A DIFFERENT TAKE
Even though Husky and KTM participate in the 144
game, TM clearly takes it a little more seriously. It’s the
only one with a modern aluminum frame, it’s made from
all the most expensive parts available, and the motor is
like nothing else offered. The key feature of the top end is
the electronic power valve. If you remember back just
over 10 years ago, this was supposed to be the next big
step in two-stroke technology. Honda came out with the
RC valve for the CR250R in 2002, but before that, other
companies (including Husqvarna) tinkered with the concept. Back then, digital components weren’t as sophisticated as they are now, so the true potential of the concept was never realized. But you can easily picture the
possibilities. The exhaust port could be programmed to
open to the optimal level for different rpm and throttle
openings, just like fuel-injection mapping. The TM’s
power valve is digitally controlled, but this is just the discovery stage of the technological learning curve. Throttle
opening isn’t yet plugged into the mix, but give them
As for the rest of the motor, it’s an ultra-compact six-speed. The engine cases are sand-cast, the clutch is
hydraulic, and it’s a case-reed design with a Moto
Tassinari V-Force 3 reed. To make the 144 out of a 125,
TM altered both the bore and the stroke. They say that
increasing the bore alone will result in a piston that’s too
heavy. KTM did the same thing, but Husqvarna attained
good results with a bore-only displacement increase.
Different strokes for different Europeans, so to speak.
TM is all about building its own stuff. The hubs, the
clamps and even the sprocket are made in-house. Most
interesting of all is the rear shock. TM makes it from
scratch. Internally, it’s said to be similar to a KYB, but it
looks dramatically different. In front, TM uses a KYB fork
that is supposed to be very Yamaha-like.
TM makes its own rear shock. That’s pretty amazing for a
company that makes about 1000 motorcycles worldwide
Tech-wise, the most interesting feature is the TM’s electronic power valve. It picks up where the Honda’s RC valve left
off in the early 2000s.
Any machine that weighs this little is a miracle bike in the
turns. The TM is a hero-maker.
MX TEST TM 144MX