RUST magazine: 2017 Husqvarna Special

rustsports.com

RUST tests the 2017 Husqvarna enduros.
The new model season continues, this time it’s the turn of Husqvarna. And so RUST travels to Husqvarna – the town – in Sweden, to connect with Husky’s heritage and to test its future. It’s all new engines, all new chassis for the 2017 enduros, so there’s a lot to discuss – and to evaluate. Do they make the grade? Only one way to find out...


Happy reading!

Jon Bentman
(Editor, RUST)

• te300 • te250 • tx125 • fe250 • fe350 • fe450 • fe501 •

• GALLERIES • history • new for 2017

• conclusions • next issue • long termers •


Contents

16

27


3 Editorial

JB explains how Husqvarna are still making

significant improvements...

4 Gallery

It’s G Baby... Graham Jarvis is back stamping

his authority on the extreme enduro scene...

5 Gallery

Danny McCanney has been on the podium

five times this season and sits third in E1...

7 HISTORY

Tradition – Racing – Premium – Sweden.

Husqvarna’s four core values...

9 NEW FOR 2017

JB details the new features on Husqvarna’s 2017

range. Are you sitting comfortably?

16 TE250/300/TX125

Husky’s TE300 is still at the top of the tree with

the 250 not far behind... and the ‘closed course’

only TX125 just doesn’t float JB’s boat...

27 FE250/350/450/501

Of the four-strokes the 250 shines the brightest.

The changes on the FE450 and FE350 were hard

to detect and the 501 remains muscle bound...

39 CONCLUSION

The verdict on the latest 2017 models is mixed,

but recent results in EnduroGP for the TE300

speak for themselves...

41 next issue

Be sure to catch the next issue for part one

of our exploits on the Welsh Two Day, 10 Good

Reasons to buy a Super Ténéré and all you

need to know about boots...

cover image

Sebas Romero


Editorial

the

dog s

By jon bentman,

photo: marco campelli

IT’S TIME FOR Husky 2017. Should we care? Is this not KTM 2017

repeated, just painted white blue and yellow? Actually we should care and

while yes, there are a lot of shared components there are significant

differences that really do set the Huskies apart.

First of those differences – suspension. A short while ago, while interviewing

Steve Holcombe (currently leading the E3 world championship) we

asked him what are the three most important ingredients in making the

grade in enduro. His number one – suspension. With Husky, while we are

still talking WP kit, we are talking different WP kit. It’s not PDS at the rear, it’s

Monoshock, that is to say linkage. So the WP unit in there bears very little

relation to that in the KTMs. That linkage also means the frame design has

to be different too. Not just by way of lugs and attachments, but in the way

the shock transfers the loads. And because a linkage acts different to PDS

you’d have to think the forks will be different too. These ones are still Xplore

48s, but they have the addition of preload adjusters, quite possibly they have


different internal valving too, as the forces transferred from the rear

(through the frame) will be quite different to that on the KTMs.

As well, Husky go their own way on subframe design – much revised

this year – and also like to do their own thing with different bodywork and

the like. But fundamentally it’s the suspension that’s the key point of

difference and that can really change a bike.

So this is actually a very exciting launch, every bit as important as the

2017 KTM one a few weeks ago. Some of these new bikes are potential

game changers – some are not! But the overall picture is one of

advancing technologies, as with KTM some of these bikes will add a fair

serving of obsolescence on your pre-2017 models and if winning, or being

up with the game, is important to you then these models are going to

force your hand. With luck, our review will shed a bit of light, help you

with your decision-making maybe. There’s a lot to discuss, so sit

back and enjoy the read…


Gallery

it’s g, baby!

To finish first, first you must finish.

Graham Jarvis has refined his

game in every direction. A winter

allegedly spent tearing around

motocross tracks has improved his

speed beyond all recognition – his

technical skills and understanding

of the long game – making it to

the end – he already had.

At the Romaniacs this month he

followed up a steady-away opening

day with two scorchers to sit pretty

with a commanding lead for the

finale. Riding Husqvarna’s new

silky-smooth TE300 he really is

stamping his authority on extreme

enduro in 2016.

Image: Husqvarna/Future7Media


Gallery

dan of mann

It’s a measure of his high standards

that 2016 counts as a poor year for

Danny McCanney. Twice world

champion (indoor Junior and EWC

Junior) the Manxman has still been

on the podium five times and is

placed third in E1, but you know he

expects to finish higher. Riding the

new Husqvarna FE250 he’s shown

the speed to win tests, it’s the day

wins that are eluding him…

Image: Husqvarna/Future7Media


Back Issues

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ISSUE #1

Introduction to RUST Magazine.

2015 KTM 250EXC vs 2015

Yamaha WR250F shootout.

Trail test of the Chinese made

WK400 Trail and columns from

Chris Evans, David Knight and

Gary Freeman...

ISSUE #2

The 2016 Beta

ranges tested. W

2016 Motocross

Pitgirl rounds up

Season, plus co

Melber and Ric

ISSUE #7

Interview with David Knight OBE.

What happened to the KTM 690

Adventure? Dispatches – In

praise of the Honda CRF250L.

The Michelin Anakee Wild

adventure tyre. Chris Evans...

ISSUE #8

Yamaha’s ‘new’

the Royal Enfie

adventure bike,

miles off-road o

The Adventure

Handbook – 7th

All material appearing in RUST is copyright to Rust Sports Ltd and may not

be reproduced in part or full (including electronically) without the express

permission of the publishers.

HONDA CRF1000L

AFRICA TWIN

SPECIAL EDITION

RUST gets the exclusive world’s

first test of the new Honda

CRF100L Africa Twin!

HUSQVAR

ENDURO/S

SPECIAL E

Test of the new

Enduro and 70


and KTM model

arren visits the

of Nations.

the 2015 EWC

lumns from Si

k Kemp...

