the 300XC and the 300XC-W. The XC models are KTM’s
off-road race bikes. They are similar to the motocross
bikes, differing only in suspension settings, gear ratios
and off-road trappings like kickstands and 18-inch rear
wheels. The XC-W models are more trail-oriented. They
have suspension that is even softer and a PDS rear shock
that uses no linkage. The TE splits the difference. It has
the same frame as the XC and uses linkage between the
shock and swingarm, but the settings are softer than those
of the XC. It has a headlight like the XC-W, and then it has
a short list of features that can’t be found on any KTM. The
airbox is combined with the subframe and is made from
a polyamide material. All of the plastic is different, and
the Husqvarna’s fuel tank is slightly larger. Is that
enough to make it a different motorcycle?
When you combine those facts with differences in marketing, racing and dealers, the
answer is a qualified yes.
NUTS AND BOLTS
There have been no recent revolutions in the two-stroke world. Direct-injection two-strokes have come to
the watercraft and snowmobile worlds, but motorcycle
motors are pretty much the same as they were 30 years
ago. The Husky has a case reed and a mechanical power
valve, but those designs have been refined incrementally
over all these years, and the TE300 is pretty much at the
top of its game. The electric starter is the star of the show
and got some slight gear changes this year. The battery is
more powerful and turns the motor more willingly. Another
change from the two-strokes of the last generation is the
DDS clutch, which uses a diaphragm spring rather than
coils. This year that clutch has a new gasket on the inner
cover. The Keihin 36mm PWK has some minor jetting
changes this year, and there are a few cosmetic changes.
The headlight and front fender have new shapes. The seat
cover is new and has a very coarse texture, and the handguards are new.
As far as power goes, the Husky is a gentle giant. It has
an incredibly smooth, sweet power delivery. That’s saying something, considering that it might have the most
powerful production motor in the current two-stroke world.
That shows how far
the genre has evolved
since the old days,
when open-class two-
strokes had a reputa-
tion for being too hard-
hitting and uncivilized for all but
a few tough men to ride. The
Husky’s usable power starts
Is the Husky 300 its own motorcycle?
Certainly. The soul and legacy are
Husqvarna, even if the blood and
bones are Austrian.