Factory Off-Road Bikes—Alfredo Gomez's Husqvarna TE 300i

2019 Last Dog Standing-winning extreme enduro motorcycle.

Alfredo Gomez's 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i.
One of three 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i models in the country (or at least in the US racing department), Alfredo Gomez didn't make that many changes to the bike. He did bring his own WP suspension, Michelin tires, and personal ProTaper handlebar setup in checked luggage—a hint at what he considers essential mods.Mark Kariya

One of the benefits of being one of the best racers in your field is getting the newest bikes before their release to the general public, but that can be a double-edged sword, as they say. You may have had a hand in its development, but it’s not uncommon for settings and other standards to change between preproduction and machines that actually roll off the assembly line. But judging by the performance Alfredo Gomez put in at the 9th Annual Prairie Dogs Motorcycle Club’s Last Dog Standing (LDS), presented by AOMC, the 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i is good to go.

The hard enduro at Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino, California, this year was comprised of three parts. On Saturday, it was simultaneously round 3 of the AMA District 37 Sprint Enduro Series and the Last Dog 1 (LD1) qualifying heat to set the starting order for Sunday’s all-important Last Dog 2 (LD2) and Last Dog 3 (LD3) “motos.”

Alfredo Gomez's 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i with WP Cone Valve fork setup.
Although considered almost alarmingly soft by US standards, Gomez’s WP Cone Valve fork setup is targeted strictly with extreme enduros in mind—thus, he couldn’t go all-out in LD1, and hit it hard in LD2 and LD3 to win Last Dog Standing.Mark Kariya

For those unfamiliar with sprint enduros, they consist of two or more courses where the rider goes all-out against the clock, one at a time. After completing one course, he or she waits until it’s time to ride the next one. There may or may not be a short “transfer” section between each one. At the end of the day, the rider with the lowest combined time for all “tests” is the winner, much like Six Days.

The emphasis, of course, is on speed and not so much on overcoming the huge obstacles common in extreme enduros. Thus, Gomez had no choice but to scale it back in LD1, his focus being the LDS overall. You see, one of the few modifications he made to the bike supplied by the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team was suspension, where he opts for significantly softer spring rates and corresponding valving which, combined, maximize traction in the often observed trials-like going.

“For me, [LD1] was hard and a bit dangerous also because I have my extreme [enduro] suspension and it’s so soft, you get kicked off the bike very easy [in faster areas with big bumps],” he confided after finishing seventh.

Alfredo Gomez's 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i with lighter spring rates.
Part of the reason for going to lighter spring rates (though not that light in Gomez’s view) is keeping the bike lower; this, of course, makes it easier to touch the ground when needed. Gomez also likes the lower, more rearward version of IMS’s Core pegs. Note the fan attached to the radiator—due to the lower speeds with many stops in hard enduros, it helps keep air flowing through to avoid overheating.Mark Kariya

Gomez packed his personal WP suspension (Cone Valve fork and Trax shock) into checked baggage on the flight from Spain along with soft-compound (but DOT-legal with their 13mm knob height also conforming to European enduro regulations) Michelin tires and bib mousses, plus his ProTaper handlebar in the standard Husky bend. (The US team runs Dunlops.) The rest of the modifications came from the Husqvarna race shop in Murrieta, California, which is where we were able to get up close and personal with one of the three examples of this model they had in the country at the time.

As Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team Manager Timmy Weigand explained, “[The suspension setup most Americans use] is quite a bit stiffer. When we get the settings from Europe on what [the European riders] run, it’s so soft it’s pretty crazy. Over there, they’re all geared toward extreme [enduros] with a little bit of EnduroCross[-type racing] mixed in. Their main focus is extreme, so that’s where they have a good setting and put a lot of emphasis in where we’re more geared toward [the more jump-oriented] EnduroCross [tracks].”

Alfredo Gomez's 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i back wheel.
For LDS, Gomez ran 12/48 gearing. Not only does that give him an ultra-low first gear, the smaller rear Supersprox sprocket is slightly less prone to damage compared to a ring with more teeth.Mark Kariya

However, in perhaps what was more a semantic issue when translating his Spanish thoughts into English, Gomez asserted, “It’s not softer, but it’s very similar. It’s more stiff [in a way]; it’s easier to go straight, but it’s not more hard. It’s stiffer but not more hard. For EnduroCross, my shock [setup] is very similar to this one, but we change springs in the fork. I use 4.0 [kg/mm shock spring] here; for EnduroCross I use 4.7, for example, so it changes a lot. I really like a low bike with movement.”

