Just a few weeks after the release of the unsurprisingly similar KTM machines, the white arm of the orange giant released the all-new range of Husqvarna enduro machines. The new bikes were revealed in the spiritual home of the brand – Sweden – despite the clear fact that none of the production now takes place anywhere near the Nordic lands.
And from the look of the beautiful new machines, the resurgence of the brand looks set to step up another gear and more and more riders decide to jump ship to Husqvarna and the companies roster of race wins continues to grow. If you don’t know somebody that is riding a Husky yet, chances are that won’t last long.
The Austrian engineers have certainly been working their fingers to the bone to come up with the completely redesigned Huskies for 2017, albeit that much of the technology and improvements covers both brands.
If there were to be one main story, it’s the brand spanking new and substantially lighter two-stoke motors across the smokers in the range, but the four strokes have also been under the knife to trim off vital pounds while maintaining wads of enduro friendly power.
But rather than pick out just one aspect of the upgrades, lets get specific. What has changed and how has it changed?
All the bikes in the 2017 line up have a new frame which is both lighter but has 20% more torsional rigidity yet 30% less longitudinal stiffness. This sounds complex but al we need to know is that the changes improve both the feel of the bike and the way the suspension performs.
One major way in which the white bikes differ to their orange siblings is the use of a composite subframe, and this continues into the ’17 bikes with an all new frame that is 30% carbon fibre and an impressive 1 kg lighter than the 2016 version. The subframe contains the air box that has been tweaked for better airflow, and all the bikes get the almost fool proof new way to mount the air filter.
Sitting below the subframe there’s a redesigned swingarm across the range with easier to see markings on the axle adjuster.
Up at the front the bikes get CNC milled triple clamps with a 22mm offset, and these hold onto the new WP Xplor 48 front forks. The new units have springing in both legs but split the damping functions between the two and now all the adjusters are at the top of the leg rather than having to scrabble on the floor with the screwdrivers. Good work.
The rear suspension uses the same unit as last year but the linkage – a feature that does not feature on the EXCs – is 360g lighter.
So what else have we got? Well the footpegs are 6mm higher, the grips are now the rather cunning ODI lock-ons, and the piston on the rear caliper is 2mm smaller, though whether you will realise this is open to question! What you might notice is the brake lever is 1cm longer for better feel and control.
To add to the chassis changes there is completely reworked bodywork in the company’s traditional white blue and yellow livery and pretty fine it looks too.
As we said, the 2 strokes have the major changes, with the all new and hyper compact engines across the range, In reality the motors used were never particularly lardy but somehow the designers and engineers have managed to squeeze more power and more flexibility from the unit while making it appreciable narrower, slimmer and altogether tidier. It’s an impressive feat from any angle, and follows the mantra of mass centralisation that both Yamaha and Honda have been sticking to for years.
Virtually ever component of the engine has been reworked, from the pistons to the cylinders, the crankshaft to the counter balance shaft. There’s a new 38mm flat slide Mikuni TMX carb that gives a smoother and controllable spread of power and perhaps importantly for those taking on epic enduro challenges is less susceptible to changes in temperature or altitude.
All the bikes save the 125 get a new electric start, now properly designed and fitted under the engine, rather than the messy retro side fit that KTM have used since around 2010. And if you rally cannot kick over the TE125 you can fit the motor to the little bike, but to be honest if you are that weak, it’s hard to image in you’ll be able to take the new part out of the box…
Staying on the little bike, the 125 gets a complete new pipe whereas the bigger brothers just get a new front end.
The net result of both the engine and chassis changes is a truly staggering drop in bike weight across the range, with the TE250 coming in at just 102kg!
The redesigns to the four-strokes in the range focus on getting the best usable enduro power from the engines. If that weren’t a good enough goal the backroom boys at Husky / KTM have even found time to include a cunning adjustable traction control system into the punchy motors. This is a long way from decompression levers and pistons the size of bean cans!
Shifting round the internal components within the motors has allowed a broader spread of power and allowed the new centralised weight to improve the handling too. Like the smokers, the FE range gets a reworked top end, with changes to the cylinder head and crankshafts that significantly enhance service intervals.
Outside the engine, the bikes’ brain – the EFI – is smaller, lighter and faster to process the data from its sensors. There’s a map switch on the bars as before to allow on the fly power changes.
As with the TE range the fuelling gets some attention with a new 42mm throttle body, and on the exhaust side there are new headers, shorter end cans that are placed closer to the frame.
Share this Post
The full spec on all the bikes can be found on the Husqvarna website, but rather than pour over these, get down to your Husky dealer and book yourself onto a test day. You will not be disappointed.