ISSUE #3

THE 2016 Husqvarna model

launch. The KTM 250XC-F

tested. The Suzuki V-Strom 650

and Pitgirl’s analysis of the 2015

EWC Season. Columns from

Chris Evans, Gary Freeman

and Si Melber...

ISSUE #4

Race test of 2015 250EXC and

2015 Husqvarna TE350 on the

Grappe de Cyrano. Testing the

Honda CB500X Adventure.

Pitgirl on beating the offf-season

blues and columns from JB and

Gary Freeman...

ISSUE #5

JB’s Instant Factory Set-Up –

Suspension for the amateur

rider. TRF main-men Mario

Costa Sa and Greg Villalobos

interviewed, plus columns from

Rick Kemp and Si Melber...

ISSUE #6

JB’s first editorial. Interview with

Jonny Walker. Dispatches – The

TRF answers back. Profile of

Patsy Quick, boss of Desert Rose

Racing. RUST long-termers Pt1.

Tested – Products for the Honda

CRF250L. Gary Freeman column

DUEL

TWO RIDERS,

TWO KTMS,

ONE TITLE...

issue #9

Issue #8

WR250 tested,

ld Himalayan

Iron Men – 3000

n Harleys!

Motorcycling

Edition.

ISSUE #9

Duel – Two riders, two KTMs,

one title, Ivan Cervantes and

Matt Phillips battle it out.

The Yamaha IT490, 40 years on.

Tested – Kit reviewed by Josh

Snowden...

ISSUE #10

700KM on a KTM450EXC.

Looking for Mexico with Thomas

Wielecki. Tested – Warren and

JB on the latest kit, plus a

column by Chris Evans...

ISSUE #11

2017 KTM model range tested.

EnduroGP the new face of World

Enduro by Pitgirl. Gary Freeman

with more MX insight...

ISSUE #12

Heritage – The BMW R nineT

tested. Dispatches – Too light,

too fast, too good looking?

Travelling across the Alentejo

region of Portugal on a KTM

450EXC...

NA 701

M

DITION

Husqvarna 701

1 Supermoto

YAMAHA WR450F

SPECIAL EDITION

RUST tests the all-new Yamaha

WR450F in the hills of Andalusia,

Southern Spain...

2016 BMW GS TROPHY

SPECIAL EDITION

RUST joins the GS Trophy riding

across Northern Thailand on

board the latest BMW R1200GS

MADAGASCAR

SPECIAL EDITION

JB joins the Touratech United

People of Adventure expedition

to the island of Madagascar...

2017 BETA RANGE

SPECIAL EDITION

JB braved the heat and went to

Beta’s home town just outside

Florence to test ride all the

latest 2017 models...


World Launch

TRADITION-RACING-

PREMIUM-SWEDEN

TRADITION-RACING-PREMIUM-SWEDEN.

Those are Husqvarna’s four core values.

They named them no less than three years

ago now, when Pierer Industries took over

the Husky brand from BMW. The new Husky

team are clearly sticking to those values as

well, in four years of annual launches we’ve

had three based in Sweden, and sure

enough each year Husky have been pushing

the game on. The product improves each

year and the quality doesn’t diminish.

This year it was fun to visit the birthplace,

Husqvarna. Their moto history dates back

to 1903, but before that came a weapons

foundry that was established in 1689 – so

that’s over 325 years – located at Huskvarna

because of the power of the waterfalls that

made drilling the rifle bores possible. And

because of the rifle sight, we have the

Husqvarna logo that we have today.

A tour of the Husqvarna museum revealed

the sheer breadth of innovation the Swedes

have employed over the centuries, Husqvarna

making all manner of things besides

history


World Launch

history


motorcycles, including sewing machines,

ovens, chainsaws, lawnmowers, even

hotdog vending machines… And it’s

curious to see that outside of the motorcycle

business, orange is one of the key corporate

colours of the Swedish operations.


Husqvarna’s very first

factory was a weapons

foundry, which dates all

the way back over 325

years to 1689...!


Modern Husqvarna moto-history reveals 25

enduro world championships in the bag (the

world championships having started in 1990)

– the latest added only last year by Frenchman

Mathias Bellino (E3). At the launch

dinner, at the museum, Husky had on hand

three past enduro champs to honour – Paul

Edmondson (125, 1993), Juha Salminen

(E1, 2011) and Pela Renet (E2, 2014), so

that’s one representative championship

from each of the post-Swedish eras: Cagiva,

BMW and Pierer/KTM.

It’s a curious thing, this continued linking of

this now Austrian product (even the race

team is now Austrian managed) with the

Swedish heritage, for the links today are very

tenuous indeed. But given the excellent

launch locations Sweden has offered, we’re

more than happy to see it continue!


World Launch

new for 2017


CHASSIS

New frame

As with KTM, it’s all new. 600 grams lighter,

20% higher torsional rigidity, 30% less

longitudinal stiffness – plus new headstays.

Manufactured by WP, the same guys who

make the suspension.

New sub-frame

A whole 1kg lighter than in 2016, now with

30% carbon-fibre added into the mix.

It’s a three-piece construction

that’s stronger and a lot

more rigid than before.

New swingarm

No obvious weight saving, but

state of the art, as always, and

now with easily visible chain

adjustment markings.


World Launch

New bodywork

Love it or loathe it, this is the new look. Slim in the

mid-section and featuring a new grippy seat, squaredup

mudguards and odd boxy headlight lens.

WP Xplore split forks

As seen on KTM 2017 – but with Husky featuring

preload adjustment too. So, open cartridge type, with

compression damping in one leg, rebound in the other

(so tool-less fork-top adjustment for both). Plus a six-way

adjuster on each leg for preload adjustment.

new for 2017


WP DCC shock & linkage

Lighter by 360 grams, with

‘pressure balance’ for rider

comfort and better handling.

