FIRST RIDE: 2012 HUSQVARNAS

 
(9/9/2011)

It’s downright strange for a European manufacturer to have its new line announced in the month of September, but Husqvarna just presented its 2012 models. The American press was not only allowed to see, touch and feel all 13 motorcycles on Friday, but ride them as well.
      There were no wild surprises, but after spending a day with the machines, we can safely report that Husqvarna engineers have made progress and that every one of the bikes is improved somewhat over the previous year’s offerings. That hasn’t always been the case. Husqvarna’s recent history has been filled with turmoil and change. Parent company BMW has made a commitment to the brand, though, and it’s finally beginning to pay off. Here’s a summery of the model line: The TE models are street-legal; the TXCs are cross-country dirt-only versions; the TC models are for motocross. The WR models are off-road two-strokes, and the lone two-stroke motocrosser is the CR125.

TXC511
This is the big cruiser in the off-road line. It still has the BMW-designed motor with its off-beat designs like the crank-mounted clutch and the countershaft sprocket on the same centerline as the swingarm pivot, but it all works well with the Kayaba suspension. The fuel injection (in competition mode) has vastly improved metering this year. Price: $8299

TE511 & TE450
Husqvarna was actually the first company to offer what we now call “hard-core” dual-sport bikes. The TE511 and 450 carry on that tradition as dirt bikes that are street legal. They are big machines, but the suspension is stiffer this year and the fuel injection is much smoother. They, too, use the BMW motor with the crank-mounted clutch. Prices: $8999/$8699

TXC310 & TXC250
The TXC310 is the bike that might well be the crown jewel of the Husky line this year. It was only available as a dual-sport bike last year, but now it has full dirt trim and suspension, and it was developed in the U.S. by Ty Davis. The 250 is back with better EFI and suspension, but neither bike gets the new head used on the TC250 motocross bike. Prices: $7899/$7399

TE310 & TE250
We absolutely loved the TE310 dual-sport bike in 2011. Our test bike ran perfectly once we configured it in competition mode. But metering inconsistency from one model to the next plagued the production run. The issues seem to be worked out now, for both the 250 and 310. Husky will make a limited run of  short-seat-height versions. Prices: $8199/$7599

TC250
This is the motocross 250F model and it got the most new parts--with good reason. The bike was a frustrating mix of good handling and very modest power output. The entire top end is new, developed on the GP circuit of Europe in 2011. After riding it, we can say that we’re very pleased with the results. It now can keep up with the very competitive 250F class. Price: $6999

TC450
Husqvarna’s 450 motocrosser is still too big and slow-revving to be competitive on the Supercross-inspired tracks of America. But it is a capable GP and off-road racing bike. The suspension is surprisingly good, and the old-school power output seems to find traction in the most unlikely places. Price: $7999

WR300 & WR250
Husky’s two-stroke line is alive and well. The WR300 and 250 seemed tragically outdated when the world was full of two-strokes, with their right side output shafts and slow revving motors. But now their time has come again. With modern suspension and brakes, the ancient motors actually work quite well, and the prices are great. Prices: $6999/$6799

CR125 & WR125
Husqvarna had a fairly new 125 motor when the world stopped making two-strokes. As a result, the Huskys are competitive with the last of the Japanese small-bores. What makes them more interesting is the price and the value. Each 125 sold comes with a parts package that includes a 144cc top end at no extra cost. Prices: $5999

Andy Jefferson on the TC250

Larry Roeseler on the TXC250

 

Comments:
Thursday, October 06, 2011 7:10:56 PM by Jonny O Marshall
What about the Husqvarna 630? I want to do a torture test on one of those babies up and down the "Grapevine" everyday! About 3-4 different ways, back and forth!
-----------------------------
Jonny O Marshall
SoCal Oldtimers #521

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WARNING: Much of the action depict­ed in this magazine is potentially dan­gerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced ex­perts or professionals. Do not at­tempt to duplicate any stunts that are be­yond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear.

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