Husqvarna has made huge improvements with the
switch to KYB suspension. The new dampers are plush.
The suspension could resist bottoming a bit better, but it
does a very good job of absorbing trail inconsistencies.
The thing that really hinders the Husky’s performance on
big hack is its 270-pound weight.
The KTM’s WP dampers and PDS non-linkage units are
very focused and are excellent for nearly all trail work.
They’re sprung for riders up to 175 pounds, resist bottoming quite well and are the best in the dual-sport world.
The Husky has come a long way since the old BMW
non-linkage model. We still have trouble finding the rear
brake pedal, though, and the weight is a factor in the handling world. The Husky is a good 17 pounds heavier than
the 255-pound KTM, and you can feel every ounce when
you’re slam-dancing down a rocky descent. Cornering-wise, the Husky is strong and very stable. The KTM, however, feels a good 30 pounds lighter. The suspension
resists bottoming better, and it’s thinner and more polished
ergonomically. It gets the win.
• The KTM’s Metzeler tires are more aggressive than the
Husky’s Metzeler’s. For off-road, the KTM’s take the cake.
• Both have rather large license plates/lights, though they
held up and didn’t get sucked into the rear wheel on a
full G-out. Both also have good blinkers that are small
and remained intact throughout the test. The Husky’s
light was a bit stronger than the KTM’s, though neither
rocked our world.
• The mirrors on both machines work fine for the road,
but are too big and lack pivot points for the serious dirt
• Both will conquer serious off-road terrain without a single
• Both can be modified to run better off-road, though it
requires mapping and exhaust changes that kill their
• The $8999 Husky is $700 cheaper than the $9699 KTM.
• You could ride the KTM to an enduro, compete and then
ride it home.
• Nice plastic skid plate on the Husky.
• Good grips and bulge bars adorn both machines.
• Both have nice plastic hand shields that mount at the
lever pivot points.
• The Husky gets decent gas mileage, while the KTM is
shockingly fuel efficient. Love the fuel injection!
• The KTM is a backfiring fiend.
• Both will cycle fuel from the tank into a catch tank when
tackling severe downhills. Once those tanks fill up, the
machines run like junk.
• Don’t overfill the KTM tank (see above).
• Get a 14mm Allen wrench if you plan to take off the
Husky’s front wheel. (We had to go buy one.)
• The KTM saddle wears out quickly.
• The Husky saddle is a rock.
• No skid plate on the KTM.
THE FINAL WORD
Like we said at the beginning, we’d take either one of
these machines. They’re off-road explorers, they’re efficient, and they’re legal and worthy out of the hole. The
bottom line, however, is that the KTM kills it. It is the best
dual-sport bike made, bar none. But know this: if the KTM
vanished, the Husky could step right into its shoes. A
smaller pair of shoes, no doubt, but it can still dance. ;
The KTM 500EXC and the Husky TE510 are working dirt bikes fit with just enough
legalities to make them tarmac legal.
Straight off the highway and into a wonderland is what dual-sport is all about.