Bikes 9 Mar 2012

Launch Report: 2012 Husqvarna TC 250 rides the heavily revised brand new Italian Lites contender.

The TC 250 MY 2012 is Husqvarna’s brightest hope ever when it comes to cracking the ultra competitive 250cc four-stroke motocross market, the Italian brand continuing development in a bid to mix it with the best in the category.

While Husqvarna has enjoyed the majority of its success in the enduro segment, it’s not giving up hope of challenging the likes of the Japanese manufacturers and fellow European brand KTM.

Australian distributor Paul Feeney Group introduced the 2012 model TC 250 at the Queensland Moto Park last week to the local moto press, delivering a popular bunch that’s definitely made inroads as a competitive option in stock trim.

The engine is where I’d say the majority of the improvements are, because to be brutally honest, the former model just didn’t have enough HP. This year’s model has improved in much needed torque, but still doesn’t quite match its rivals when it comes to over-rev, and the top-end is a step better than last year’s model as well.

The fuel injection system works wonders when it comes to throttle response as we’d expect, and it is a fairly predictable powerplant that I personally found good enough to enjoy the motos. Like I said, not the fastest out there by any means, but for the majority unless you’re a regular A- or B-grade racer, it’ll do the job.

Husqvarna launched its TC 250 MY 2012 in Queensland.

What I wasn’t overly impressed with was the gear shift as I constantly had to back down the revs too much to change gears, although the techs on hand from Husqvarna explained that this is due to more of a design process that makes the transmission more durable than others.

I’d still prefer a swift shift though if it were to match reliability of other Lites bikes. The reason is that when you’re in the heat of battle, chances are you’ll be revving it much harder than I was at the test, so being forced to back off to click third when you need it just won’t cut it in my opinion (keep in mind as well that our test bikes were most likely still bedding in).

Apart from that though, the engine didn’t miss a beat, and I can’t complain about that. If you’re planning to ride Supercross then you’ll want some more ponies off the bottom, but all in all it is a good base and an improvement – that’s the key work with this whole test. It’s a much, much better bike than 2011.

I was pretty stoked when I saw the quality Akrapovic exhaust complete with a ‘power bomb’ on it in stock trim, but it’s actually still super quiet and that was a shock for me. Still though, the guys at PFG said that they’ve tested a number of aftermarket exhausts on the dyno and none make more power on the TC 250 than the stock one. It looks cool too.

Ergonomically, the Husqvarna’s cockpit was okay for me, apart from what I felt was a rounded seat that was almost too soft when it comes to the foam they use. It just doesn’t put you in ‘attack’ mode, but for the most part it works well and feels light at speed.

Engine torque and throttle response is greatly improved.

The light feel of the TC 250 is probably one of its best assets, because you can do reasonably lengthy motos and not really get too fatigued (it might even be because the motor isn’t as aggressive as the leading Lites bikes as well).

What I struggled most with on the Husqvarna was the fork. It just didn’t want to turn in as I like a bike too, because I’m the type that doesn’t brake a lot with the front in an aggressive manner. This meant that flowing into the turns, it just wasn’t going in the direction I was trying to point it.

To my surprise though, constant adjustment via the clickers in both compression and rebound made a very noticeable difference as we went softer. It did end up a little ‘springy’ off bumps, but I feel as though if I had a chance to switch to softer springs and dial in the clickers more again, I could come up with a positive feel.

The rear KYB shock is an improvement on paper over the former Sachs suspension, and that is the same on track. What I liked most about the shock was its potential to hook up and drive off turns, which is also a credit to the Pirelli tyres. The balance wasn’t quite there in standard trim between the front and the rear for me, but honestly I feel like it was in the ballpark by the time I finished up.

Brembo brakes are solid as we know with all Husqvarnas, as is the hydraulic clutch. We love the hydraulic clutch and everything about it since it’s just so incredibly easy to operate. Excel rims add to it all, increasing the value of the bike with renowned brand name parts sprinkled throughout.

The KYB suspension is promising, if not perfect, in stock trim.

The Husqvarna TC 250 MY 2012 is now available in Australia, retailing for $10,495 in dealers nationwide. If you’re into the brand and are looking for something out of the ordinary, this bike definitely has the base to be a nice and competitive ride with the slightest of mods.

Technical Information:

Husqvarna’s TC 250 MY 2012 has been developed at the MX2 World Championship level, indicating the Italian brand’s commitment to making its mark in the hotly contested 250cc four-stroke motocross category.

The collaboration between the factory R&D technicians and the Ricci Racing team has led to the development of significant updates, to deliver the most competitive MX2/Lites class motocross unit ever offered by Husqvarna.

As far as the chassis revisions go for this year, the steel frame is made of tubing with a variety of cross sections, strengthened and made more rigid with new plates (chrome-moly 25CrMo4 steel) at the steering-head.

The TC 250 MY 2012 has a host of changes stemming from racing in the MX2 World Championship.

There’s a new fork setting, which includes a new spring rate and new hydraulic adjustment. To match, new handlebar clamps have been added for increased rigidity.

The rear shock is now a Kayaba unit, with externally adjustable damping (high/low speed compression and rebound). The 48mm Kayaba Kashima-coated front fork is supplied with new valving and spring rates.

The spring rate has been upgraded from 44Nm to 46Nm and new spring settings give the bike a better bottom resistance, according to Husqvarna’s press kit.

The engine department is probably where the more important changes are, because this is where the TE 250 has comparably struggled to it competitors in past models.

Husqvarna’s latest 250cc four-stroke X-Light engine is the most compact and lightweight powerplant at just 22kg in its class since its introduction. Leading the way with compact design is only part of a successful equation, so Husqvarna engineers have radically redesigned the layout of key engine components.

Ergos could be better, but overall the Husqvarna makes for a reasonable option that'll set riders apart.

An all-new twin-cam valve train was completely redesigned by Husqvarna’s head of engine development, Ralph Clyde (former BMW F1 engineer) and now incorporates individual ‘finger followers’ that deliver a rocker ratio advantage and eliminate the need for a conventional shim bucket system.

The new design, four titanium valves and a lightweight high compression piston complete the package to deliver a significant increase in horsepower and torque.

The all new battery less fuel injection system features a Keihin ECU and throttle body. The Kokusan electronic ignition and stick coil combine with the iridium spark plug to ensure peak ignition performance.

Performance exhaust specialist supplier Akropovic have developed an all-new power bomb type titanium system specifically tuned for the Husqvarna 2012 TC 250, which is a nice touch.

To cap it all off, new graphics with Husqvarna’s IPD (in mould design) process, a black painted frame and silver anodized rims have also been updated for this year.

Click here for complete technical details on the TC 250 MY 2012.

Rider Wear

Jersey/Pants: FOX 360 Future (Green)
Gloves: Deft Family Artisan Dipped (Green/Yellow)
Helmet: FOX V3 Carbon
Goggles: VonZipper Porkchop MX (Dripmop)
Boots: Alpinestars Tech 10
Neck brace: Alpinestars Bionic Neck Support
Knee brace: PodMX K700

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