Adam Spence rides and rates Husqvarna's 2013 TE 310R and TE 250R enduro machines.
MotoOnline.com.au was recently invited to Kyogle in northern New South Wales to put a selection of Husqvarna’s newest 2013 enduro arsenal to the test, on some enjoyable and challenging off-road terrain.
It was an exciting prospect after seeing Husqvarna’s TE 310R already propel Glenn Kearney to an impressive runner-up finish in the 2012 AORC E2 championship, along with the success of the TE 250R-mounted, Italian Enduro champion, Alex Salvini.
Husqvarna’s 2013 TE 310R and TE 250R models have received a number of upgrades for 2013, adding more likeable features to the already versatile and user-friendly enduro weapons.
The liquid-cooled single-cylinder 302.44cc four-stroke TE 310R engine has been treated to a redesigned cylinder head, with its steel valves carefully refined to up power and torque delivery.
The 310 brings the rider a perfect amount of usable power to tackle any trail, with loads of torque to get you up steep inclines, along with plenty of power throughout the rev range to carry you down those long straights.
With a maximum power output boost of nearly five percent, and a peak torque output gain of around eight percent, the new 42mm Keihin electronic fuel injection system does a superb job of delivering that power to the rider with crisp throttle response and great rideability.
Apart from the redesigned cylinder head and the new fuel injection system, this extra power can also be attributed to a completely new manifold layout for 2013, which has been added to both the 310 and 250 models.
The new TE 250R and TE 310R are both supplied as standard with street-homologated engine maps. For competition purposes, two further engine set-ups are available (as accessories) for power delivery that is either gentle and progressive or punching and aggressive.
A switch is available which will be placed on the left handlebar to allow for quick and convenient selection of the various maps.
For the average rider, the 310 will provide you with all the power you need, whereas the smaller TE 250R proved to leave a little to be desired in the engine department.
While riders of the 250 will benefit from an increase of around eight percent in both horsepower and torque figures for 2013, the 249.5cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine still feels slightly underwhelming.
In saying that, this motor does provide a great mid-range punch, and with the addition of a more aggressive ‘competition style’ map from Husqvarna, the small-bore will surely light up and provide that extra bottom-end kick that it lacks.
Smaller changes to both engines include a removal of the hot start system, due to the addition of the new fuel injection system. Also a new magnetic oil drain plug added to both engine’s will catch any metallic debris, extending engine life considerably.
A capacitor has also been added to both models for 2013 to enable the engine to operate even if the battery develops a fault.
Sharing the same torsionally rigid steel frame, which consists of round, oval and rectangular tubing, both the 310 and 250 models provide an agile feel. Maneuvering through the tight and technical areas was made easy, along with confidence inspiring high-speed stability on the throughout the Kyogle course.
To improve structural rigidity, the frame on both models is additionally reinforced around the steering head with 25CrMo4 chromoly steel plates.
After some slight adjustments to the compression and rebound settings, the upside-down style Kayaba 48mm fork offered a planted feel, floating over choppy tree-root sections, whilst maintaining great bottoming resistance on substantial drop-off sections.
A standout feature on the front-end of both models was the 260mm ‘wave’ style double piston disc brake system. This setup offered great stopping power on the steep downhill sections while still maintaining great feel and feedback through to the rider.
Controlling the rear of the 310 and 250 is a Kayaba central spring strut with linkage system, which initially gave the bike a ‘stink bug’ feel out on the trail. The rear would kick and skip on corner entry, also making a smooth corner exit hard to come by.
Having the sag adjusted to105mm and making some slight clicker adjustments, the rear end instantly responded well to these changes. I was now provided a much more planted and predictable feel – the overall feel of the bike changed dramatically.
With the 310 and 250 being so similar in chassis design and weight, this same suspension setting was applied to both models throughout the launch, providing a consistent and confident feel between both models.
Both coming in at a dry weight of 109 kilograms, the 310 and 250 feel almost identical whilst aboard. Having less rotating mass inside the motor, the 250 is able to be thrown into corners with less effort than its larger counterpart.
But by no means does this point to the 310 being bulky or sluggish machine in the handling department. The nimble feel of the 250 transfers almost directly over to the 310, but with the added assurance of instant power on-hand.
The rider is able to be more efficient and smooth on the 310, holding a taller gear through most sections where you would be shifting up-and-down on the smaller 250. This aspect of being able to save energy on a long trail should be an important thought in any buyers mind.
Both the 310 and 250 come equipped with the ultra-convenient ‘magic button’ electric start unit, along with a conventional kickstart – take your pick. Simply pull the clutch lever in, press the button and you are away, this setup eliminates the ignition switch on previous models.
The only button to be found on the right handlebar now for both models is the electric start operator, while the switch cluster on the left hand side has been made smaller and more compact.
A warning lamp for the fuel injection as well as a separate operating hours counter for the engine have been added to the dash display. The switch clusters on the handlebars have also been modified to improve everyday practicality.
More updates in the control department include a handlebar pad as standard for added safety, as well as factory-bonded half-waffle grips to eliminate the chance of slippage in wet conditions. Riders would most likely make the move to a softer compound grip would be, but this comes down to personal preference.
Ergonomically, both models have a slim feel and provide great contact areas to grip the bike with your legs. The handlebar bend is very comfortable and neutral, something that all riders will find easy to adapt to with a slight roll back or forward in the clamps.
Both the 310 and 250 models come with new and improved, more durable decals on the rear bodywork as well as new bold, in-mould graphics on the shroud and sideplate areas of the bike.
Hidden underneath the new-look shroud graphics is a reinforced radiator, designed to handle the rough and tough off-road terrain. A slight tip-over while navigating a tricky off-camber corner proved firsthand that these radiators can withstand a hit.
Overall, both models are a seriously fun, easy to ride and solid all-round enduro machines. If you are looking for a bike that will allow you to cruise the fire trails, or tackle the most technical of enduro loops, the Husqvarna’s have got you covered.
Coming in at $11,695.00 MSRP including GST for the 310 and $10,995.00 for the 250, I do believe that potential buyers should seriously consider the 310. With small-bore handling and ergo’s, plus the torque and power to get you anywhere you would like to go, you can’t go wrong.
For more information on Husqvarna’s complete range of 2013 enduro models, special parts and more, head to www.husqvarnamotorcycles.com.au.