Words by Chris Barrett Photos By Karel Kramer
Husky invited us out to Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park recently for a back to back test between the new “Red Head” 2013 TXCs and the 2012 TXCs. They wanted to prove that they had nothing to hide and instead of showing us charts or trying to explain, they just told us to ride them back to back and decide for ourselves. As always, it’s the best way to get a seat of the pants feel for a much improved motor. They also brought out some of the other models for us to kick around on. With plenty of motorcycles, a freshly groomed track and perfect So Cal weather, we couldn’t ask for anything more.
I’m sure you have already read about the “Red Head” motors and the improvements to the new Husqvarna, so I’m going to leave out most of the technical jargon and keep this strictly to how the bikes performed. (If you haven’t, check out the October ’12 issue of Dirt Rider where Boothy gives you the full run down, direct from Italy)
We rode the old and new TXC250 back to back and then did the same with the TXC310. Both bikes showed big improvements on power with the new ginger engine. It livened up both models and instead of just revving and making noise, they now have more torque and pull much harder all the way through the power. The new TXC250 actually feels more like last year’s TXC310 and the new 310… well… it wants to break the barrier between the small bores and the big bores. Where the old TXC310 liked to be revved and ridden more like a 250, the new 310 has much more torque and can be short shifted and chugged a lot like the big bores. This really opens up the range of what these bikes are capable of. In addition to the improved power, both TXCs are also running much cleaner with new Keihin EFI. The FI settings are spot on and both bikes are very responsive with seamless power. Another noticeable change was the suspension. The new TXCs have much better hold up in the forks and when combined with the new found power, it gives the bike more of a race feel. We were riding on the vet track at Elsinore and there wasn’t anything on the track that threatened the suspension. It soaked up the chop and didn’t have any issues on the jumps. The extra hold up helped the new suspension setup work better when charging into obstacles and under heavy braking compared to last year’s model. I didn’t have any complaints at Elsinore and I’m happy with the new improved TXC package. Still, I want to get these puppies onto some serious trails and see what they are fully capable of.
Some of the other Husqvarna models that were at our disposal for the day were the TE310, TC250R and CR125. The TE310 received the same motor improvements for 2013 and is basically a TXC310 dressed up with all the street legal goodies. A motocross track isn’t the ideal place for this scooter, but she held her own and everyone is good for a solid horn beep over the jumps. The TC250R was the original “Red Head” for 2012 and the base for the improvements to the Husky line up. We burned some laps on this 250 MXer and had a blast in the process. This bike received the same motor upgrades as the other red heads and I can’t wait to put it up against the other 250s in the Dirt Rider 250 MX Shootout.
And last, but not least, the grilled cheese to my tomato soup, the CR125. Since last year when I first threw my leg over this screamer, you can’t say, “Husky” without me saying, “CR125”. No changes were made to this model besides looks, but when I saw her sitting by the Husky van, I was salivating. I decided to save this bike for last, otherwise no one else would have been able to ride it and I might not have ridden the other bikes. My plan backfired however, and when I got a chance to ride it I was left with only half a tank to burn. I love this bike! It is so much fun and it rips. It’s impossible to do a lap without smiling. I got my laps in on the 125 and was pumped, but then I got a chance to ride one with the 144 kit installed. How could this thing get any better? An extra 19cc that’s how. The power with the 144 was awesome and it really spiced things up, pulling much harder coming out of corners. That kit is definitely a recommended install. I would say ride it as the standard 125 and when it is ready for a fresh piston, throw in the 144 kit. You will probably end up running the 144 from then on.
Overall it turned out to be a solid day at Lake Elsinore. It was a great opportunity to ride the TXCs one after the other and really feel the improved performance of the new “Red Head” engines. I like the direction Husqvarna is going in and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this company. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for future Dirt Rider tests and of course the upcoming 250 MX Shootout.