The Husky 250F is a relatively new bike that has already
won a number of world championships. The catch is, they
were all off-road championships, and the bike has yet to be
acknowledged in the motocross world. Last year,
Husqvarna engineers gave the bike a new Keihin fuel-injection system and a new head, and that resulted in horsepower that at least got it in the game. The Husky has an
interesting mix of Euro and Japanese components. It has
KYB suspension and Excel rims from Japan and Brembo
brakes and an Akrapovic pipe from Europe.
STRONG POINTS: The Husky always gets the same backhanded compliment: “It’s better than I thought!” Once the initial shock wears off, riders start to analyze why it’s so surprising. The common element is usually cornering. The Husky has
very agreeable manners in turns. It won’t stand up, even if the
throttle is chopped mid-turn. And, at the other end of the handling spectrum, the Husky is fairly stable.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the super-plush suspension. The Husky has no harshness, even when you flat land
or over-jump. You have to understand that it’s soft—very
soft. That can be a good thing for small riders, and it makes
the Husky effective in off-road settings, but full-time
Justin Jones and Kris Palm fly formation on
the red racers at Cahuilla Raceway.
motocross riders might want to stiffen things up. Husky
scores extremely well in value too. The price is relatively
low, and you get a hydraulic clutch, oversize bars and a
titanium pipe. The bike feels light, although the weight is
nothing special at 228 pounds without fuel.
WEAK POINTS: Last year the Husky got up to par with
the new head and EFI system, but it’s still no powerhouse.
The motor makes decent power in the middle but fails to
excel anywhere. According to the dyno, test riders universally said it felt slow on the track. It has what feels like a lot
of flywheel effect and a general reluctance to get going.
The Husky also suffers from being a maverick. Some things
are just different, like the pipe on the right-hand side, where it
seems to burn more than its fair share of pants. It’s still a
somewhat rare bike, so the path to more performance is
unclear. The stock pipe is so impressive that you can’t just
install an aftermarket slip-on and expect an improvement.
BOTTOM LINE: The Husky surprises everyone with its
handling and overall competence. It shouldn’t. World championships aren’t earned by slackers. But, the off-road heritage of the TC250R is obvious in the way the bike performs—from the soft suspension to the soft powerband. In
motocross, Husqvarna still has work to do.
Serious at last