In our 2010 off-road comparison, the Husqvarna TE450 was the only street-legal bike in the group because, at that time, the company didn’t have the dirt-only TXC just yet. But since the TE had that precious license plate hanging off the back fender, we kept it around, tuned it and rode it a lot. We learned a fair amount about the bike and really came to like the machine, especially after some very effective tweaks.
One of our first missions was to take the bike to our local Husky guru, George Earl at Up-Tite Husqvarna. Usually George likes to throw a loud muffler on the bike and send us off to Baja, but we told him he couldn’t touch the muffler and to just sano out the bike, which he did. To protect the bike he added his well-vented skid plate ($125) and put a heat shield ($30) near the pipe/muffler junction. To make it bulletproof he subbed a brass fuel-pump fitting ($125, installed) in place of the stock plastic one. To make it bling he has a cute Husky “H” oil fill plug ($30), and to make it go long he added an IMS 3.0-gallon oversize tank ($289). To aid in high-level tuning and fix some glitches a stainless steel hex-head axle nut ($30) replaced the stock 12mm Allen unit. He also put one of the trickest billet throttle tubes ($69) I’ve ever seen on it. It indexes on bearings and has Delron bands built in so it is buttery smooth, with an altered ramp to make wide open less of a wrist jerk. The headlight element was replaced with an LED light array ($239) that draws only 15 watts of power and outshines the stock unit by a noticeable amount, especially for tight trails. To round it out, Husky-branded anodized folding ARC levers ($64.95 each) gave the clutch and brake a much nicer than standard feel. And for us patriots, Up-Tite’s products are all American made from American materials. George knows his stuff, and these mods were all welcomed and appreciated.
George does make go-fast exhausts, but we wanted to tune the bike for a slower trail pace, and to do that we turned to Leo Vince, which had just what we needed even if it was a little special. Leo Vince had a dual exhaust system that included a MAP sensor bung, something we needed since the other tuning we were going to do involved the Dynojet Power Commander V ($369.95) and the AutoTune ($259.99). That basically allowed us to dial in the throttle response and power delivery and then have the unit self-correct for any altitude and temperature variances/changes. The difference was amazing in the throttle control and how the bike picked up on either a roll-on or a big twist of throttle. With the mapping software a savvy tuner could really make the bike into whatever a rider would want with fuel setting changes, and the AutoTune is especially helpful if you ride in varied elevations. The best thing was, the bike became quieter and the power got stronger and smoother.
Some of the final stuff that made the Husky great were the addition of Doubletake mirrors ($46 each) and getting the bike onto a Dunlop Geomax MX51 front and a D803 trials tire in the rear. We were pretty satisfied with the standard suspension, and the tires only helped the feel especially when we were running 12 psi in the rear tire. Miles added up quickly and the only maintenance we did was a couple of oil changes and checking the valves once, which is simplistic on this bike. They were in specification. Although the mod list is seemingly lengthy, most of the modifications were creature comforts that added that customized personalization that any bike can benefit from, especially when the stuff works in unison as well as the parts on this bike did. We may have compared the stock bike to a modern-day Honda XR400 in a complimentary way, but it turned into a super-good Husky and a trusty trail steed that would just as easily take us into town for a burger at the end of the trail.
|Up-Tite Husqvarna: www.uptitehusky.com|
|Leo Vince Exhaust: www.leovinceusa.com|
|Doubletake Mirror: www.doubletakemirror.com|
|Dunlop Tires: www.dunlopmotorcycle.com|