Pasta. Fashion. Husqvarnas. If you asked me to list three main things that Italy is known for producing, there you have it. The latter item on this simplified list may not be one of Italy’s largest exports, but it’s still one of the most well known among off-road enthusiasts. As such, many riders have had their eyes on Husky lately in anticipation of the company’s new 2011 model releases. Several weeks ago, we tested the 2011 Husqvarna TC449 motocross bike and observed a ripple of hype within the motocross community concerning this wild new machine. The next 2011 Husky we tested, the TE250, is not as thoroughly revamped as the TC449 but is no less an exciting and buzz-worthy contestant in the 2011 off-road scene.Factory racers Antoine Meo andd Matti Seistola have tested and ridden the TE250 in a few rounds of the Enduro World Championship, and their input had a huge effect on the production version of the machine. The key changes revolve around the chassis, as the 2010 version was already equipped with the Mikuni fuel injection system. The chassis has been redesigned and reinforced with a streamlined area below the engine cradle to improve the ground clearance, especially on rutted terrain. The areas around the footpeg mounts and the rear brake master cylinder have been redesigned and are now mounted to a single frame component. The suspension has been revised on both ends, with new, Enduro-specific settings for the Kayaba forks and the Sachs shock absorber. In order to increase the useable range of the bike, the fuel tank capacity has been increased and a new design of fuel pump has been fitted in order to use every drop of available fuel.The TE250′s airbox has been redesigned to improve the security of the air filter and to reduce the potential for water getting into the boot. The engine guards are made of a new material, providing better protection against impact damage. Additionally, the wheels are now fitted with mirror finish, aluminium hubs. The bodywork has new graphics on the tank side panels, featuring ‘In Mould Plastic Decoration’ which is where the graphics are incorporated in the actual material, not applied to the outside. The design and look of the standard handguards are also new.The bike’s powerplant has been redesigned, improving power at low RPM by way of two different CDI maps configuration through handlebar switch – for hard or soft ground, depending on the style of riding and condition of the track. The layout of radiator hoses is also new, as well as the position of the exhaust silencer, now with new ‘db killer’ and heat protection.On the trail, it’s immediately apparent that the TE250′s power is well suited for off-road use. The bike is mellow enough to be ridden at length yet still has some “Go!” up top. We found that the motor behaved best when ridden higher up in the RPM range, as it was simply more practical to keep the bike wound up in case you got into trouble. The sweet hydraulic clutch has a consistent, easy feel. The six-speed transmission was likewise awesome for the various Italian trails that we rode on.For a 250cc four-stroke, the TE250 does not feel that heavy at all. The fork and shock absorb hard hits well, although heavier pilots will likely want to step up a spring rate or two in order to keep the TE250 riding in the proper place in the stroke. Even with the larger tank, the riding position on the bike feels comfortable and natural, though the Magura bar does transfer a fair amount of feedback and vibration to the rider’s hands, much like on the TC449.Rumor has it that one of these machines is on its way to us, which means that we’ll be spending more time on the bike for an even closer evaluation of its off-road potential. You may even see this motorcycle used in some top-secret shootouts that we’re currently working on. As usual, stay tuned to the magazine for more on the 2011 TE250, and please post a comment below if you have a specific question that we can answer.
|2011 Husqvarna TE250|
|Claimed dry weight:||233.7 lb.|
|Claimed seat height:||37.4 in.|
|Fuel capacity:||1.93 gal.|