New rear brake

Brakes are still Brembo,

with GSK discs. But now

the rear caliper has

smaller pistons (from 26

to 24mm) with a 10mm

longer brake lever.


World Launch

New and higher footpegs

Self-cleaning design, mounted

6mm higher to increase ground

clearance – although you can

fit the mx pegs to lower them

back by 6mm if you prefer.

CNC yokes

CNC machined, anodized

black, with 22mm offset.

new for 2017


ODI grips

No more gluing and wiring.

ODI grips come readymounted

on the throttle tube

and on another tube that you

slide onto the left bar and

tighten into position via a

screw. Plus – for the fourstrokes

a choice of throttle cam

– standard or longer action.

New Radiators

Now with the plumbing integrated into the frame so less hoses and better cooling,

plus stronger protectors that act like guards in a crash diverting impact loads

around the radiator. Fans as standard on the four-strokes – now controlled by the

engine management system, not thermostats.


World Launch

Lightweight battery

For two- and four-strokes, using Li-Ion

technology, there’s a saving of 1kg over

last year’s conventional battery.

Metzeler tyres

Quality 6 Days rubber fitted as standard.

new for 2017


Fuel tank & tap

Translucent tanks, 8.5-litres for fourstroke

and 10-litres for the two-strokes

(KTMs in 2017 are 8.5l and 9.5l

respectively). Four-strokes have pump

and sensor integrated into the tank and

the tap /outlet is now angled in for better

protection and better pipe routing.


World Launch

ENGINE

Brand new four-strokes

All-new, more powerful, lighter and more

compact. New design centralizes the (reduced)

mass, while power and torque is up.

New map switch & traction control

As standard, a choice of standard or

‘progressive’ maps and on the four-stroke an

option to ride with traction control

new for 2017


New engine management

Smaller, lighter and with faster

processing speed, by Keihin.

There’s a gear position sensor

too, so mapping is adjusted to

suit each gear.

New throttle body

On the four-strokes there’s a

new throttle body with the

injector mounted underneath

which is reported as being more

accurate and better at low rpm.


World Launch

New hydraulic clutch

A swap from Brembo to Magura for 2017

New exhausts

All new, with shorter mufflers which

are 50mm closer to the engine

for mass centralization.

new for 2017


New gearboxes

Revised shift mechanisms for all,

lighter (c.200grams) and

narrower (by 6mm) gearbox

for the TX125. New gear

lever design (to reduce

clogging).

Brand new two-strokes

Lighter, more compact, counter shaft to reduce

vibrations, starter motor relocated to under

the engine. Lighter die-cast engine

casings. Crankshaft, clutch shaft

rearranged for centralization

of oscillating masses.


World Launch

New exhausts

New headers on the

250/300s, complete

new exhaust on

TX125 – made by WP.

New carburetor

From Kiehin to Mikuni

TMX38 flat slide,

which Husky say are

less sensitive to

temperature and

altitude changes.

New power valves

Updated for smoother

controllable power

delivery.

new for 2017


Longer service intervals

New crankshafts on the four-strokes feature plain

big end bearings which give 135-hour service life.

WEIGHT SAVINGS

Chassis – all

Frame

Subframe

Shock

Battery

Throttle linkage

TOTAL

Engine four-stroke

FE250

FE350

FE450

FE501

Engine two-stroke

TX125

0.600kg

1.000kg

0.360kg

1.000kg

0.100kg

3.060kg

0.700kg

0.700kg

1.700kg

1.700kg

1.800kg

Overall weight savings

Model by model

TX/TE125 3.800kg 92.0kg

TE250 2.000kg 102.2kg

TE300 2.000kg 102.4kg

FE250 1.500kg 105.8kg

FE350 2.200kg 106.8kg

FE450 6.000kg 108.8kg

FE501 6.000kg 109.3kg


World Launch

te300


TE300

Reaching perfection

The Tech

THE 72MM PISTON is about the only

component carried over to 2017 with the

TE300. That’s how much of this bike has

changed from last year. Okay the tyres are

the same, and the rims too. Actually many

things do stay the same, like the bore and

stroke, the ratios within the gearbox, the

DDS type clutch operation, even the

geometry – albeit, just quietly, they’ve

lengthened the wheelbase, from 1482mm

to 1495mm. The reality is there’s very little

wiggle room to improve the 250/300cc

two-strokes these days, they’ve been

around decades and the optimal specs

have long been established, so the devil

still remains in the detail.

Photos by: Marco Campelli & Sebas Romero


World Launch

And such detail. From moving the starter

motor inboard and ‘downstairs’ (ie under the

crankcases, as per Sherco) to the relocation

of the rotating masses – the crankshaft is

now 27mm higher and the clutch shaft 8mm

higher. This, say Husqvarna, is a matter of

mass centralization and improves rideability.

We’re not so sure that effectively lifting the

engine creates that effect, as surely this

raises the centre of gravity too, but for now –

short of starting a thesis on the matter –

we’ll have to take Husky’s word on that.

Equally significant is the new (twin) power

valve arrangement, designed to create

‘controlled and smooth’ power. There’s no

word as to whether the cylinder porting was

revised at the same time. Then there’s the

addition of the counter balancer, aimed to

significantly reduce (halve?) the usual twostroke

vibrations. Notably while the new

crank is 500 grams lighter than before Husky

have added a heavier ignition rotor. Balancer

shafts and ignition rotors add weight and will

take the edge off performance, but the 300cc

two-stroke has always had power to burn,

so Husky could afford to lose a little in the

pursuit of their aim of increased ‘rideability’.

The gearbox is new, with a redesigned shift

mechanism – but as said before, the ratios

te300


emain unchanged. The DDS clutch has

proven battle worthy and so remains, albeit

with a lightened basket and ‘reworked’ hub.

