I;was sitting around the palatial offices here at Dirt Bike, chewing on a Cohiba and swirling a nice Shiraz, when one
of the pups on staff wanted my list of the 10 best off-road
dirt bikes I’d ridden. That seemed like an easy pill to down,
so with fingers blowing flames, I proceeded to…struggle.
Just narrowing down the list to 10 was like trying to pick
my top 10 songs of all time. My parameters were that the
machine had to be off-road designated and not a modified
motocrosser, which we did a lot of in the ’80s and ’90s.
Plus, a handful of machines I’d rather forget about
I had made the switch from MX to enduro in 1978 and
was lucky enough to ride out of Kolbe Cycles. Andy was
a great friend and helped sponsor my fledgling aspirations
in the enduro world. This machine wasn’t the fastest or the
best handling, but it made superb bottom power, was reliable (whereas the year before my 370 was really irritable)
and was a full submarine in deep water. It helped me finish quite well in the District and California State Enduro
Championships (actually, I won them both).
This bike was like Jekyll and Hyde and could easily end
up on my top 10 worst bikes list! But when it was on, it gave
this SoCal idiot the ability to dance with the big boys in
Northern California. In the tight stuff, I kept it pinned, using
the rear brake to turn, and a total lack of power made for
nearly 100 percent traction. I could hang with Dave Bertram,
Henning and Sutliff when it got ugly. In the end, I figured
that I spent nearly 30 hours a week working on the bike.
Husky finally quit shipping me clutches, which required constant attention and new springs and wedges, when I drained
the parts warehouse of its stock.
1980 Can-Am 400
1982 Husky Auto
By Tom Webb