2017 Husqvarna TC 250 Review |
Motocross Track Test
With many motorcycle manufacturers only developing four-stroke motocross bikes, seeing a company like Husqvarna continually focus on improving its two-stroke line of machines is great for the industry as a whole. After receiving a number of changes in 2016, the 2017 Husqvarna TC 250 two-stroke MXer has been further revised to make it a more competitive, yet fun, competition machine. Some of the changes include revised engine components, air forks, and a new frame. The combination of these revisions made the bike perform better than ever.
The new engine receives a counterbalancer—something rarely found on a two-stroke—as well as a new crankshaft, cylinder, and piston. Some of these parts are relocated, as the clutch is 4mm higher than last year, and the crankshaft is lifted 19.5mm.
The counterbalancer is effective at keeping the overall vibration down. Two-strokes are a blast to ride, but the excessive vibration on some bikes can be a little much at times, especially for those coming from a four-stroke. The Husky’s vibration is reduced significantly, so much so that it feels comparable to a four-stroke in this area.
Another noticeable change is the usability of the power. The 2017 Husqvarna TC 250’s power delivery is a lot more linear, making the bike easier to ride. There are no sudden bursts of power from the bottom end to the high rpm. I found myself shifting less than the previous year model, thanks to the user-friendly powerband.
When I did shift, I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the operation was. The new changes, combined with the strength of last year’s engine, make for a great package right out of the box.
A testament to the amount of power the 2017 Husqvarna TC 250 produces came when I inadvertently wheelied in fifth gear up a portion of the iconic Mt. Saint Helens at Glen Helen Raceway. Needless to say, I was impressed!
In the suspension department, the WP 4CS units found on the previous year model are replaced by WP’s new AER 48 forks. The air forks are 48mm units with preload settings on the left side, which are adjusted by increasing or decreasing the air pressure via WP’s air gauge. Damping adjustments are made on the right and are can be done by hand.
The lack of tools required to adjust the damping is very convenient, and I was able to make adjustments trackside without heading back to the pits. However, checking the air pressure is a must at the beginning of the day to ensure the pressure has not changed since the last ride, and that requires tools.
As a whole, the new forks are much better than the old 4CS units. They are much more user friendly on the track and have a much plusher feeling throughout the stroke.
The WP AER 48s are a little soft out of the box, even for my light weight, so I increased the damping by three clicks, which helped bottoming resistance. With more time on the Husqvarna TC 250, I can see myself going even stiffer.
Out back, the WP DCC shock works well with the new forks. Similar to the forks, the shock felt a little bit soft, but it worked great for me being a lighter rider. I settled on the stock settings, and the shock performed very well.
The new frame contributes to the sharp handling characteristics of the TC 250. The bike leans over in corners with ease and hooks up great. I kept pushing harder in corners, and it complied each and every time.
The white powdercoated frame looks great out of the box, but does get a bit scuffed up on the sides due to boot wear. There are frame guards, but they are not high enough up on each side to offer enough protection. Owners will likely want to invest in frame guards that offer additional protection.
The Brembo brake units on the 2017 Husqvarna TC 250, front and rear, are the best I have tested. They are very powerful, yet easy enough to modulate when only a small amount of braking is necessary.
The Magura hydraulics are amazing with the new DDS (damped diaphragm steel) clutch. The lever is incredibly easy to pull in, which makes it easier to put the power to the ground. Both the front brake and clutch levers offer a gradual bend, and are easily adjusted.
The stock ProTaper bars are very comfortable. They don’t have an excessive amount of rise or sweep to them. The ODI lock-on grips set a new standard for stock grips. They are comfortable, offer a lot of grip, and are easy on the palms.
The Dunlop MX3S tires are fantastic. They hook up best in soft to intermediate conditions, but work great in the hard-pack sections, too. This is a tire used by the majority of pro racers and to see it come stock on the TC 250 shows the level of performance Husqvarna aims to provide with a stock motorcycle.