So this motor, so much changed, so much

the same, slots into the new chassis which

itself is all-new (as detailed in our previous

section) yet also sticks faithfully to known

dimensions. So what are we looking to

evaluate here? The difference a weight

saving of two-kilos makes? The difference,

particularly, the counter balancer and new

power valve make? The difference the

hundreds of minor detail changes make?

The Ride

Always when it comes to new model

launches you want a datum – you want the

old model on hand to back-to-back with the

new. It never (ever) happens. So you have

to go on memory, which is hardly scientific,

which leaves every test open to criticism

for being subjective. How can it be anything

but that?

And yet in the case of the 2017 TE300

there really is a sense of moving the game

forward. The ride simply feels silky smooth,

almost like riding a mild-tune four-stroke, for

the TE300 purrs along and in the whooped

deep sand tracks in the Swedish forest its

light weight was allowing it to almost float

over the terrain. The light clutch, the slick


World Launch

te300


gearbox and the crisp throttle response are

all entirely manageable and together give the

rider a secure feeling of control. There’s a lot

of power for sure, but it’s easily controlled

and you could trail ride the TE300 with ease,

it’s quite docile and quite happy to ride on

part throttle without hunting.

That counter balancer, perhaps the power

valve, the new crank and ignition rotor –

certainly these are coming together like a

holy trinity. The reduced vibration is very

obvious and very welcome and together with

the like-honey power delivery have certainly

made the TE300 feel more sophisticated, a

bike reborn. They make the TE300 an

instant like, if not love.

We often get asked, Husky

or KTM (essentially linkage or

PDS)? – and on evidence of

these two tests – it might be

advantage Husky in 2017.



Now 300cc two-strokes have never to my

recollection had issues with ground clearance

so the added 15mm on the TE300

(now 370mm) is simply a bonus. As for the

6mm higher footpegs (over the motocross

models), while I had no particular dislike for

these, at 6’0” (1.83m) I – like Warren at the

KTM launch – was feeling a little too bent


World Launch

over on the bike and so would be inclined to

fit the mx pegs to give my back an easier

ride (not to mention a higher seat and just

possibly a small rise on the bars too).

In the Swedish forest the suspension felt

good, plush even. I know these new WP

units at the KTM 2017 launch (on hard pack

in Spain) had left our testers there not

entirely convinced (opinion being the fork

action felt too harsh), but on the Huskies in

this terrain the WPs were all good. It’s worth

stating that the Xplore forks are different on

the Huskies, having the addition of external

tool-free preload adjusters – and it’s quite

possible they are valved slightly different as

well. Meanwhile the shock is WP-Monoshock

(ie linkage) not WP-PDS so again it’s a

different unit – and who’s to say the action

of the rear isn’t in some way influencing the

action at the front?

Curiously, I found myself having to check

the sag on a few of the test bikes (and these

were found to be way out), but once reset,

and on standard settings on the clickers,

I was quite happy. A few of the faster guys

dialed in some preload on the forks and they

were very happy with the results – good for

keeping the front high when charging

through the whoops. Equally I was finding

te300


THE TE300 is good for…

Just about everything now, trail riding to

club racing to extreme. It’s the new gold

standard...


Enduro

te300


the forks and shock felt quite supple enough

to deal with the roots found in the technical

single track that formed the second half of

the test loop. We often get asked, Husky or

KTM (essentially linkage or PDS)? – and on

the admittedly inconsistent and inconclusive

evidence of these two tests – it might be

advantage Husky in 2017.

The TE300 is a big step ahead of the old

model, in fact it’s made a quantum leap.

The smoothing of the power delivery is one

aspect, the vibration reduction is another.

The Mikuni carb felt good as well, the

fuelling felt crisp and consistent. It knocks

down a fair few of the resistance points to

running a two-stroke, being so easy to ride,

so fuss free. It speaks loud and clear as to

why two-strokes are so often regarded as

the ultimate off-road/enduro machines.

And being so easy to ride – yeah, who

needs four-strokes?!

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 TE300 2017 TE300 2017 KTM 300EXC

Carb Keihin PWK36S Mikuni TMX38 Mikuni TMX38

Primary drive ratio 26:72 26:73 26:73

Dry weight 104.4kg 102.4kg 100kg

Seat height 960mm 960mm 960mm

Wheelbase 1482mm 1495mm 1482mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 355mm 370mm 370mm

2017 Husky TE300 £7399

2017 KTM 300EXC £7199


World Launch

te250


TE250

A little more race...

The Tech

The same new tech that went into the TE300

– it’s in the TE250 too. That’s obvious, eh?

By the way did we mention the latest

two-stroke exhausts are made by WP?

We did?! Okay, short memories here.

The Ride

Well, no surprise, the TE250 hits the spot

just as easily as the TE300. In fact their

characters are so alike you might even get

confused given a blindfold test. This is

partly due to common platform engineering

(just a matter of bore size that’s different),

but also the TE250 is perhaps a little more

mellow than it used to be. The E2 model

was typically more EWC (sorry, EnduroGP)

racer, the E3 machine more extreme

enduro, but there’s a sense the two are

moving closer together as the TE250 has

the low-speed trail manners to equal the

TE300, it does slog. So maybe the decision

on which to choose comes down to the class

you want to ride.

Okay, we say that, but this is still

fundamentally the racier of the two, but

not by much, it would take a long day riding

a variety of terrains and obstacles before

we’d make our final decision which would


World Launch

te250


suit us better. In the hard pack of Spain,

Warren felt the TE250’s cousin the 250EXC

was the pick over the 300EXC. But in the

sand of Sweden, I’m picking and the TE300

edges it. What felt ‘brutish’ in Spain is silky

in Sweden. But then I typically ride a 300

in the low-end of the power, no need to rev it.

