It’s tough being a ’tweener. No, I’m not 12 years old—that was quite a long time ago. I’m talking about being a bit undersized for a full-size 250 four-stroke off-road bike, yet demanding more performance than is offered from the 230-class trail bikes.I want the suspension and handling of a 250 enduro, but not the weight and height—and the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 two-stroke comes through on three of the four.
Without a doubt, the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 offers world-class handling and suspension. The chassis is the same as the larger Husky enduro motorcycles, including the high-end, fully adjustable WP suspension.Sporting a 37.8-inch unladen seat height, the TE 150 is still quite a challenge for my 30.5-inch inseam. However, being a two-stroke, the TE 150 has one significant advantage over its 250cc four-stroke cousins—at 219 pounds, it is about 30 pounds lighter. Plus, the center of gravity is noticeably lower due to the shorter stature of the two-stroke motor.Once I swing my leg over the Husqvarna TE 150 and let the suspension sag make it possible for me to balance on one foot, I’m set. The TE 150 has electric start, which is another fantastic feature. Yes, I was always able to kickstart the TE 125 it replaced last year, but nothing beats the e-start button, especially if I happen to stall the TE 150 on a precarious trail.Fortunately, those stalls are few and far between. Despite being a small displacement engine, and two-strokes in this cc range have a reputation for being flighty, the TE 150 has a wonderfully torquey motor—especially if you tip the lighter end of the scales. I never felt the 144cc powerplant fall completely off the pipe, and that is a huge confidence builder.Husqvarna got the TE 150’s power valve just right. There’s no hit along the way to the top of the powerband, so traction is easy to maintain, especially with the excellent Dunlop Geomax AT81 tires. Yes, there’s plenty of race-ready power when I wind it up, but I was using the TE 150 as a trail bike (with a FMF Turbinecore 2 spark arrester).Most of the time I was running the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 in its healthy midrange, or at low rpm. That allowed me to confidently tackle the technical trails that I prefer. Again, the TE 150 doesn’t have a tendency to stall.In addition to the larger bore than the 125, it also as a beefier ignition rotor, and that extra rotating mass is welcome when picking my way through rocks and over roots. On tough hillclimbs, I don’t have to worry if I let my velocity or engine speed drop—the TE 150 will pull right back into the meat of the midrange with just a touch of throttle.With all this help, I wasn’t relentlessly slipping the excellent light-touch Magura hydraulic clutch. This allowed me to keep a sure grip on the TE 150, and I didn’t have any powerband-based distractions. Shifting is also effortless, and the six-speed gearbox always has the proper cog available, even if it means a couple of downshifts if I let the revs drop just a bit too much.As important as a fantastic motor is, without complementary handling, the wonderful power will go to waste. Husqvarna imbued with TE 150 with handling characteristics that perfectly match the engine’s output.The biggest help comes from the WP suspension. The WP Xplor 48 fork is fantastic. They are easily fine-tuned with the compression and rebound damping separated into the individual legs. Adjustments are made without tools, so I can soften up the compression and slow the rebound to my weight and riding style.I especially appreciate the pliability of the Xplor 48 fork at lower speeds. The front end absorbs hits, rather than deflecting, and that keeps me moving in the right direction. The WP DCC linkage-assisted shock is a fantastic match after setting it up.While some heavier and faster riders might complain that the WP suspension on the TE 150 is on the soft side, it worked perfectly for me. On rough high-speed transfer sections between single-track excursions, the WP suspension was predictable and allowed me to make the most of the 150’s high-rpm power. Keep in mind that I’m not skipping whoops or jumping triples, and I’ll happily trade away those capabilities for superior trail functionality.The geometry of the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 is just right. The handling is naturally agile, and the 150’s inherent lack of weight makes it even better. I can change directions at will, and never feel overwhelmed. 250 four-stroke enduro bikes can make me feel like I’m in a wrestling match with a frisky date. The TE 150 is well behaved and does what it’s told—a perfect riding partner.Other than the tall seat height, the Husqvarna TE 150’s ergonomics suit me just fine. It’s a narrow machine, which helps mitigate its height. The grip/pegs/seat relationship is fully natural whether standing or sitting. Transitioning between the two is also effortless. This is a motorcycle that encourages all-day rides as it does not tax your endurance.Thanks to its light weight and responsive motor, I can easily pop the front end up when necessary. That reduces how many obstacles I hit and makes the ride just that much smoother—another fatigue-reducing feature.Oh, and I’ll mention again how much I love the electric starting. I did kickstart the TE 150 a couple of times for old time’s sake, and it did fire up with one kick. Still, the button rules!As amazing as the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 is for me, I would like to request a couple of updates. Yes, the Mikuni TMX carburetor was flawless, but I would still like the increased power and fuel economy that comes with an EFI system. Along with that, oil injection would be nice, especially when all of my riding partners are on four-strokes. Maybe soon, Husky?From a functional standpoint, the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 is a huge favorite of mine. It allows me to be in control of the motorcycle in a way that equivalent four-strokes do not, and that makes all the difference on the technical trails I favor. As a bonus, when speeds increase, it’s a willing accomplice to flying across open terrain at full throttle in sixth gear.I’ve ridden countless off-road motorcycles over the years, and I’ve loved a good number of them. However, the 2018 Husqvarna TE 150 is something special for me. If you have the same ’tweener issues that I have, the TE 150 is definitely something to look into for off-road motorcycle fun.Photography by Don WilliamsRIDING STYLE
Helmet: Fly Racing F2 Carbon Fracture
Goggles: Fly Racing Focus
Communications: Sena SMH10R
Jersey, gloves + pants: Fly Racing Kinetic Women’s
Hydration: Fly Racing Hydropack
Body armor: Alpinestars Stella Bionic Jacket 2
Knee brace: Pod K4
Boots: Alpinestars Tech 7 Enduro
2018 Husqvarna TE 150 Specs
Type: Single cylinder, 2-stroke w/ power valve
Bore x stroke: 58 x 54.5mm
Fueling: 38mm Mikuni TMX carburetor
Starting: Electric w/ kick backup
Lubrication: Premix, 60:1
Clutch: Wet multi-disc w/ Magura hydraulics
Final drive: X-ring chain
Frame: Double-cradle-type chromoly
Subframe: Carbon-fiber reinforced polyamide
Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable WP-USD Xplor 48; 11.8 inches
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!