***Please read this***
I promised a review of my day long, Highland Cycles sponsored, factory ride on the 2015 Husqvarna 250 (two stroke, of course), and here it is.
For those of you who are typical internet users, (reading this on the crapper are ya?) here is the shortest possible version of this review. I like this motorcycle a lot, and believe it is a great platform for building an awesome bike for the local riding and racing scene. I own three late model off road racing motorcycles and this one would be my go-to bike for racing off road. There ya go. Carry on and don't forget to wash your hands.
Now for the full version...
The bike, is a concept that is being executed by T. Morgan Spradling at Highland Cycles. Take a leading edge motocross two stroke racing 250, and turn it into an ultimate, leading edge off road racer utilizing accessories and services that Highland provides. Then, turn it over to riders that can put the bike and the upgrades to the test.
To be sure, I am not one of those guys. This test was to be in the perspective of the ordinary rider. My qualifications you ask? Right place at the right time, maybe? I have been riding off road since I was five. Unfortunately, that was 44 years and 200 lbs ago. I am a "use to was", with crippling carple tunnel. Plus, my boss gave me the day off..
My personal fleet of reference is a mostly stock, fuel injected 450 R Honda, and a very nicely set up KTM 250 XCW two stroke.
The Husky, since she is to be handed around the crowd and sampled by many, was named in the same way. Facebook of course, and she has been dubbed Elsa. I suggested something far more inappropriate, but this is a family friendly bike.
The ride was in Montrose starting at Peach Valley and sampling everything we could from fast Adobe hillsides and whoop sections to the rocky singletrack trails on the slopes above the Adobes. Jason Lesure and TR Larson joined me for an awesome ride, and the kinda fun you would come to expect from a sunny Colorado day of playing hooky and riding dirtbikes in paradise.
Lets look at this girl in an unbiased manner that is meaningful to those of you who have come this far...
The motor is amazing. Morgan gave me a tool to tune the power valve settings and mounted a mapping switch on the bars. The red (more agressive) power valve spring was installed and as such, I was sure it would be a bitch to control wheel spin. Nope. With the map in the "soft" setting it was a complete tractor off the bottom end, yet It still had the snap to lift over obsticles without using the clutch, and it could still rip the revs on the longer straights with ease. I left it in this mode for most of the harder trails. When we rode the open Adobe fast sections and hill climbs, the map switch went to the fast mode. This mode put the upper middle power back in place and it allowed the bike to rev with ease and stay on the pipe in the faster deeper sections. Felt like pulling a cork out. Best of both worlds. Bottom line? It rips. I did not need the power valve tool.
The transmission, in true motocross form, is a close ratio set. For gnarly single track, I am used to the wide ratio XCW, and as such, was sure there was another gear to be had when at the big end of the dial. However, it sure is nice having a nice tight ratio from first to second.
She is very nimble and light, and the suspension is set up for motocross. I am a big lad, so that actually works for me. the spring rates and settings were great in the whoops and big flat landing stuff. It was lacking that plushness of that first 10 to 15% of movement that you need in the choppy, square edge rock beds that are dominant in our area. The balance with stock settings? It tended to push the front when you were not way up on the front of the seat, and it wanted to push the front wheel into the face of the whoops. I slowed the rebound in the rear and that cured the liveliness from the ass end, leveling the ride. Overall, still very good. Morgan has plans to get the suspension reworked with these items in mind since I was not the only one to observe this. A test after the mods will be reviewed at that time.
The bars are Flexx bars. I am a recent convert to Flexx bars. My carple tunnel is at an all time peak, and the Flexx bars are an attempt to avoid the knife of the Ortho. They are helping me prolong my rides before my hands feel like I dipped them in a vat of novacane. I am a yellow bumper guy, Elsa had the stiffer reds. I woulda liked the yellows on this gnarly ride.
The factory clutch has been replaced with the latest greatest Rekluse Core EXP. Because of my hands, I was an early adopter of Rekluse clutches. I call them talent in a box, and they are. All my bikes have them. They are the older Z start pros. The one Elsa sports kicks their asses in clutch lever feel. Hands down.
The factory Husky seat looks all rough and textured, but it is surprisingly traction free, and with all that horsepower, you end up pulling yourself back into the pocket a lot.
Morgan equipped Elsa with all the armor that he has been selling and using on his own bikes. Parts he believes in. The one piece that revealed itself early in the ride, was the Fastway Linkage guard. Coming from a linkless 250 XCW, to a linked bike was a lesson in ground clearance. I am not Jarvis. So I hit two boulders that would have damaged the link, or shock mount... without a doubt... The Fastway guard saved the day and came away with nothing but road rash to show for it. I know that they are pricey, it is worth it. It is one of the first things I would buy along with a skid plate. Color me convinced.
The race bike heritage, and race bike focus of the concept, leaves one thing I would have to change. The fuel tank. It is too small to not be a pain in the ass for riding cross country. Making loops in a race is no biggie, but out in the wild of Colorado, I want more range.
If all my bikes had to go, and I could only have one weapon for riding in the Rockies, it would be Elsa as she sits, with some valving, a big tank, a Pro Moto Billet side stand, and a gripper seat. Done. No shit.
Review of Husqvarna TC250 by Chris Thomas
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