[Husqvarna]

2020 Husky Enduro Bikes: Observations

6 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Marco Campelli, Sebas Romero

As we revealed yesterday, Husqvarna has made sweeping changes to the engines, chassis and bodywork across its 2020 enduro range – two-strokes and four. But do these upgrades mean that the 2020 models can legitimately be called “new-generation” machines? Have the 2020 Husky FE and TE models changed more than their 2020 orange counterparts, which roll off the same production line in Austria? And were there any surprises, or oversights, in what Husqvarna revealed yesterday?
Transmoto’s Andy Wigan is in Finland for the international media launch for Husqvarna’s new “MY20” enduro models, and here are a few notes he sent us from the Northern Hemisphere; his initial thoughts about the 2020 Huskys after eyeballing them in the flesh, just 24 hours before gets to ride the things in a moose-filled forest…

NEW GENERATION?

Just as we said with the 2020 Katos, these 2020 TE and FE models from Husqvarna are not new-generation machines. At least, they’re not new-gen in the sense that they haven’t seen major overhauls to engine configurations or frame architecture, as they did back in 2017. But the 2020 bikes are much more than refined versions of their predecessors. You’d have to say that the mods to their engines, frame, suspension, bodywork and seat all add up to a very significant evolution from their predecessors. Visually, they sure appear new-generation. And they certainly look much more like their MX and cross-country cousins than KTM’s enduro models do.

WHO’S CHANGED MORE – HUSKY OR KTM?

Given the changes that KTM’s 2020 enduro models were recently released with, a greater majority of the upgrades made to the 2020 Huskys will sound familiar. For example, there’s an all-new 150cc two-stroke with TPI fuel injection; major engines mods to all seven models (including all-new cylinder heads on the 450 and 501); huge changes to exhausts systems on both the two-strokes and four-strokes; a frame that’s designed to be stiffer in both torsional and longitudinal planes; revamped settings (and some internal tweaks) to WP’s fork and shock; and all new subframes.

But you could easily argue that the 2020 Huskys have taken a step or two further forward than the 2020 KTMs. How so? Because the bodywork on the 2020 FE and TE models is radically different to their predecessors (while the 2020 KTMs’ bodywork was only subtly different). And because the 2020 Husqvarna’s also get a revised rising-rate shock linkage to complement the new Xact shock settings and to lower the seat height (whereas KTM has lowered their 2020 seat height by ergos alone). In other words, the change to the 2020 Huskys’ linkage will also alter the geometry of the rolling chassis (albeit slightly), which is significant. Perhaps it has something to do with redressing suggestions that the 2019 Husky’s rear-end overpowered (ie, were too firm for) the fork. Which makes theoretical sense because, remember that in 2018/’19, Husqvarna went to a firmer shock spring to offset the firmer compression damping in the fork, while the 2018/’19 KTMs (which also got the firmer fork damping) retained the same shock spring rates.

WHAT WASN’T IN THE PR?

Here are a few other things we noticed about the 2020 bikes, but which didn’t appeared in Husqvarna’s PR about them (not yet, anyway):

  • The ergos on the 2020 bikes are claimed to be slimmer. But to the naked eye, it appears that the 2020 machines are slimmer mainly through the rear-ends – the sideplates’ plastics are tucked in tighter to help you get right back on the bike. If anything, the 2020 cockpit feels like it has a slightly meatier girth to grab between your legs and a rounder profile (and slightly wider) seat.

  • The PR doesn’t say anything about the radiators or revised fuel tank being mounted lower (a la the 2020 KTMs), but they sure appear to be. Which is good news as it creates more space under the bars for your legs when cranked over in deep ruts.
  • Husky’s old-school headlight assembly gets an update, but not much of one. It still resembles the rectangular look of an old TT-R, though it does get a splash of high-vis yellow for its backing plate, almost as if to draw attention to its wannabe new good looks.
  • Someone in Husqvarna’s design team seems to be obsessed with hand guards, cos they’ve changed shape again for 2020 (though remained white). Plus, the recess in the shields’ plastic for the master cylinders allows them to sit flusher to the bars and levers.
  • The new black finish on the exhaust mufflers on both the two- and four-strokes models looks cool (especially because they sit in behind the new grey lower sideplate panels) plus they now match the black rear sprocket.
  • There’s now a two-tone look on both the sideplates (white and grey) and seat (blue and black). These 2020 Huskys are reminiscent of the “Ikea bike” look of the final few model-years of Husaberg’s memorable 70-degree, forward-sloping engine machines.
  • We wouldn’t expect much, if any, criticism for the move from the white frame paint to the navy blue for 2020. The darker frames are more practical, plus they look stylish.

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