The bike performs very well in a multitude of different areas on the track. In the whoops, the bike maintains a good amount of stability and the softer suspension settings help absorb the impacts very well. The TC 250 is not the most stable bike I’ve ever ridden, but it does maintain a healthy balance between being very nimble, yet steady.
As the track gradually gets rougher throughout the day, the bike absorbs braking bumps and acceleration chop very well. This is due to the combination of having slightly softer suspension and a steel frame. The softer suspension does a great job of absorbing the bumps, whereas the steel frame allows for more flex and forgiveness in the rough terrain.
The TC 250 feels very nimble in the air. When sending it off a jump, it’s easy to scrub and whip, due to how light it is. However, hitting a lip at the correct speed took me a bit of getting used to after riding a four-strokes for so long. This is a result of the lack of engine braking and the powerband.
While the TC 250’s powerband is still very linear for a two stroke, it’s still not quite as predictable as a four stroke. Either way, I still hit every jump that I would normally hit at our test tracks, it just took some time to adjust.
Lining up for a jump requires little effort thanks to the nimbleness of the bike as a whole. Landing is all good, unless you overjump. The bike is forgiving when coming up a little short, but jumping too far will cause the suspension to bottom out. I did this a few times and found some tire marks under the white plastic after one of my test days. So long as you don’t send it out to the flat, the bike absorbs the landings extremely well.
In the cornering department, the bike can easily dive to the inside or outside line due to the incredible agility of the chassis. I personally use inside lines a lot because, most of the time, they are faster. The Husqvarna TC 250 handles insides incredibly well.
Lining up for a rut is effortless and shooting out of one requires a steady finger on the clutch lever for the proper amount of clutch slipping. The bike builds revs and speed quickly, which makes it easy to guard inside lines, blast out of them, pass other riders, and stay ahead of the pack.
The chassis, as a unit, is very forgiving. The steel frame and lightweight feel of the bike allow for a more relaxed riding style.
Where the 2017 Husqvarna TC 250 is a bit more exacting is with the engine. While the powerplant is incredibly linear for a two-stroke, it still does require an active clutch finger. If you don’t keep the engine speed up, your lap times will suffer. Thankfully, the wonderful Magura clutch makes keeping the bike in the powerband a lot easier than with a cable clutch.
The new Husqvarna TC 250 is leaps and bounds better than the previous year’s model. With a new frame, the bike feel much more agile, yet still maintains excellent straight-line stability. The WP AER 48 forks are plusher than the 4CS units, and allow for tool-free damping adjustments.
As a whole, the 2017 Husqvarna TC 250 is the perfect bike for two-stroke riders and racers looking for a bike that keeps up with the newest technology and trends in the motocross world. The new changes along with the rest of the package make it a potent weapon to race against any displacement machine.
Photography by Don Williams at Cahuilla Creek MX
Helmet: 6D ATR-1 Flo Red/Yellow
Goggles: Oakley Airbrake MX
Neck brace: Alpinestars BNS Tech Carbon
Jersey, pants + gloves: Moose Racing Sahara Racewear
Andrew Oldar is sponsored by Moose Racing
2017 Husqvarna TC 250 Specs
Motor: Single-cylinder power-valve 2-stroke
Bore x stroke: 66.4 x 72mm
Clutch: Wet, multi-disc clutch w/ Magura hydraulics
Frame: Chrome-molybdenum steel central-tube frame
Front suspension: WP-USD, AER 48 forks w/ 12.2 inches of travel
Rear suspension: Linkage assisted WP shock w/ 11.8 inches of travel
Front tire: 80/100-21; Dunlop MX-3S
Rear tire: 110/90-19; Dunlop MX3S
Front brake: Brembo twin-piston floating caliper w/ 260mm disc
Rear brake: Brembo single-piston floating caliper w/ 220mm disc
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
Rake: 26.1 degrees
Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
Ground clearance: 14.7 inches
Seat height: 37.9 inches
Tank capacity: 1.85 gallons
Curb weight (no fuel): 211 pounds
2017 Husqvarna TC 250 Price: $7799 MSRP
2017 Husqvarna TC 250 Photo Gallery