Tested – 2014 Husqvarna TE 250
Ridden and rated, Enduro21.com test the all-new 2014 Husqvarna TE 250…
Tester: Llel Pavey
The rebirth of Husqvarna is an exciting prospect. With the brand taken back to its roots and with the power of KTM behind it, the yellow and blue of Sweden could soon return to its heyday. Husqvarna fans can now look forward to the addition of a top-level two-stroke line-up – something that has been missing for a long time. The TE 250 is the pride of the two-stroke range – here’s the lowdown.
Based on the Husaberg styling, Husqvarna’s design team have gone old school. Referring back to Husqvarna ‘classics’ such as Thomas Gustavsson’s 1983 ISDE bike, the influence is clear to see. White frame and plastics, coupled with flashes of Swedish blue and yellow make a gorgeous and striking combination.
For many the linkage is the most interesting point. While PDS has divided opinion within KTM circles, using a linkage system on the Husqvarna now gives everyone an option. The reason is to attract the detractors of PDS while targeting the North American market. It also allows another element of adjustability through different linkage ratios.
While some people feel linkages are vulnerable to damage, it doesn’t appear to be the case. Despite the brutal Swedish rocks on test, the linkage never came into contact with anything. To ride, the bike sits lower in the rear and feels more predictable than PDS. It’s more consistent, more confidence inspiring and seems to deal better with unexpected hits. Nice!
Brembo systems are top notch and the Husky brakes don’t disappoint. The wheels are billet aluminium hubs laced with black anodized DID rims while Michelin Comp IV (front) and Comp III (rear) provide the rubber. The gearing on the TE 250 is the same as the Husaberg predecessor with 14/50 standard and an optional 13 tooth included.
The Husqvarna retains all the same controls and switchgear from the Husaberg. That means the Brembo hydraulic clutch, electric start buttons and lighting switches are carried over. The TE 250 doesn’t come with an optional CDI map switch, but one is available from the Husqvarna Power Parts catalogue. The controls on the Husqvarna are, as you would expect, very good. The clutch is light and the buttons all do the jobs for which they are intended. The clear fuel tank means it’s easy to gauge fuel level.
Whilst the engine remains the same as the ’14 Husabergs – including the change from Vforce to Boyeson reed block – the standard jetting is different. The Husky also comes fitted with a plastic sump guard as standard and has both an electric starter and a kick start.
The engine gave smooth and easily managed bottom end and pulled into the power band easily. The mid-range felt stronger than this engine has in the past too. It was incredibly easy to ride and was jetted far better than the most recent batch of Husaberg’s.
The Husqvarna forks are WP’s newest creation – the 4CS that has graced KTM’s Six Day’s editions and the Husaberg range. The four-cartridge system has compression on the left fork and rebound on the right with easy adjust dials. The rebound dial is also red, so it’s easier to remember. The rear shock is the WP DDS, fully adjustable shock that comes on the motocross models so it’s specifically designed for the linkage.
The linkage and rear shock has added an element of stability to the Husqvarna that the Husaberg had lost. The forks ride well on the slippery roots and rocks of the Swedish forest, allowing you to ride with confidence in difficult situations. At times they felt a little ‘dead’ but the ability to change rebound and compression on the fly is a nice touch. The forks were more responsive to clicker changes than previously.
7. Ride Impression
Hopping onto the TE 250, it won’t feel all that different to owners of Husaberg & KTM. The biggest difference is that the rear end feels more squatted and neutral than previously.
The chassis with the linkage is mega to ride – it feels more predictable and doesn’t ever feel wild. Because the bike sits a little lower at the back, it is more neutral and unlike the Husaberg. You would expect this to affect the cornering of the bike but it doesn’t.
Regarding general suspension performance, the setup feels quite soft. The fork was very good over the slippery rocks and roots of the test track, however the terrain on offer lacked any real speed to gauge the performance for faster riding. Even in the slower going it has a tendency to use a large portion of the travel without much encouragement.
The carburation and power delivery were superb. The engine has smooth gentle power right from tick over, making it easy to make forward progress even in the slipperiest conditions. When you give it some gas, the Husqvarna engine feels very strong and better than it’s Husaberg base, which is impressive.
Overall the new Husqvarna TE 250 is without a doubt one of the best enduro bikes ever produced. With over an hours riding time spent on the TE 250 clambering around wet, moss covered rocks and muddy, sodden tracks, the Husky showed where it excels best – the harder the riding gets, the more the bike’s ability shines through.
The only reservation is in the performance of the fork and how well it will hold up to fast riding. It’s also surprising how a few small refinements have produced a bike that is noticeably different to a Husaberg.
Husqvarna have set out to deliver as high a quality product as possible and they have done a smart job. It’s a serious option that is far enough removed from its Austrian cousin to not be considered ‘just’ a white KTM.
Two-stroke lovers, put this bike on your shopping list…