When two purebred lines mix, there are several possibilities. You can have a mongrel or a hybrid. The Husqvarna TE300 is the
descendant of Husqvarna’s 112-year-old motorcycle legacy and KTM’s
modern engineering and manufacturing know-how. The result is a new
breed, even though, as we hear every time the subject comes up, its
arrival meant the end of another bloodline. The Italian Husqvarnas are
gone, but it should be pointed out that, in this particular case, that line
ended long ago. Husqvarna had let its two-stroke line age to virtual
extinction. The KTM-made TE300 doesn’t push anything out of the picture that hadn’t already left.
Jeff Rambo discovers just
how much fun a modern
two stroke can be.
JANUARY 2015 / DIRT BIKE 43
The identity that the new Husqvarna has assumed is the
same as that of the original Swedish company that America
came to know in the ’60s and ’70s. Back then, Husqvarna
brought motocross to America and quickly morphed into
the off-road race bike manufacturer of choice on both sides
of the U.S. Early Huskys dominated desert racing in the
west and captured a stunning 16 National Enduro titles
in a row between 1971 and 1986. The modern TE300 is
aimed at rekindling that flame. Its specific goal is enduros
and tough off-road riding with a heavy slant toward eastern
terrain. In these initial years of KTM ownership, Husqvarna
is struggling to separate itself from its parent company.
It’s not easy; there hasn’t been enough time to develop a
separate line of products. Beyond that, there’s no financial
KTM has been down this road before. The Husaberg line
was in the same situation, and for a period, it had motorcycles that were completely different from KTM’s. It didn’t
work. The 70-degree Husaberg engine was an engineering
success and a financial failure. KTM simply couldn’t sell
enough of them to justify the expense of separate tooling. With Husqvarna, the numbers will have to justify every
increase in expenditure. So far, the news is encouraging.
All the 2014 Huskys sold out quickly, and while that number wasn’t large by KTM’s standards, it was the best sales
year for Husqvarna in decades.
So, the TE300 is mostly KTM in hard parts. Of all the
bikes in the new Husqvarna line, though, the TE300 has
more of its own identity than any other. To understand the
TE, you have to understand the complicated KTM line. The
Husky 300 is actually a cross between two different KTMs:
A descendant of kings