If I was racing and having to get a lick on,

maybe the TE250 would better suit. Jeez, it’s

horses for courses again (sometimes these

annual tests feel like Groundhog Day…).

THE TE250 is good for…

The rider who can appreciate the

virtues of the TE300, but would still like

a bit more racer in the mix, who wants

to rip the cross test more than the

extreme test…

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 TE250 2017 TE250 2017 KTM 250EXC

Carb Keihin PWK36S Mikuni TMX38 Mikuni TMX38

Primary drive ratio 26:72 26:73 26:73

Dry weight 104.2kg 102.2kg 100kg

Seat height 960mm 960mm 960mm

Fuel 11 litres 10 litres 9.5 litres

Wheelbase 1482mm 1495mm 1482mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 355mm 370mm 370mm

2017 Husky TE250 £7199

2017 KTM 250EXC £6999


World Launch

So with a ride of exactly equal quality and

character as the TE300 what will make the

decision for you? It’s down to you. You either

know from years of experience that you’re

either a 250 or a 300 rider. Or if you don’t,

go to a dealer try-out day and ride them

back-to-back to see for yourself.

Either is a rock-solid option.

Externally the 250/300

motors are identical...

te250


World Launch

TX125

Little voice...

The Tech

This one is cousin to KTM’s 125XC-W. It’s

the same story (see RUST 11), with the new

engine and the ‘closed-course competition’

designation as the 125 cannot meet the new

EU homologation requirements.

So it has the same brand new, 1.8kg

lighter engine, made more compact with the

rotating masses centralized. Again there are

commonalities with the two-stroke brothers,

so while the crank here is 50 grams lighter

than in the 2016 TE125, it now has a heavier

ignition rotor as well to create more inertia

for more controllable low-end power (and of

course that reads like a nonsense to us as

well – ‘low end’ power in a 125?!).

It still comes as a wonder to us, as it may

you, that manufacturers can make a 125

fuel as well as they do on the same carb as

they fit for the 300… Okay, moving swiftly

on – a very curious thing that in the year

KTM change the hydraulic clutches on their

two-stroke EXCs from Magura to Brembo,

that Husky happen to change theirs for the

tx125


THE TX125 is good for…

Youth racers mostly, although there are

older guys who can get along with them

(takes all sorts)...


World Launch

tx125


TEs from Brembo to Magura?

In all the incredibly light 125 has become

lighter again. At 92-kilos this is the weight of

a trials bike (of old, that is – before they got

to be superlight).

The Ride

Don’t listen to me, honestly I’m too old and,

at 90-kilos, too heavy to be able to effectively

ride – and therefore evaluate – a 125, and

hard as I try I can’t recreate the mindset of a

teenage EnduroGP hopeful, eager to make

his mark in the racing world.

I can appreciate this is one super-light

bike, that much I can do. I could also form a

preference on the two engine management

maps you can toggle between: for me, full

power, please. I tried riding the progressive

map but a strangled 125 is a not a happy


World Launch

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 TE125 2017 TX125 2017 KTM 125XC-W

Carb

Keihin PWK36S Mikuni TMX38 Mikuni TMX38

Dry weight 95.8kg 92.0kg 91kg

Seat height 960mm 960mm 960mm

Fuel 11 litres 10 litre 9.5 litres

Wheelbase 1471mm 1495mm 1471mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 355mm 370mm 370mm

2017 Husky TX125 £6199

2017 KTM 125XC-W £6099

thing to ride, it’s in its nature to scream out in

high revs, so just live with that.

As ever with 125cc two-strokes a lot seems

to depend on the jetting, sometimes you get

a mellower 125 that will pull low-revs surprisingly

well, sometimes they’re either on the

pipe or doing nothing at all. This one, on this

occasion, was the latter. Hey ho.

One day soon we’ll find a 50-kilo teenage

space cadet with the skills needed to give

these 125s a real thrashing. Assuming we

can wean him off his social media feed for

long enough, we’ll try for a comparative test

and see if there really is a difference

between these bikes.

tx125


World Launch

fe501


FE501

Trail boss...

The Tech

This is Husky’s big dog. Okay, you can buy

a 701, but in the enduro range this is the

ceiling. It shares much of its components

with the FE450, there’s just a longer stroke,

72mm instead of 63.4mm, to make 510.4cc.

The engine, as we all know by now, is

all-new, some 1.7kg lighter than the old

model. It’s still a SOHC unit, whereas the

250/350s are DOHC. If you’ve ever

wondered about such things, the Husky

tech notes reveal that their Titanium 40mm

inlet valves weigh 32.6 grams each, where

the steel 33mm exhaust valves weigh 42.6

grams each – which shows you just why

Titanium valves are valued so highly. In all

Husky/KTM have shaved 350 grams off the

weight of the cylinder head.

Like the two-strokes, the engine shafts

have been repositioned, the crankshaft is

7mm higher and 9mm backwards and in

all the engine is 23mm narrower, 23mm

shorter and 9mm lower. Same capacity,

smaller packaging.

A total weight saving of six kilos is not

to be sniffed at, and full credit to the

Mattighofen guys for getting an open class

enduro under 110kg – albeit the KTM

500EXC-F scores even higher at 106.5kg…


World Launch

The Ride

It’s amazing just how different the TE501 is

from the TE450. It even sounds different.

Or at least this one did, there being a

pleasing mechanical whine coming from

the engine (a bit like the gear-whine

Husabergs of around 2003/4 used to

make – before the 70º motors).

