riding is natural for
the TE. Everyone
needs a little help
here or there.
gearbox and a 36mm carb, which is 2mm smaller than
that of the motocrosser. This is the only bike in Husky’s
off-road line that doesn’t have an electric-starter. Using
the kick-starter is pretty easy, though. It’s like pushing a
button, only with your foot.
Unlike the KTM and Husky motocross bikes, the TE125
still uses the massive 26mm front axle. The fork is a WP
4CS with the rebound and compression clickers on the
tops of the fork legs. The rear shock is a WP that uses
linkage. This is still an important distinction between the
Husky and KTM lines. The KTM XC-Ws are the closest
parallels to the Husky TEs, and they use the PDS system
with no shock linkage at all.
WHY IT’S SO GOOD
You can’t ride the TE125 without a smile. It’s crazy fun.
First of all, it has way more power than you might think.
A 125 in full cry can more or less keep up with a 250F.
Admittedly, the 125 can only do that on level ground if
you keep it in the thick part of the powerband. To state
the obvious, a 125 doesn’t have nearly as wide a powerband as a 250 four-stroke. But, the TE125 has the widest
usable power range of any 125 we’ve ever ridden. You
don’t have to be a small-displacement two-stroke specialist to keep it singing. If you haven’t been on a 125 since
you sold your 2001 KX125 for pocket change, then you’ll
be amazed. You’ll think the TE125 is a 200, or at least a
144. It has more peak power than even a modern Yamaha
YZ125, and the power starts much earlier. There are some
125 motocross bikes with more peak power, including
the Husky TC125, the KTM 125SX and some fairly exotic
offerings like the TM 125. But, none have the bottom-end
power of the TE. More important, the Husky has perfect
carburetion. It doesn’t sputter or ping on pump gas; it
always runs clean and crisp. That never happened in the
bad old days.
If you came off larger four-strokes, the most important
factor is to learn the art of the downshift. Up-shifting will
take care of itself, but when you slow down rapidly for
some kind of off-road obstacle, you must learn just how
many times to dab the shifter. For the most part, once
is not enough. Clutch work, of course, can make up for
imperfect decisions, and that will come easily because the
pull is so light it barely takes the strength of your eyelids.
The learning curve for shifting is steep. Once it becomes
second nature, you get to enjoy the true magic of a 125
off-road bike. It makes you invincible. The bike is so light,
it almost disappears under you. Without gas, the Husky
weighs 216 pounds. That’s a little misleading—the lightest
250 four-stroke motocross bikes are around 222 pounds.
But, there are mysterious gyroscopic forces at play in a
four-stroke motor that make it feel heavier. The Husky’s
tiny crank and flywheel don’t add any Newtonian forces
into the mix. If the scale said it was 50 pounds lighter, we
would believe it.
Even the TE’s suspension is surprisingly good. This
is usually a two-stroke weakness; all other things being
equal, four-strokes just seem to make suspension work
better. And, when you factor in the fact that the 4CS fork