HUSQVARNA’S FUEL-IN­JECTED TWO-STROKES

2018 HUSQVARNA TE 250i AND TE 300i

Dirt Rider - - Gear Bag - STORY BY AN­DREW OL­DAR PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF HUSQVARNA

Iwoke up early at the 1000 Peaks Lodge at the Panorama Moun­tain Re­sort in Bri­tish Columbia, Canada. I put my gear on and walked down to the base of the ski lift where a to­tal of 30 new Husqvarna TE 250i and TE 300i ma­chines were wait­ing. This was the new model launch for Husky’s fuel-in­jected two-strokes, and it was a very good day to be a magazine test rider.

The group of us from dif­fer­ent magazines, and even dif­fer­ent coun­tries, were sep­a­rated into four groups and sent up the moun­tain four times that day, twice on each test­bike. We were ac­com­pa­nied by two tour guides—one to lead and one to push (and make sure none of us got stuck or left be­hind). My group rode TE 300i’s on our first trip up the moun­tain. The 300 is not com­ing to the United States in 2018—only the 250i is—but Husqvarna gave us the day to try both.

As for the de­tails on th­ese bikes, both the TE 250i and TE 300i have a new en­gine man­age­ment sys­tem (EMS) that uti­lizes a new elec­tronic con­trol unit (ECU) that gath­ers in­for­ma­tion from five sen­sors in the en­gine to con­tin­u­ally ad­just for al­ti­tude and tem­per­a­ture changes. The en­gine is fed by a 39mm Dell’orto throt­tle body where the oil is mixed into the air charge, and the cylin­der has two fuel in­jec­tors that feed the fuel at the trans­fer ports at the back of the cylin­der. The en­gine oil is stored in a sep­a­rate tank and is fed into the in­take based on the EMS re­quire­ments. In the sus­pen­sion depart­ment, the WP Xplor fork re­ceives new outer tubes and stiffer set­tings, while the front and rear brak­ing sys­tems are Magura units—a change from Brembo on pre­vi­ous Huskys.

What this all means is, we have a bike with an en­gine that keeps what’s good about twostrokes and loses a lot of what’s not so good. For in­stance, we let the 300s warm up for a lit­tle less than a minute be­fore tak­ing them a quar­ter of a mile up the main ski slope and turn­ing onto a tight sin­gle-track trail. This first part of our ride was very tech­ni­cal, as we were faced with small rocks, tree roots, small streams, and con­stant switch­backs. It was so tight that I rode it mostly in first gear. I im­me­di­ately no­ticed how I could lug the en­gine at su­per-low rpm to help the bike main­tain trac­tion.

Af­ter com­ing out of the tight sin­gle-track, we rode on a fire road that took us near the top of the moun­tain. Our tour guide stopped and pointed to a steep hill climb and asked if any of us wanted to try it. The hill was long, steep, sandy, and didn’t have much run. Nat­u­rally, we all made our way to the bot­tom to give it a shot.

Rid­ing down was a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing, as there wasn’t re­ally a trail, but we zigzagged our way to the bot­tom with­out any is­sues. I lined up for the hill climb and clicked the bike into third gear. Com­ing from a tri­als back­ground, I al­ways hit long hill climbs in third gear be­cause sec­ond gear rarely pro­vides enough mo­men­tum and speed for such as­cents. I revved the bike as high as I could and slipped the clutch be­fore the bike’s rpm took a dive, and I quickly turned back to­ward the bot­tom of the hill. Third was ap­par­ently too tall for this bike on this par­tic­u­lar hill. I tried it again in sec­ond and the bike eas­ily pulled all the way to the top. I ac­tu­ally pulled a bit of a wheelie on the way up and had to chop

the throt­tle to avoid loop­ing out. Yes, the bike can lug, but the top-end power on the TE 300i is also plen­ti­ful and didn’t re­quire much mo­men­tum from the bot­tom to crest the top suc­cess­fully in sec­ond gear.

