TESTED – 2015 HUSQVARNA TE 125
Enduro21 has always had a soft spot for a 125 two-stroke. They can be a real belter of bike to ride. And when you have one on song they’re music to the ears. There’s nothing quite like the raspy echo of a 125 tapping off the rev limiter through a stretch of forestry. It’s a beautiful thing. But do you really need god like skills to throw a leg over one or can the average guy still have fun on one too? We test the 2015 Husqvarna TE 125 and find out…
Tester: Llewelyn Pavey
Last year Husqvarna got the TE 125 spot on. It was without doubt one of the most polished bikes in the range with an incredible, user-friendly engine. Essentially it’s the same bike as its orange cousin only with Boyensen Reeds and a Vertex piston. The 2015 TE 125 has received small alterations to the standard carburettor jetting and the same cosmetic changes as the rest of the range; New headlight and front mudguard, a new triple clamp to accommodate the design, new handguard material, a new seat cover and the new graphics kit.
The bike as a whole hasn’t changed much for the last few years, but it’s a formula that’s working and there are big name challengers to it at present. The biggest competition was the old Italian Husqvarna and that’s gone. Until Sherco let the world know if their 125 is real or not the other options are the very good TM EN 125 or a Gas Gas. But what works for the TE is creating an incredibly user friendly and rideable engine in the same chassis as all it’s big brothers, it uses the same excellent WP suspension, Brembo brakes and other components. The only part that is different is the clutch, which instead of being a Brembo unit like the other models, is a Magura unit with a flex lever that’ll pivot to 90 degrees of the bar when you choose to sample dirt.
The engine is the stand out feature of the TE. For a long time 125 two strokes were regarded as difficult bikes to ride. An all or nothing engine type. What this engine has achieved with incredible success is giving the little smoker some torque on the bottom end and making the power band smooth. It’s got something off the bottom to play with. You can get the front wheel off the ground relatively easily with out ringing its neck and crawl up climbs. Then, when the power band does kick in it isn’t too snappy resulting in an engine that’s easy to get moving forward.
As a result, for a 125 gear selection isn’t as important as you’d expect – there is room to play with. It means that with a little clutch love you can get away with still mistakes and that adds to the rider friendliness. At no point can you expect the bike to have 250 or 300 torque or pull in a linear fashion from bottom to top. It doesn’t. But for 125 it’s awesome.
Likewise, to make it go anywhere with urgency you need to be on point – in the powerband and keeping the engine singing all the time, on every gear. That said if going full gas isn’t your game, or your learning to ride enduro then the 125 is forgiving enough and manageable enough that it can be ridden by pretty much anyone.
The rest of the chassis is extremely light and controllable. The small engine and lack of inertia mean the bike turns insanely quickly. The suspension is sprung on the soft side, but E1 two strokes aren’t built for 14 stone people and so it’s a touch difficult to pass judgement on the suspension. As we’ve come to expect, the Brembo brakes have great feel, incredible power and are top of the range for a reason.
The only update to the ‘15 models that is hugely noticeable is the new seat cover, Husky have made a step in the right direction here. The added grip is welcome, as is the thick nature of the cover. The ‘14’s were prone to tearing and also too soft. Husqvarna have solved all of the above issues in one.