Regarding the tires, Gomez insisted the Euro-spec low knob height on his preferred Michelins were no disadvantage compared to the taller motocross-oriented intermediate tires most of his American competitors relied on.

“I’m used to [my] tires, so it’s completely different handling on the bike [if I switched to ones with taller knobs],” he said. “The way it turns, the way it moves [with motocross-type tires] is different, so I prefer to use [my] tires also here. Also for extreme [enduros], we specially developed the FIM tires. I’m happy how Michelin worked and I think we have a lot of grip.”

Engine-wise, Gomez’s bike bears sponsor FMF’s Factory Fatty expansion chamber that terminates into an FMF Titanium Powercore 2.1 Extreme silencer for a broader spread of power and slight weight saving. Rekluse provides its Core Manual TorqDrive clutch and cover that better withstand the abusive clutch-slipping so prevalent in extreme enduros. A Super B battery gets things started quickly, reliably, and over the course of long events despite low speeds.

Alfredo Gomez's 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i with EFI mapping.
Having worked in concert with R&D engineers on the 2020 model since August, Gomez is happy with the EFI’s mapping. It’s slightly different than the production map, of course, and reflects his preference to run a little on the rich side.Mark Kariya

Mapping for the fuel injection differs a little from standard—no surprise due to the unique demands of hard enduros—Weigand shared: “Europe has done the most testing with these [2020] bikes and they’ve already established the map, and the map is the same across the board for all the factory riders. I don’t know enough about it and I haven’t ridden the bike [to compare to stock]; Alfredo can answer that question because he probably has the most time on this [new] bike out of anybody here in the US.”

Gomez confirmed this, confiding, “We worked on the new bike since August of last year and we have, I think, a really good mapping, a really good setup. I use the same all the time. The bike feels more rich—maybe too much for amateurs—but I like it like this because sometimes when you put the bike in hard conditions and it’s hot, it’s more easy to break it. On the new bike, it’s not that far from what we use. We have the new pressure sensor which is helping a lot with the heat [here] and with cold conditions and also with the variability of altitude.”

A composite skid plate (straight from the Husqvarna Technical Accessories catalog) protects the bottom of the frame rails and cases, but the crew also grafts a linkage guard from SXSlide Plates onto it. One of Zip-Ty Racing’s “sharkfins” wards off blows to the rear rotor which, like the front, is from Galfer, though in Europe, Weigand thought team riders use a thicker Galfer rotor originally designed for 2007 models.

“I like the motocross [master cylinder] in front, but the standard one is okay,” Gomez noted.

Alfredo Gomez's 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i.
It’s not radically different than the bike that’ll be in dealer showrooms, but in the hands of someone Gomez’s caliber, the 2020 Husqvarna TE 300i makes a great base for an extreme enduro weapon.Mark Kariya

An RK O-ring chain links the Supersprox sprockets—Gomez opting for 12/48 gearing on his LDS bike—with TM Designworks chain block and slider taking the place of the OEM components. Part of that gearing choice, however, is to help avoid rear sprocket damage, Gomez sharing, “I like a small [sprocket] on the back in case you hit rocks and things; it protects, a little bit, the chain. I run 47 sometimes too.”

While Gomez packed his own ProTaper handlebar into checked baggage, his US-spec bike wore a Guts seat with stiffer foam as well as IMS Core pegs that are both lower and set farther rearward than stock (just like Dalton Shirey's hare & hound bike). Since quick pit stops and long distances aren't part of the equation in hard enduros, the standard fuel tank suffices. The plastic hand guards are OEM Husky items as well.

In Sunday’s LD2 and deciding LD3 “motos,” Gomez let it rip. Second to American Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Colton Haaker in LD2, Gomez uncorked and dominated LD3 aboard his borrowed bike, his 2-1 nabbing the overall for his first win on US soil. (Haaker went 1-3 for second overall on a very similar 300.)