Af­ter we all did our best to try to be like Gra­ham Jarvis on the hill climb, we rode the re­main­der of the fire road to the peak of the moun­tain. While keep­ing the throt­tle steady at about one-third open, I no­ticed a bit of a surge as if the en­gine was briefly run­ning re­ally rich and then sud­denly hit­ting the power­band. When I opened the throt­tle wide open be­fore at­tack­ing an ob­sta­cle, this was a non­is­sue. Af­ter speak­ing with one of the Husqvarna tech­ni­cians, I was likely feel­ing the power valve open­ing at this part of the power­band. The preload on the power valve is ad­justable, and own­ers can pur­chase two op­tional power valve springs to suit the power to their lik­ing. In fact, the op­tional springs are the same ones used in the car­bu­reted TE 250 en­gine.

While I ap­pre­ci­ate the ad­justa­bil­ity, I only felt this surge on the mel­low parts of my ride and there­fore wouldn’t want to change the power valve spring to al­ter the power char­ac­ter­is­tics. The bike’s per­for­mance at the top of the moun­tain, which was about 7,700 feet of el­e­va­tion, was flaw­less. The power dif­fer­ence was a bit no­tice­able af­ter be­gin­ning our ride at the base of about 3,700 feet, but the power was just as pre­dictable and the throt­tle re­sponse was just as crisp as it was when we first em­barked on our jour­ney at the base.

We then be­gan our trek down and soon dived back into the trees and onto an­other sin­gle-track trail. I quickly no­ticed how pro­gres­sive the Magura front brake was. It felt a lit­tle less grabby than the Brembo brakes I am so used to rid­ing with on the other Euro­pean bikes. I do pre­fer the grab of the Brembo over the Magura, es­pe­cially when a sud­den stop is in or­der. But the pro­gres­sive­ness of the Magura unit was nice when de­scend­ing a long and grad­ual down­hill.

We rode the TE 250i on the sec­ond and fourth rides of the day; this is the bike that is com­ing to the United States. Rock­star En­ergy Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker joined us as one of our tour guides, and he even­tu­ally took us on some dif­fer­ent and more in­tense trails than we hit on the 300s. But first we rode the same tech­ni­cal sin­gle­track be­gin­ning of the course, which is where I had found out how well the en­gine per­forms at su­per-low rpm in first gear.

So I tried sec­ond gear on this sec­tion on the 250 and the bike worked even bet­ter. The low rpm the en­gine is able to sus­tain com­bined with the ad­di­tional tractabil­ity sec­ond gear of­fered was a win­ning com­bi­na­tion. The bike was eas­ier to han­dle and was less jumpy. As for the sus­pen­sion on both ma­chines, it was set up pretty soft, which helped me main­tain trac­tion and ab­sorb all of the many small ob­sta­cles on the trail.

When we got to the fire road, Colton be­gan ven­tur­ing off the side of it to find big ob­sta­cles and steep de­scents. I fol­lowed him to the top of an in­cline and looked down at a steep, rock-filled drop-off he had just rid­den down. I hes­i­tated at the very edge and Colton looked at me as if to say, “You’re se­ri­ously not go­ing to do it? Come on!” Colton and I are friends from our days rid­ing na­tional tri­als to­gether, so this felt like an­other day of prac­tice or com­pe­ti­tion—only this time it was on a bike with a seat. I was feel­ing com­fort­able enough on the bike to ride down the drop, so I did with­out a prob­lem.

Our last photo spot of the trip con­sisted of a jump and a berm. I hit the jump at about three-quar­ter throt­tle and caught more air than I an­tic­i­pated. Mid-air I re­mem­bered how plush the bike felt in the slow, rocky sec­tions, so I wasn’t look­ing for­ward to the land­ing. But upon com­ing back in con­tact with the earth, the WP Xplor fork and shock ab­sorbed the im­pact with sur­pris­ing ease and plush­ness. I was ex­pect­ing to bot­tom out, but both ends held up and didn’t leave me wish­ing I had stiff mo­tocross sus­pen­sion; so of course I launched the jump sev­eral more times. The big news here is the in­jected en­gine, but the pro­gres­sive­ness of the fork and shock was ac­tu­ally one of the most im­pres­sive parts of the bike.

At the end of the day, I en­joyed rid­ing the TE 250i more than the TE 300i be­cause the 250 felt nim­bler, es­pe­cially in the tight and tech­ni­cal ar­eas we rode. The 300 is def­i­nitely a bet­ter hill climber, but the 250 shined in all of the other ar­eas for me. Thank­fully, the 250 is com­ing to the United States this year, and I can’t wait to throw a leg over it and take it on some of our trails in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

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