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2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
Husqvarna is attacking the 250cc 4-stroke market with its new line of fuel-injected quarter-liters.
Husqvarna introduced its new 250cc 4-stroke motor last year and has used it to ignite the Husky model line. The 2010 TXC 250 is the cross-country and desert racing model, but it competes in a class where relatively few offerings are disproportionate to their wide range of use. Husqvarna describes it as a “hybrid motocross/enduro model where light weight, explosive power and supreme maneuverability of an MX bike benefits from the practicality of an electric starter and wide-ratio six-speed gearbox typical of the TE Enduro models.”

And... It’s pretty tough to say it any better than that.

We enlisted Kyle Redmond, who finished sixth in the 2009 EnduroCross series, and hauled out to Ty Davis’ Zip-Ty Racing headquarters in California’s high desert for a day of mixed riding. Between Zip-Ty’s private EnduroCross course used exclusively for testing by factory teams and top EX rider training, and an afternoon session in the open desert, the TXC 250 proved that it has the motor to run wild and a dissecting chassis.

Husqvarna is taking the small and light approach, claiming the new fuel-injected motor weighs in the neighborhood of only 48 pounds. Overall length, width and height of the motor are reduced by 13% via compressed internals. The primary drive and center cases are 16% closer, and the gap between the center case and transmission is roughly 7% less. A pair of chain-driven overhead cams operates four titanium valves, and a 12.9:1 compression ratio is squeezed inside the 79mm x 50.9mm bore and stroke. It certainly looks the part, easily compact enough to access to the spark plug and cylinder head. Still utilizing a left-side exhaust, the motor is fed through a new electronic fuel injection system which is easy to modify with the use of a laptop computer. The TXC has a bog off the bottom end, but even with our limited testing, we were able to eliminate most of it with the Mikuni tuning software. With the help of Zip-Ty technician, Steve Foster, in a matter of about 10 minutes we were able to clean up the bottom end. Originally the fuel mixture was set at 111%, but we went as low as 105% and as high as 120%, ultimately settling on 113.5%.

2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
The heart of this racy Thumper is Husky's new lightweight 249.5cc engine. The compact motor is said to weigh 48.5 pounds with
a DOHC, four-valve arrangement. It works best in the upper rpm range.


Lighter riders might be able to lug it more, but our testers just stayed out of the bottom where alternate gearing would help dial in more off-idle grunt. Redmond compared it to a 125cc 2-stroke with its unwillingness to roll on and off the throttle. “The bottom end was pretty weak,” he admits after riding it on the tight EnduroCross confines. “It has bitchin’ top end, it would be good on a motocross track with that motor. But,” he continues, “it’s a huge plus that it’s fuel-injected. You can do anything you want with that (powerband) which is really cool, especially for an off-road bike where you change elevation like crazy.”

Husqvarna equipped the bike with electric start while also retaining the kickstart option. Plus, the hot-start lever now sits above the adjustable clutch lever. A six-speed transmission lets the rider keep hold of the powerband, though we spent most time in the bottom four gears, letting the high-rpm engine do its own thing.

2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
Light and flickable, the TXC 250 is right at home in technical riding. Alternate gearing would help match the motor, but the hydraulic clutch can handle the abuse.
Redmond battled Zip-Ty Racing’s Corey Graffunder all season and saw firsthand how devastating the little Husky can be in tight, technical situations. Graffunder nipped our extreme enduro ace by just four points in the championship, leaving Redmond outside the top-five and seething to get a shot at Graffunder’s hardware. As he quickly found out, the TXC is right at home in the nasties.

Despite a motor that prefers room to run, Redmond found the suspension and handling better suited to Zip-Ty’s beastly EnduroCross layout. The TXC barely had a chance to warm up before we set out for some sighting laps and photo sessions, and in the course of just a couple hours the Husqvarna proved a willing companion. Like any 250F, big power and weight is traded for tight handling and svelte dimensions. Though Husqvarna pushes the TXC as a cross-country/desert machine, we found it most effective in the tight terrain where its 229 pounds (claimed dry) allowed it to take any line and dance through obstacles – it just has to be ridden hard for the motor to keep up.

2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
Aggressive riding from our high-caliber tester maxed the suspension, but overall it was very good.
“It handles really well,” says the EnduroX pro. “I think its strong point is more with stuff like EnduroCross.” A 57.8-inch wheelbase weaves through rocks, ruts and logs with equal aplomb. Once we took to the desert there was minor headshake at high speeds, though reining in the TXC takes little effort with the wide aluminum handlebars. At 6’1”, Redmond had no problem with the 37.9-inch seat height, but noted that the open cockpit easily accommodates larger riders with tall bars and a narrow, flat seat profile.

Husky uses a Sachs “Soft Damp” rear shock with new leverage ratio, and is adjustable for preload, high and low-speed compression and rebound. Our 175-pound pro-level tester was able to extract everything the suspension would offer, noting the shock’s tendency to bottom even when aggressively hitting berms. We set sag at the recommended 100mm which resulted in rear-end squat, though Redmond credits this as one reason the TXC is able to conquer obstacles even with its relatively soft bottom-end. The light front wheel and easy hydraulic clutch make up for the lack of torque. In its defense, we didn’t have much opportunity for adjusting clicker settings as the bike passed between multiple riders. Also, our TXC was fresh out of the crate which means the suspension, motor and six-speed transmission will all loosen up with more run time. For slower or lighter riders, the bike offers a great balance for all off-road scenarios we encountered.

Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Awesome styling
  • E-start and kickstart
  • Fuel injection
  • Taught handling
  • Plastic skidplate is light but effective
  • Hydraulic clutch
  • Cheap for a Euro bike
Lows
  • Exhaust pipe thrashes left pant leg
  • Grips have hard ridge that wears out thumb
  • Number plates are KTM-esque – sexy but small
  • Kickstand angle is funky and footprint is small
  • Bulbous frame gusset under footpegs
Marzocchi suspension has a love-hate reputation, but Husqvarna swapped the ‘Zoke front end for a new 48mm closed-cartridge Kayaba fork. Again, high-speed, heavy landings will max out the fork, but once our pro stepped off the KYB unit rated much higher. Sharp impacts were no problem and the front held its line through mild sandy whoops. Drop-offs and slap-landings are absorbed nicely and Redmond was more than happy to slam into every rock, log and tire on the EX course. He reports that the fork stays high in the stroke through corners and rock gardens, but responded well to impacts. If anything he would back out the rebound to get more spring from the front end.

Visually, the color scheme is a little less sexy since the motor lost its red accents, but the revised body panels still sport the aggressive red/white/black racing lines. High-quality components like the hydraulic clutch, steel-braided brake lines, wave rotors, plastic skidplate, full gripper seat cover and quick-access airbox give the TXC a racy feel. We even liked the grips, except that they have a hard ridge in the collar that blisters the thumb. Other class entries like the Yamaha WR250F and Honda CRF250X come with headlights, but the TXC is a daytime-only ride and saves considerable weight as a result. A right-side radiator fan adds some of that back, but even during our photo shoots we can’t remember it ever turning on.

2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
With electric start and fuel injection technology, we had no problem with the TXC at higher, colder elevations. More time with the calibration software would have netted even better performance gains. The TXC represents a serious bid for 250F off-road dominance.
At the end of our First Ride, the TXC impressed us across the board. It has neutral and comfortable ergonomics, compliant suspension, sharp handling and a good baseline motor. Sorting out the fuel injection is just a matter of time and will depend on how the bike is modified and used. Compared to the rest of the 250 enduros, Husqvarna’s TXC is closest to the KTM 250 XCF-W, which means it’s in the upper echelon of 250 off-road bikes, yet it retails for less than the Austrian bike at $7299.

The 250 enduro market is a scary place, where boundaries are loose and bikes are expected to serve as lightweight racers, everyday play bikes and stone-reliable trail machines. Husqvarna’s TXC 250 is one of the all-around best we’ve experienced. A quick test like this doesn’t allow for durability evaluation, but all we know is that we’d love to keep one in our garage. If it’s under the guise of dependability testing, then so be it.
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2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 Specs
2010 Husqvarna TXC 250 First Ride
Engine: Type: 4-Stroke, DOHC Single
Engine Displacement: 249.5cc
Bore & Stroke: 79mm x 50.9mm
Compression Ratio: 12.9:1
Cooling: Liquid-Cooled
Fuel System: EFI
Ignition: CDI electronic variable advance
Starting System: Electric/Kick
Transmission: Six-speed
Front Suspension: 48mm closed-cartridge Kayaba fork, compression/rebound adjustable
Rear Suspension: Sachs “Soft Damp” shock, H/L compression/rebound/preload adjustable
Front Brake: 260mm wave disc, dual-piston Brembo caliper
Rear Brake: 240mm floating wave disc, single-piston Brembo caliper
Front Tire: 90/90 R21
Rear Tire: 120/90 R18
Wheel Base: 57.8 in
Ground Clearance: 11.8 in
Seat Height: 37.9 in
Dry Weight: 229 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gal.
MSRP: $7299

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Comments
kala -txc 250 09  July 13, 2010 02:21 PM
had mine since new and soon 40h and maybe athena 300cc kit next investment? way better than my old 08 250rmz.
Garry -2009 TC 450  May 1, 2010 08:14 AM
very nice bike , goes hard all day , ride it slow and it will overheat though, i,m trying to get some cooling fans fitted but need to know if there is a power source i can use ? love the grunt , it stands up in all gears and i,m 105 kgs.
Offroad Amigo -How do you adjust the EFI?  February 5, 2010 05:44 PM
Please share with us what is required to adjust the EFI settings. What hardware and/or software options and how much? Thanks in advance. Sure wish someone would weigh the competitor bikes with a full tank of gas for a side by side comparison.
Marc -Comparison?  February 2, 2010 03:26 PM
So how does it stack up to the KTM 250 xcf-w? Other than price, we didn't get much of a point of view...
Kelly - Motosportz -I own one and it rules :>)  January 28, 2010 06:44 PM
2010 TXC250 Got over 700 miles on mine in tighter single track in the PNW. Love that bike. My low end EFI setting (CO1) is at 94 and I have no bog, SA in but otherwise uncorked. Bike rips, gobs of bottom and mid and rips big hills up like a 450. Gets 32 mpg in slick clay and 1-3 gear stuff. Other than needing a bigger thank this is a great off road bike for racing and aggressive off road riding. Might not be the best relaxing trail bike as it likes to bark and go and is on the racy side. Cafehusky.com has gobs of useful info on huskys. Vid - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7JilovgVZM Kelly Motosportz.inc
HUSKY? -I don't think so...  January 27, 2010 06:56 PM
Good Luck getting parts. I had a supermoto 450 that threw a con-rod bolt right through the case after 400 miles. Took Husky over 4 months to get the dealer parts to fix it. I sold the bike before I got it back and I'll never fool with them again.
JaimeB -Hot!  January 27, 2010 03:17 PM
Smokin' gorgeous bike! Bad timing to grab market share in a terrible economy, but with great products they can take away from existing competitors. Husky will certainly expand their niche with the new offerings.
Dual Sporter -Nice Bike  January 27, 2010 01:26 PM
Nice bike but I wish there was a dealer closer to me. The closest one is about 160 miles from me.