Husky takes aim at the 250 motocross class with the release of the revamped 2013 Husqvarna TC250R. With a number of updates to the engine including new valves, piston and crankshaft plus a lowest in-class $7,199 MSRP the new TC250R is positioned to make its presence known in the 250-class. We took the opportunity to test its mettle in the dirt and under the sun at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park during a recent press unveiling held by Husqvarna, USA.
In recent years, Husqvarna motorcycles have produced motorcycles with impressive handling characteristics but they’ve been a bit under-powered. Last year, BMW tasked its former Formula 1 engineers with getting the quarter-liter racer up to speed and they responded with the introduction of the Red Head engine and an all new chassis. The new and improved TC250R enjoyed immediate success overseas with Alex Lupino piloting the machine to the 2012 Italian Motocross Championship MX2 title.
For 2013, Husqvarna continues to further refine the TC250R. The 249.5cc power plant receives an upgraded Keihin Electronic
A stiffer crank has been introduced to the bottom end of the 2013 Husqvarna TC250R for added performance and reliability to meet the stresses of the new top end.
Fuel Injection system and capacitor, creating a stronger ignition spark for more efficient combustion. A stiffer crankshaft compliments the added top-end performance upgrades while improving reliability. A magnetic oil sump plug was added to help keep metal shavings from damaging the engine while the airbox and intake structure have been altered to work with the new EFI.
The Red Head performance upgrades put into play in 2012 were a big leap forward for the brand, but Husqvarna has further closed the performance gap on its Japanese competition for 2013 with 10% larger intake valves (increased from 31mm to 32.5mm) coupled with longer valve lift for quicker air and fuel flow along with F1-derived piston and cylinder technology. Cooling down the TC250R is a pair of stronger, more efficient WP radiators.
For 2013 the chassis remains the same since it received a complete overhaul in 2012. Husqvarna styling has been sleek and cool for a while now, but the 2013 TC250R received a fresh set of in-mold plastic shroud graphics. A new bar pad and a softer compound domino grip set round out the remaining cosmetic changes. Where Husqvarna sets itself apart is through an array of top-shelf components including an Akrapovic exhaust, Brembo brakes, Brembo hydraulic clutch, Excel rims, Braking wave rotors plus Regina chain and sprockets are all standard equipment on the TC250R.
The 2013 Husqvarna TC250R comes standard with trick parts including Braking rotors and an Akrapovic exhaust.
While all of this looks convincing on paper the real test is how it performs on the track. Throw a leg over the TC and you’ll find the ergonomics are appropriate for a 250cc racer. A Magura aluminum handlebar is held in place by adjustable bar mounts while the controls are comfortable and laid out well. A couple easy kicks of the kick starter and the engine comes to life. The Akrapovic exhaust gives the bike a deep, powerful sound that we never tired of during our afternoon at Lake Elsinore.
There are two key impressions that were evident right from the get-go. Husky had the bike set-up well from the start as both the engine and suspension characteristics were impressive. The 48mm Kayaba fork and rear shock handled the Lake Elsinore track like a champ. I immediately felt comfortable at speed; the bike is well balanced and easy to ride whether at a slow or aggressive level.
Engine performance has been the focus of attention for Husqvarna over the past few years and this latest version feels impressive. We will wait to see how it stacks up to its competition but we found low end power to be lagging a bit as it tends to bog on the exit of some of Elsinore’s soft corners. We also felt like the clutch actuation was a little twitchy and didn’t engage as smooth as I would have expected from a hydraulic clutch. The TC makes its most usable power in the mid- to top-end range. No real surprise there since it is a 250, but it did seem to churn out some good top end power.
Where the 2013 Husqvarna TC250R excelled was it agility. The combination of light weight (a claimed 22.7 pounds, dry) and quick handling make it a potent motocross bike. On the ground or in the air, throwing around the Husky is a
For 2013 Husqvarna has stepped up its game in both the engine and handling/suspension categories with the TC250R.
piece of cake. The light weight plus quality braking components make it easy to slow the bike down without being too abrupt.
The 2013 Husqvarna TC250R is already available at your local Husqvarna dealer. With a $7,199 MSRP it is cheaper than every bike in its class so European style is now affordable in the four-stroke 250 motocross market. Husqvarna continues to step up its game and the competition should be taking notice. Its newfound power and nimble handling make it a contender in the quarter-liter class. Stay tuned for our upcoming 2013 250 Motocross Shootout where we will see how the new and improved 2013 Husqvarna TC250R performs in our most anticipated dirt bike test of the year.