Tested: 2019 Husqvarna TC125 & TC250
We were lucky enough to attend the media launch for the 2019 motocrossers in Florida, USA. It was the first time we got the opportunity to eyeball these bikes in the flesh and, more importantly, throw a leg over the two-stroke range from the Swedish manufacturer.
Here’s a top-line insight into how the 2019 machines have changed – in terms of both their componentry, performance, and overall character.
Husqvarna’s TC125 (like the KTM 125SX) has been the standout in the small-bore two-stroke class for years, and the sweeping mods made back in 2016 model extended that advantage. For 2019, the revisions to the airbox, inlet tract, expansion chamber and jetting have combined to make the 125’s power meatier and broader. Meanwhile, the new DS (Diaphragm Steel) clutch still give you that super-direct feel of the conventional six-spring clutch previously used, but by saving more than 300g, it helps give Husky’s 2019 two-stroke engines noticeably more throttle response. Also, the new Pankl transmission for 2019 makes for smoother shifts, plus, according to Husqvarna, improved durability.
With the 2019 TC250 receiving similar mods – in particular, the exhaust system’s all-new expansion chamber with an oval cross-section – it also generates noticeably more power than its predecessor, with a majority of those gains felt at lower revs. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the TC250’s expansion chamber (which is more compact and hugs the frame and engine tighter) gives it more clearance when the bike’s leaned over through deep ruts.
Did I have favourite two-stroke? Sure did! As much as everyone loves reliving their youth on a 125, the TC250 was my pick of the bunch on the day. It’s just so versatile. It doesn’t have to be ridden hard for it to be a load of fun. Yeah, it’s got more than enough power when you twist the throttle, but with the addition of the counter-balancer and reworked engine characteristics for 2019, the power is just so smooth and linear and refined. It doesn’t want to jump out of your hands like 250cc two-strokes of years past did. To my mind, Husqvarna has really nailed this bike. And we’re stoked to see the brand constantly pushing the boundaries with two-stroke development.
Husqvarnas are known for coming out of the box with a range of high-quality componentry, designed to save you from forking out extra cash for aftermarket bits and pieces. And here are few of our favourite components:
- Magura Hydraulic Clutch – The extremely reliable, high-quality German-made clutch is what in the past has set these bikes apart from the rest. Who doesn’t want an even wearing, almost maintenance-free clutch? We certainly love it.
- WP Suspension – WP’s AER forks are back for 2019, and why wouldn’t they be? As a whole, these forks have been very well received by the market. The updated 2019 suspension settings across the board produce a plusher and more progressive action at both ends, with slightly better bottoming resistance. For example, we started off with the standard fork pressure and progressively stiffened the fork (and shock) to cope with the larger holes and braking bumps that developed on the Florida test track. The updated settings kept the bikes’ handling predictable, with model-specific settings making all five bikes a treat to ride all day. The fork, in particular, was a standout for me. It followed the ground really nicely, didn’t dive coming into any of the choppy corners, handled well through the sandy rollers, and still offered a sure-footed, planted feel when the front-end was loaded up on hardpack flat turns.
SMALL CHANGES THAT HAVE MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE
It’s clear that Husqvarna’s design team is more immersed in the detail than most, and it really shows in the quality of finish these machines boast. Here are a few standout examples of what we mean:
- The swingarm has been lengthened by 5mm (but only behind the rear axle) to accommodate a larger range of wheelbases. With previous year-models, if you wanted to add another link or two to your chain, you couldn’t move the rear axle back far enough to get the correct chain tension. With the 2019 swingarm, you can. Smart! But to be honest, obvious too.
- The subframe has been extended slightly to give the rear guard more support when it’s caked up with mud. This also comes in handy for lifting the bike on and off the stand, because the shape of the new plastics make it impossible to get your fingers in those edge seams on the rear guard. You now grab the entire guard and subframe to lift the rear-end.
- Have you seen the “plug-in stand”? Husqvarna took the old rear-axle triangle stand and gave it an overhaul by designing an ingenious product that acts as both a sidestand and a brace/chock for the bike’s air fork during transportation. It comes with a couple of handy clips designed to secure a T-bar. Like the WP fork pump, the plug-in stand is expected to come standard with Husqvarna’s 2019 MX models.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE DETAIL ABOUT HUSQVARNA’S 2019 BIKES?
For detailed information about the model-specific mods made to Husqvarna’s 2019 MX machines, go to www.husqvarnamotorcycles.com.au.
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