2°
Chainstay 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm
BB Drop 18 mm 18 mm 18 mm 18 mm
Wheelbase 1,215 mm 1,248 mm 1,277 mm 1,309 mm
Reach 430 mm 455 mm 480 mm 505 mm
Stack 647 mm 661 mm 674 mm 687 mm

Our conclusion on the new 2023 Husqvarna Hard Cross HC5

The key figures of the new Husqvarna Hard Cross HC5 look very promising on paper, and nifty details like the unusual charging port and battery ventilation through the head tube badge testify to the brand’s inventiveness. The components have been sensibly specced, too, and the price point sounds fair. It’s set to be a winner if it can match that performance on the trail. We can’t wait to get our hands on a bike to see what it’s capable of.

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Words: Julian Schwede Photos: Julian Schwede

About the author

Julian Schwede

Juli is used to dealing with big rigs. Besides working on his bike, he also tinkered and worked on buses after completing his training as a vehicle mechatronics engineer. Since the development of large-scale electric motors was too slow for him, he went on to study technical business administration while building carbon fibre tables on the side. Though his DJ bike is welded from thick aluminium tubes, his full-susser is made of carbon and it's already taken him to the top of numerous summits. Apart from biking, he likes climbing via ferratas or vertically on the wall. Nowadays, his personal bike gets ridden less as he tests the bikes that get sent to us, pushing them to their limits to see what they're capable of. In addition to bike reviews, Juli also takes care of the daily news and thinks of himself as the Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent.