The new Husqvarna features a BMW engine and all-new chassis and suspension. It could be available this year.
Husqvarna Motorcycles has taken a big step in the dirt bike market ever since being acquired by BMW Motorrad. The combination of the two thus far has been mostly the application of the German’s purchasing power, marketing and production and refining techniques. The world has been waiting for a blend of the two manufacturers’ dirt bikes, and it’s finally happened with a prototype TC450 motocross machine. During our trip to the factory in Varese, Italy to ride the TE630, Husky reps promised a joint-effort bike very soon, and here it is. Husqvarna reports that the same platform will serve a TXC450 cross country and TE450 dual sport dirt bike.
It’s being called a 450/Open class machine, which may indicate the possibility for another big-bore machine, perhaps something along the lines of previous European open-classers like the 505/525/550. Just how close are the prototypes to being complete? Husky says the bike will be released later this year.
The new dirt bike uses BMW’s electric-start engine. Information is scarce, but looking at the photos reveals a dual-overhead cam, water-cooled, fuel-injected, 449cc 4-stroke tilted forward in what looks to be a steel chassis. Exhaust exits down the right side next to a fully adjustable Kayaba rear shock that connects via a linkage placed on top of the swingarm. This unconventional arrangement is definitely one of the most intriguing features. The swingarm pivot connects at the countershaft sprocket like the system BMW debuted on its G450X, meaning the chain tension will not change as the suspension compresses.
Other features include a fuel cell under the seat. Brembo brakes and wave rotors handle the stopping, and bodywork is minimal at best. The rear side panels and fender are so small they’re almost trials-like. A Kayaba fork graces the front end.
Husqvarna has been testing at a private facility near the new production plant in Varese. We’ll continue to keep our eyes out on this project and post updates as they become available on the 2011 Husqvarna TC450, TXC450 and TE450.