It’s amazing, too, that it can be so hard to

detect a four-kilo weight saving. On this bike

all such measurements and evaluations are

drowned out by the big-bore character, this

is one lazy big-hitting open-classer. You race

the 450, but on the 501 you just ride the

wave of torque. It’s like longboard technique

compared to shortboard (in surfing), you use

more deliberate inputs, you let the bike do

all the work.

fe501


World Launch

In the rush at the KTM 2017 launch we

didn’t get to ride the 500EXC, so we can’t

compare the two, but this is quite a different

proposition to say Beta’s RR480. The Husky

might be three kilos lighter, but it’s the

engines character that dominates, so without

having them back-to-back, you’d say that the

Beta feels the lighter of the two. Not that the

TE501 is heavier to ride as such, but engine

character – the dominating effect of that

extra stroke (the Husky is long stroke 72mm

to the RR480’s short stroke 60.8mm) – really

makes for a certain dynamic. In such a

comparison you could say the Husky feels

old school.

For big guys, who like traditional big

singles, this is as good as it gets.

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 TE501 2017 TE501 2017 KTM 500EXC-F

Dry weight 113.3kg 109.3kg 106.5kg

Seat height 960mm 960mm 960mm

Fuel 11 litres 10 litre 9.5 litres

Wheelbase 1482mm 1495mm 1482mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 345mm 370mm 355mm

2017 Husky TE501 £8049

2017 KTM 500EXC-F £7849

fe501


THE FE501 is good for…

Australia! Or west coast USA.

Big country, long fast trails.


World Launch

fe450


FE450

Mondo Racer

The Tech

Let’s shortcut this bit. The tech is as before,

specifically all-but identical to the FE501

save for the long-stroke.

The Ride

Tech wise the FE450 seems to be the same

as the FE501, to ride they’re nothing alike.

That extra stroke length transforms the

FE501 into one long-legged strider. The

FE450 is, meanwhile, a confirmed sprinter –

this beast has race running through every

oil line. It’s an athletic performer.

It’s an all-rounder too, quite happy to ride

around on part throttle, to mooch, if that’s

your preference. Only with vast volumes of

stomp right there on tap for when you want

it. It was, though, quite a physical bike to ride

around the sand course in Sweden. Where

the two-strokes seemed to be gliding over

the whoops, the FE450 was certainly

tracking the contours and despite the weight

savings for this year you needed some

above-average fitness to play big-dog on the

FE450 for protracted periods. And of course

if you did get it up and running in the correct

manner that meant it was tramping along at

a fair haul, meaning maximum alertness

needed as the trees closed in – not an easy


World Launch

proposition for a clubman rider, all told.

I did get to play with the traction control

(TC) on the FE450. Only this didn’t seem

like the right place to properly evaluate its

functionality. Quite often in sand you want to

be on full-noise with the back wheel spinning

– that kind of creates the right dynamic to

make the bike feel light, to float. But with the

TC on the computer’s reaction is to retard

the ignition when the rear wheel spins up too

fast, so just as you are trying to lighten the

bike up the TC is pulling the whole rig down.

As one rider said, ‘I already have traction

control fitted, it’s called brain-to-wrist’. I can’t

say I experimented extensively with the TC,

but each time I did I wasn’t liking the feedback,

and so I’d switch it off. I suspect, as

with adventure bikes, TC works best in iffy,

slippery conditions – probably rocks awash

with mud – so it’ll need a further test or two

in different terrain to determine if TC is the

way forward. For now the feedback was TC

works best in the ‘off’ position.

By the way, I did appreciate the ODI grips

fitted across the range. They’re quite soft

grips (better than previous stock grips by

KTM/Husky), and given how much of a faff

grip changing can be, the system brings

obvious benefits, even if replacement grips

fe450


World Launch

will be more expensive.

In all, the FE450 and I were uneasy

companions in this terrain, the poor thing

simply made the job harder in every way.

But I dare say if I was on a five-day trail

ride across Portugal – as our Warren

enjoyed recently on a 450EXC – I could see

the FE450 would be an ideal companion.

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 FE450 2017 FE450 2017 KTM 450EXC-F

Dry weigh 113.3kg 108.8kg 106kg

Seat height 970mm 970mm 960mm

Fuel 9.5 litres 8.5 litres 8.5 litres

Wheelbase 1482mm 1495mm 1482mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 345mm 370mm 355mm

2017 Husky FE450 £7949

2017 KTM 450EXC-F £7749

fe450


THE FE450 is

good for…

Effortless trail riding

on easy to moderate

trails or as an E2

meat-axe for strong

committed racers.


World Launch

FE350

The Best Seller

The Tech

The E2-lite has got smaller, lighter and more

powerful. That all-new engine (shared in

many aspects with the FE250) is now 20mm

shorter and is 0.700kg lighter than the 2016

lump. There’s been some woirk in the head,

with polished cams featuring a 30% harder

DLC coating on the cam followers with the

four vales are all Titanium. There are new

valve springs and retainers and so power

and torque are up throughout the rev range.

Now here’s a tricky bit: there’s a new crank

and attached to that is a shorter conrod, so

Husky say it’s a shorter stroke, making for a

freer rev. Only the bore and stroke remain

unchanged. There’s a logical explanation

for this, only it doesn’t come to mind right

now. Anyway, new plain big end bearings

with two force-fitted bearing shells mean

service life for the crank is now 135 hours

between strip downs.

The crankcases are new again key

dimensions: clutch shaft 11.1mm back and

up 26.9mm, making the engine 20mm

fe350


World Launch

fe350

THE F

The ma

sales s


shorter (hands up all those still awake).

Meanwhile there’s the gearbox upgrades

again, with low friction coatings for easier

shifting and a sensor to allow the computer

to modify the mapping by the gear. And the

clutch is now operated via a Magura

hydraulic system, as we know by now.

E350 is good for…

jority of riders, judging by the

uccess. Not this tester though…

The Ride

The FE350 is a fairly competitive unit. While

we were sleeping, American rider Ryan

Sipes took one to the outright win at the

2015 ISDE, so obviously it must be good.

Another American, Taylor Robert this year

managed a win a round in the E2 world

championship on his KTM 350EXC-F, too,

so we can confirm the 350 is a fair machine.

