JANUARY 2015 / DIRT BIKE 45
so low that it’s virtually idling. It builds up very gradually in
such a way that small movements of the wrist don’t result
in violent jerks of the bike. It revs out to a decent top end,
but if you’re a four-stroke guy, you’ll be shocked that the
300 tapers off so quickly. Husqvarna claims that the bike
produces 54 horsepower, but it’s no match for a 450 in
terms of peak power or in the width of the powerband. It
operates in a completely different rev zone than a modern
four-stroke, basically starting from zero and going up to
around 8000 rpm. Four-strokes can’t go that low because,
even to this day, they’re a little erratic at low rpm, but boy
can they rev. The Husky might have a little less on top
than its KTM 300 siblings because of differences in the
airbox, although the bottom end is completely unaffected.
All isn’t perfect with the Husky at low revs, though. It
tends to act a little lean down there and sometimes has
high and low idle surges when the clutch is in. There’s still
no threat of a stall, however, and the bike works happily
in that zone all day long. If you did actually stall the bike,
which would have to be almost deliberate, the electric
starter fires it up so quickly that it wouldn’t cost you any
time. The real advantage in the Husky’s low-rpm happiness comes in those do-or-die situations where you have
to balance on a narrow, footless ledge and meter out just
the right amount of forward motion. You always know
what the bike’s going to do.
As far as suspension goes, the Husky is moderately
cushy, similar to the KTM 300XC-W. The biggest difference between the TE and the KTM XC-W is that the
Husky sits a little more level. It’s not as high in the rear
and doesn’t unload as suddenly. That makes it a little
better on a track, where the Husky doesn’t change its
attitude as much with hard braking or acceleration. On the
other hand, the TE has less ground clearance. The linkage
hangs down right in front of the rear wheel and can hang
up on rocks that an XC-W won’t even notice. The Husky
is also a little wider than the KTM, which appeals to many
riders. You’re able to grab it with your knees, and the new
seat cover offers good grip too even though the seat is
Much has been written about the WP 4CS fork, which
has the rebound adjuster on the right and the compression on the left. Not all of the reports have been positive,
but the fork works much better off-road than in motocross. In fact, the Husky has good front suspension for
anything right up to motocross-size hits. The adjuster on
the left is most effective for high-speed damping, and the
fork responds well to changes in oil level.
THE REAL COST OF OWNERSHIP
If you’re a four-stroke fan thinking of switching to the
“other side,” you should prepare yourself for a few things.
The Husky has a petcock; you’ll have to turn your gas on
and off. The Husky drinks oil in its gas, which requires
planning and preparation. The Husky’s air filter gets dirtier.
We don’t really know why. The Husky will drool a little oil
from the silencer.
You will smash the pipe at some point. It requires occasional oil changes, not frequent ones. You can rebuild the
motor in an hour. It can’t get a green sticker in California,
and that limits where you can ride. The truth is that owning a two-stroke is a different experience. It allows you to Getting to the filter is quick and easy. The airbox is made of different material but is very similar to a KTM’s in design.
Brembo brakes are the strongest in the off-road world,
whether they are mounted on a KTM or Husky.
The changes to the 293cc two-stroke motor are few for
2015, although the 250cc version got slight power-valve