And it is. I just wish it would float my boat.

Back in 2013 when I tested the very first

Austrian Huskies it was my pick of the range.

But this year Husqvarna’s new two-strokes

are so awesome it made evaluating the

FE350 really difficult. Both the TE250 and

TE300 aced the FE350 in the sandy

conditions. Then there’s my constant nag

with the 350 motor, I just don’t ride at the

right pace to suit its gearbox. That’s a me

thing – I’m either revving it too much in

second or its bogging in third. If I could ride

just a bit faster and hold third gear for

longer life would be much easier. Or ride

faster trails, preferably over hard pack –

then the FE350 would be in its element.

Yes, the FE350 does feel a touch lighter,


World Launch

fe350


it’s a cool set of wheels, but in the conditions

I was curiously struggling to notice the extra

power that it’s pumping out. It felt exactly

like KTM/Husky 350s that we’ve known for

some time.

Another test is needed here. In the

meantime, apologies to all those FE350

fans hoping to read excited ravings over

this model – coming from me, it’ll just have

to wait.

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 FE350 2017 FE350 2017 KTM 350EXC-F

Dry weight 109kg 106.8kg 104kg

Seat height 970mm 970mm 960mm

Fuel 9.5 litres 8.5 litres 8.5 litres

Wheelbase 1482mm 1495mm 1482mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 345mm 370mm 355mm

2017 Husky FE350 £7849

2017 KTM 350EXC-F £7649


World Launch

FE250

Screaming for

Blue Murder

The Tech

Tech is as per the FE350 (hooray!). Husky

put a number to the shorter stroke on the

FE250’s briefing notes – 6mm, but (as said)

that doesn’t change the bore and stroke in

the stats. Otherwise everything we said on

tech for the FE350 – same goes here.

The Ride

Jeez Louise! This new FE250 flies. Life is

imperfect, how else can we explain that the

same tester that found little to excite or

demonstrate difference (2016 to 2017) in the

case of the FE350 found so much to excite

with its little bro’, the FE250? But riding the

FE250 at the end of a nine-hour day of test

riding, this little four-popper came like a

breath of fresh air; on the day it was the

only four-stroke to match up to the stellar

brilliance of the TE250/300s.

There’s something about the rev on the

FE250 that makes it so good. It revs freely

fe250


World Launch

fe250


and with a ceiling at 12,800rpm pretty high

too. This example felt like it was more than

just properly run in, it felt like it was getting

close to a much-needed service, but being

so loose it really would hang its ass out and

go for it – and it got the closest to emulating

the floating action of those two-strokes

through the whoops, where the other FEs felt

to labour, too willing to drop into the hollows.

With a claimed 105.8kg weight, this bike

also best demonstrated the lightness of the

new models as it did genuinely feel lighter

than its predecessor, getting much closer to

the feeling of agility of the latest Yamaha

WR250F (which is actually far heavier, but

carries its weight well). The FE250 is a

proverbial doddle to ride and while the highrev

might be exciting and an obvious talking

point, the motor was strong-as on all the hill

climbs, it has no issues there. For a Sportsman-Clubman

rider there’s a whole heap to


World Launch

enjoy here. But it’s good for the Expert-

Championship rider too and on certain tests

you can see it challenging for outright fastest

seeing that you can rag it so hard.

Most certainly since the reverso WR250F

arrived in 2015, KTM/Husky have needed a

response, their old 250F was beat. This new

bike brings the fight. Whether it’s enough,

though – that’s going to need a head-to-head

to determine.

THE FE250 is good for…

Thrashing along, hanging it out,

imagining yourself the pro racer.

Light, zappy, it’s clubman joy.

RUST’s QUICK CHECK

2016 FE250 2017 FE250 2017 KTM 250EXC-F

Dry weight 107.3kg 105.8kg 103kg

Seat height 970mm 970mm 960mm

Fuel 9.5 litres 8.5 litres 8.5 litres

Wheelbase 1482mm 1495mm 1482mm

Steering head angle 63.5º 63.5º 63.5º

Ground clearance 345mm 370mm 355mm

2017 Husky FE250 £7649

2017 KTM 250EXC-F £7449

fe250


World Launch

conclusion


What was old...

ISNEWAGAIN

HAVING MISSED THE KTM 2017 launch

I was keen to get on the Huskies and see

what all the fuss is about with these smaller,

lighter, more powerful bikes. As it was I was

by turns both disappointed and euphoric in

equal measure.

The new four-strokes are quite possibly

amazing. But they didn’t feel like that. The

big one, the FE501, felt seriously old school.

A big burly bruiser maybe, but having come

from testing Beta’s RR480 only a week

earlier – I’m thinking the little Italian would

run rings around this Austro-Swede. The

FE450 and FE350 left me nonplussed as

well. It was not easy to detect the changes

on these in these conditions and given the

performance of the two-strokes on the day,

they felt like too much work and heck, they’re

complicated beasts. Fortunately, the FE250

saved the day for the four-strokes. It’s a

blinding little unit, so willing, so damn easy

to ride – only in this model could I find the

feedback, the ride experience I expected

given so much technological change.

Quite possibly that’s because I’m a clubman

level rider, not a pro. We’ll need more

testing on the four-stroke range to get a

definitive answer.

Meanwhile there was nothing less than


World Launch

conclusion


sheer delight in testing the TE250 and

TE300. The new engines, with counter

balancers, are so smooth, so progressive

and yet remain so true to the simple ethos

of two-strokes. They’re light, so quick on

their feet and nothing – nothing – is a

problem. Okay they might not suit an

absolute beginner (see FE250) but for

everyone else these are awesome, they do

the job excellently. And when you get home

they’re home mechanic friendly without all

the expense and to-do of the four-stroke top

end. The TX125 meanwhile – yeah, one for

the boys there, I’m sure they’ll love them.

So the pick for this tester: the TE300. Just

awesome. And have KTM/Husky moved the

goal posts again? Yes. But quite probably by

not as much as we’d might have imagined –

which may also be why in EnduroGP in 2017

they’re not getting it all their own way.

There is only one thing for certain.

The two-stroke’s story is far from over…


RUST DOES THE W

TWO DAY ENDURO

Next Issue

The Welsh is no small undertaking. A classic long-distance enduro, some 65 years old,

with 10 checks and three tests; ridden in one direction on the first day, reversed on day

forests, hill climbs/descents and ruts – such everlasting ruts – you need you and your b

This year Warren and JB entered two of the RUST long termers, the Husqvarna TE300

into the fray and we’ll be telling their story in detail over the coming issues. Part one:

protection, set-up, tyres and training (just for starters).

RUST’s W2D made possible

with the suppor t of…


In association

with Freestyle Bikes

with a solid 150-mile lap

two. With rock, bogs,

ike to be tip-top.

and Yamaha WR250F,

prep – that’s suspension,

www.freestylebikes.co.uk

ELSH

– Part1


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Introduction to RUST Magazine.

2015 KTM 250EXC vs 2015

Yamaha WR250F shootout.

Trail test of the Chinese made

WK400 Trail and columns from

Chris Evans, David Knight and

Gary Freeman...

ISSUE #2

The 2016 Beta

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2016 Motocross

Pitgirl rounds up

Season, plus co

Melber and Ric

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What happened to the KTM 690

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The Michelin Anakee Wild

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Yamaha’s ‘new’

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tested. The Suzuki V-Strom 650

and Pitgirl’s analysis of the 2015

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and Si Melber...

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Race test of 2015 250EXC and

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Pitgirl on beating the offf-season

blues and columns from JB and

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JB’s Instant Factory Set-Up –

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interviewed, plus columns from

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JB’s first editorial. Interview with

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The Yamaha IT490, 40 years on.

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Snowden...

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700KM on a KTM450EXC.

Looking for Mexico with Thomas

Wielecki. Tested – Warren and

JB on the latest kit, plus a

column by Chris Evans...

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2017 KTM model range tested.

EnduroGP the new face of World

Enduro by Pitgirl. Gary Freeman

with more MX insight...

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Heritage – The BMW R nineT

tested. Dispatches – Too light,

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Travelling across the Alentejo

region of Portugal on a KTM

450EXC...

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M

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Husqvarna 701

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YAMAHA WR450F

SPECIAL EDITION

RUST tests the all-new Yamaha

WR450F in the hills of Andalusia,

Southern Spain...

2016 BMW GS TROPHY

SPECIAL EDITION

RUST joins the GS Trophy riding

across Northern Thailand on

board the latest BMW R1200GS

MADAGASCAR

SPECIAL EDITION

JB joins the Touratech United

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JB braved the heat and went to

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Video

www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0K02x9reL0

2017 KTM MODEL RANGE LAUNCH

Warren Malschinger and Josh Snowden go to

Portugal to ride the extensively redesigned 2017

KTM enduro range...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=54lfOS3nMtE

STILLWELL PERFORMANCE

Alan from Stillwell Performance explains their A-Kit

tuned forks for RUST Magazine’s long term

Husqvarna TE300 and KTM 200EXC test bikes...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVYqp3biTnc

2016 BMW GS TROPHY THAILAND

Montage of scenes from the South-East Asia GS

Trophy featuring comments from Kurt Yaeger, Tom

Wolf and our man Jon Bentman...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQBn2qbfopY

THE TRAIL RIDERS FELLOWSHIP

Read the story behnd the ethos of the Trail Riders

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FREE on the website www.rustsports.com

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2016 HUSQVARNA LAUNCH

Warren, JB and Si give us their views on the latest

Husqvarnas direct from the Wealdon Off-Road

centre down in deepest Devon...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L8ePyI2E4M

2016 V-STROM 650XT

Seve Hacket explains the revisions to the Suzuki

650 V-Strom in order to make it more suitable for

all-out adventure riding...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oHMTpB0RNw

2016 HONDA AFRICA TWIN

Exclusve first test of the new Honda CRF1000L

Africa Twin... Read the story in the RUST Magazine

Special Edition at www.rustsports.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLpIT6Z-ACQ

2016 HONDA AFRICA TWIN

Jon Bentman discusses the finer points of the new

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin with Tom Myers of

Touratech USA


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Kurt Yaeger describing the journalists attempts to

ride up a massive mud slide on the journalist only

first day acclimatisation ride out...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrOoVPEKiE

JONNY WALKER INTERVIEW

JB asks the extreme enduro specialist some

pertinent questions about his rivals Graham Jarvis,

David Knight and in-race hydration...

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DESERT ROSE RACING

Patsy Quick and Clive ‘Zippy’ Town talk about rally

navigation and latest Dakar weapon the 2016 KTM

450RR Rally bike...

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2016 YAMAHA WR450F

JB tests the new Yamaha WR450F in the hills of

Andalusia and finds that it’s packing some heat and

demands a good deal of respect...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l54XQOYoPo

2016 HUSQVARNA 701

Testing the new Husky 701 Enduro and the 701

Supermoto on the road and on the track...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooPAurYxQzY

2016 KTM MODEL RANGE LAUNCH

JB, Warren and Si brave the intense heat in the

British countryside (I know...) And tell us their three

favourite bikes of the day....

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntK07I63tuA

HONDA CB500X ADVENTURE

Jon gets an exclusive ride on the Rally Raid

Products latest adaptation of the CB500X for the

adventure riders out there...

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SUPER STADIUM MASH-UP

Pitgirl gies us her rundown of the 2016

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Contributors: Chris Evans (France), Warren Malschinger (Guernsey),

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